Review of INKHEART by CORNELIA FUNKE
(first in the INKHEART trilogy, translated by ANTHEA BELL)
I first read this back in college and it has been one of my all-time favorites ever since, so when I started re-reading books for reviewing here this was one of the first ones to come to mind.
Meggie lives with her father and, though they’re both avid readers, he refuses to ever read aloud to her. She doesn’t recall exactly what happened to her mother, only that she went away a long time ago. Then one night a mysterious stranger lurking outside their house brings a warning for Meggie’s father and starts the ball rolling on an adventure Meggie could have never imagined.
Books about books have a special place in my heart for obvious reasons. There are stories within stories here. There’s the story we’re reading. Then there’s the book that all Meggie’s problem revolve around. Then there are all the books she and her fellow readers reference, as well as quotes from other books opening each chapter.
I especially adore magic systems that have to do with reading and books. Minor spoiler coming, so skip the rest of this paragraph if you want to start this book knowing as little as possible. Meggie’s father Mo has the unique power to read characters out of books and into our world when he reads aloud. I love, love, love, most any literary magic system, but this is still my all-time favorite spin on bookish magic.
Naturally, I like a lot of the characters, too, for the simple reason that they’re readers. From curmudgeonly Aunt Elinor to quiet, imaginative Meggie I can relate to each individual. If they’re not exactly me, as someone with a lot of reader friends I at least know someone like each and every one of them.
I mentioned that I only ever re-read books to review ones here that I actually read long before I started blogging. One fun aspect of reviewing something I’m re-reading, though, is noting which books stuck with me and which didn’t as much. INKHEART stands out among all the books I re-read as one I adored the first time, as much the second, and that stayed with me all the years in between.
Lots of glorious bibliophilia here!