Originally published: New York: Scholastic, 2003.
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it was ok
I was very much looking forward to reading this, as it had very good word-of-mouth as a high-quality children’s/YA fantasy that adults will also enjoy. And the premise, that characters can exist in the “real world” outside of books, or that real people can enter the world inside a book, is endlessly appealing. However, my local library is on the verge of opening a new wing with my overdue book fines on this, because I keep hanging onto it in the hope that eventually I will be able to finish read
I think it’s just not going to happen. First of all, there is something very stilted and anachronistic in the writing, and I can’t tell whether that’s just Cornelia Funke, or a result of the translation work. Also, the book is simply too long. It takes 150 pages for anything to begin to happen, and that’s much too long, even for an adult book. I blame J.K. Rowling for this kind of bloating.
Finally, I’m extremely annoyed by people, whether real or fictional, who pat themselves on the back for loving books. People have loved books for as long as there have been books, and even before books, people loved storytelling and drama. You’re not a special kind of intellect for loving books and wordplay. The people in Inkheart are paraded before us as people with an extra special super duper love of books that is so powerful that they can cause the boundary between books and reality to melt. But just carrying around favorite books in a little trunk and bragging you’ve loved books since you were a baby and could read before you could talk and so forth isn’t particularly magical or distinctive or worthy of praise, and I got tired pretty quickly of Meggie and her father and aunt and their extreme reverence for books. Capping it off is Funke’s annoying habit of using an epigram from other (mostly fantasy) books for each chapter. If she found those inspiring, fine, stick them on your bulletin board while writing. But they were yet more reason to jump out of the story, rather than having it propel along.