Friday, November 21, 2014

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Inkheart starts out like a book lover´s dream. Each chapter begins with a delectable quote from a famous classic. The hero of the story, Mortimer Folchart (known as “Mo”), is a “book doctor” who binds up broken books. Three of the main characters are book addicts. Mo is such a gifted reader that he has the ability to read books and make the contents come true. (Years ago he read the book Inkheart out loud and it changed his life forever.) The bad guys in the book can´t read. Obviously, there is a lot here for bibliophiles to savor. So why didn´t I love this book?

For one thing, it was about a hundred pages too long. By page 450, I stopped caring very much about the outcome. (Sadly, I had seen the movie and knew how it would all turn out.)

Secondly, even with the magic qualities of literature woven into the story, Mo never comes across as an appealing protagonist. Meggie, his daughter, and Elinor, an aunt, add interest to the story, but fail to carry it.

Third, the villains are too stereotypical : Rotten to the core with no subtleties of character.

In spite of all this, there were some marvelous quotes:

If you take a book with you on a journey, an odd thing happens; the book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it.. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it . . . yes, books are like flypapers. Memories cling to the printed page better than anything else. (p. 21)

There was another reason why Meggie took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange - familiar voices, friends that never quarrelled with her, clever, powerful friends, daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventures who had travelled far and wide. (p. 21)

Books have to be heavy because the world´s inside them. (p. 25)

So, even though the story never really grabbed me, I enjoyed the great quotes and the good writing. Funke´s book was translated from German into English by Anthea Bell who hails from the U.K., which gave the book a nice British feel.

Has anyone else read it? What did you think?


Susan @ Reading World said...

I missed this one when my kids were reading it, but maybe I should go back and read it myself. I think it's still on one of their bookshelves.

Brenda said...

What a lovely cover, I enjoyed the quotes you chose too. Especially the one about why books are so heavy. Happy Saturday!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I liked it better than you, but now that I read your review I'm second-guessing my thoughts. I did read it about five years ago, so who knows what I'd think now?

Jaina said...

I tried to read the trilogy a year or two ago, and quit halfway through the second book. I don't know what it is about Funke's writing, but I've never been able to finish an entire book (or in this case, series) by her. On the surface the books are amazing, but they just don't catch my attention at all.

Carol in Oregon said...

The book is on my shelf, unread. I've always held it in reserve for when I wanted a booklover's book.

The quotes really resonate with me.