Reviews for Inkheart


Booklist Reviews 2005 October #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 6-9. Readers who enjoyed Funke's Inkheart (2003) are in for a treat with this sequel, a stronger book than its predecessor. In the first volume of the trilogy, a few characters have the ability to "read" a character out of a book and into today's world. In this book the process is reversed, and most of the earlier characters are transported to the magical yet perilous and sometimes brutally violent land of the fictional book, also called Inkheart. Young Meggie has longed to visit that world, but once she travels there she realizes the consequences of her choice and the seeming impossibility of putting things right in either place. With the help of Fenoglio, the book's author, who now lives in the secondary world, she connives to turn events toward a good outcome. Though some readers will simply enjoy the adventure story, others will be intrigued by Fenoglio's reflections on the impossibility of controlling what he has created. As before, the book's focus shifts from one group of characters to another as the plot moves swiftly. An indispensable key to the numerous characters precedes the story. Readers will enjoy the many quotes at chapter headings from writers as diverse as Margaret Atwood, David Almond, Kate DiCamillo, Harper Lee, Pablo Neruda, Philip Pullman, J. K Rowling, and T. H. White. In short, a booklover's book. ((Reviewed October 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Booklist Reviews 2003 September #1
Gr. 6-12. One dark night, a mysterious man called Dustfinger appears at the house where Meggie lives with her father, a bookbinder. Dustfinger's arrival sets in motion a long, complicated chain of events involving a journey, fictional characters brought to life, dangerous secrets revealed, threats of evil deeds, actual evil deeds, a long-lost relative found, and the triumph of creativity and courage. Despite the presence of several well-developed, sympathetic characters, the plot is often driven by the decidedly menacing, less-convincing villains. Although Meggie, one of the few young people in the book, remains the central character, she is not always in the forefront of the action or even on the scene. The points of view of sympathetic adult characters become increasingly important and more fully developed as the story progresses. Like many other fantasies, this will appeal to a broad age range, though the writing is far less child-centered than it is, for example, in the Harry Potter series. Translated from the German, this long book was written by the author of The Thief Lord (2002). ((Reviewed September 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
The bibliophilic conceit of Inkheart is taken to new levels when this sequel’s unwieldy ensemble cast is transported into the world of the book. A final showdown in which Fenoglio pits the power of words against the power of death provides a compelling conclusion to a novel otherwise hindered by an overabundance of sneering, indistinct villains and underused heroes. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring
Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that many years ago, while her father was reading the novel [cf2]Inkheart[cf1] out loud, his voice somehow brought many of its characters--including the evil despot Capricorn--ôslipping out of their story.ö Now Capricorn wants MeggieÆs father to summon a malevolent, immortal character called the Shadow from the pages of the book. This tale of adventure and fantasy reaches an especially satisfying conclusion. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2006 #1
In Funke's previous bibliophilic fantasy, Inkheart (rev. 1/04), bookbinder Mo discovered that words have power -- specifically, the power to bring storybook characters to life and literally transport readers into the world of the book. This sequel takes that conceit to new levels after early plot twists land Mo, Meggie, Resa, Dustfinger, and Farid in Inkworld as author Fenoglio, trapped inside his own story (i.e., Inkheart), struggles to direct it. Unfortunately, Funke can no longer rely on the innovation of her premise to sustain reader interest, and the novel stumbles under the weight of an unwieldy cast: Inkspell abounds with sneering, indistinct villains both old and new while Meggie, Mo, and the rest remain underused. "You always did like your villains best," Meggie admonishes Fenoglio, with unintentional irony. Even devotees might need to consult the extensive character roster to keep everybody straight. Still, Funke has a few surprises up her sleeve as the plot arches toward a showdown that pits the power of words against the power of death. Concluding catastrophes set Farid and Meggie on a new quest and force Fenoglio, in the most compelling subplot of the narrative, to realize that he is not entirely in control of his creation. One only wishes Funke could have had a tighter hold on hers. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #3
Meggie discovers that her father, Mo, has the power to turn words on a page into living flesh, a conceit that deepens the impact of this novel in audio format. Redgrave's supple voice, as magical as Mo's, gives life to this cast of characters: Dustfinger, his voice as raspy as his stubbly chin; Flatnose, whose syllables slide out like letters through a mail slot; and Capricorn, whose very lack of emotion makes him unimaginably menacing. Set against this dark counterpoint, Meggie's voice is all too human: transiting from frantic concern for her father to flashing anger at her captors, from tender wistfulness to brash courage. At fifteen and a half hours, this recording invites listeners to sink deeply into a rich, complicated world. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #1
Who hasn't dreamed of it--characters leaping from the pages of a book to interact with the reader? Or, better yet, the reader transported--quite literally--into the make-believe world of a novel? In this tale of adventure and fantasy by the author of The Thief Lord (rev. 11/02), twelve-year-old Meggie and her father Mo live in a house overflowing with "small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new." But it's one particular book that brings a stranger named Dustfinger to their house one rainy spring night. Meggie learns that many years earlier, while Mo was reading aloud a novel called Inkheart, his voice somehow brought many of its characters--including Dustfinger and the evil despot Capricorn--"slipping out of their story like a bookmark forgotten by some reader between the pages." Now Dustfinger (who longs to return to his fictional origins) wants Mo to read him back into the book, while Capricorn (who likes it here just fine) wants Mo to use his powers to read gold and riches out of stories such as Treasure Island and summon a malevolent, immortal character called the Shadow from the pages of Inkheart. Thanks to Harry P., kids may not be scared off by this volume's heft, though they may wish the pacing wasn't quite so leisurely--even the novel's many chases and hostage-takings are related in a deliberate fashion. But bibliophiles will delight in a story that celebrates books (each chapter begins with a literary passage ranging from Shakespeare to Sendak), and the conclusion is especially satisfying. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2003 September #2
It is hard to avoid preciosity in books about books, but here Funke pulls off the feat with vigor. Meggie, an avid reader, lives alone with her father, a bookbinder; her mother disappeared years before. When a disturbing stranger named Dustfingers intrudes on their peace, she gradually discovers that the barrier between books and the real world is permeable and that an ill-fated read-aloud years ago unleashed Capricorn, who "would feed [a] bird to [a] cat on purpose . . . and the little creature's screeching and struggling would be as sweet as honey to him." Funke takes her time with her tale, investing her situations with palpable menace and limning her characters with acute sensitivity; she creates in Meggie a stalwart heroine who never loses her childish nature even as she works to contain the monster and bring her mother back. Master translator Bell takes the German text and spins out of it vivid images and heart-stopping language that impel the reader through this adventure about narratives-a true feast for anyone who has ever been lost in a book. (Fiction. 10+) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2005 September #1
One year after the events of Inkheart (2003), one by one, the characters find themselves read from the real world into the Inkworld. Dustfinger is ecstatic to be back home after his long exile; Meggie is thrilled to explore the story that has seduced her with its beauty; Mo and Resa want only to bring their daughter Meggie back. The metaliterary musings begun in the previous title become grander here, as each character grapples with the possibility of challenging the fate that has been written. Fenoglio, the author of the fictional Inkheart, takes on a tragic role, as he sees his godlike idyll threatened when his words and characters take on lives of their own. Woven in and around the breakneck adventure is the provocative notion that words, and the meanings they carry, are plastic and ever susceptible to change. While the permeability of the membrane between imagination and reality may form the base of the novel, Funke delivers more than enough action, romance, tragedy, villainy and emotion to keep readers turning the pages-and waiting for the sequel the cliffhanger ending promises. (Fiction. 10+) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 July #3
In Funke's (The Thief Lord) delectably thick and transfixing fantasy, 12-year-old Meggie learns that when her bookbinder father, Mo, reads a book aloud, the characters and other objects appear in the real world. Nine years ago, Mo accidentally brought out evil Capricorn and his loyal man, Basta, from Inkheart (as well as the "fire-eater," Dustfinger), and they are hot on his trail. Capricorn wants to destroy Mo's copy of the book so that Mo can't return Capricorn to his fictional life, and Capricorn wants the bookbinder to read out treasures (as in "gold") for him (as well as a murderous "friend" from Inkheart known as the Shadow). While the specifics of how the magic works remain a bit fuzzy, the characters are wonderfully complex, from tragic Dustfinger, who would stop at nothing to return to the world he misses, to the superstitious Basta who remains loyal to his boss even after the villain sentences him to death. Readers will quickly find themselves entranced by the well-orchestrated plot, commiserating with Meggie's great-aunt Elinor when Capricorn's men burn the bibliophile's library of rare books, and jumping when events take a suspenseful turn. Funke plans every exquisite detail: chapters begin with quotes from books such as The Wind in the Willows, setting the stage for this book about books, and bookworms will appreciate the opportunities to identify with the characters (e.g., Dustfinger does not want to learn the ending of Inkheart, both Mo and Elinor warn Meggie of the dangers of fire to those who surround themselves with pages, etc.). Meggie makes a triumphant heroine and in the end discovers her own secret talent. Funke once again proves the power of her imagination; readers will be captivated by the chilling and thrilling world she has created here. Ages 11-15. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 September #2
Actor Brendan Fraser and author Cornelia Funke (Dragon Rider) are paired again, though this time it's not for a dragon tale. Fraser takes on Inkspell, the sequel to Inkheart. This time Dustfinger (the fire-eater/book character who came to life) returns to the pages of the Inkheart book from whence he came, and Meggie gets magically-and literally-caught inside the story, too. Fraser's subtle, suspenseful narration and full-bodied character voices charm. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 October #3

In this spellbinding follow-up to Inkheart , Funke expertly mixes joy, pain, suspense and magic. In the opening chapter, Dustfinger returns to Inkheart , the fantastic novel (within Funke's novel of the same name) from which he was sprung, and his "devoted" apprentice, Farid, asks Meggie to use her magical reading powers to send him into the story. Meggie, lured by the "place of marvels and adventures," goes with him. Her parents soon follow. The omniscient narrator allows readers to jump from the "real" world to Inkworld, where a war is brewing between Ombra Castle and the evil Adderhead's Castle of Night. Worse, Meggie's father, Mo (aka Silvertongue), is mistaken for a Robin Hood-type figure known as the Bluejay and is to be executed. Readers will race along with Meggie and other Inkheart favorites as the characters try to create a "happy ending." Funke again cleverly plays with the power of words: Fenoglio, the author of Inkheart , now lives in the world he created and continues to write new story lines--which play out in often unintended ways (e.g. he bases the Bluejay character on Meggie's father, putting Mo in danger). This is a thick and dark book (the Magpie shoots Mo, nearly killing him, and Basta appears for a final showdown), as well as sophisticated--especially the romance blossoming between Farid and Meggie, and Dustfinger's complicated relationship with Meggie's mother. There is much left to explore; readers will eagerly await the last in the planned trilogy. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 April #1
In a starred review, PW called this a "spellbinding follow-up to Inkheart, expertly mixing joy, pain, suspense and magic." Ages 9-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 December #3
Tackling Funke's (The Thief Lord) meaty, intricately plotted tale of magic and books, Redgrave colors her reading with appropriately varying degrees of suspense, revelation and drama. Twelve-year-old Meggie, a self-proclaimed bookworm, finds it odd that her bookbinder father, Mo, has never read aloud to her. But when a mysterious man named Dustfinger appears in the rainy shadows of the garden one night, Meggie begins to unravel the secret her father has kept all her life: when Mo reads aloud from books, the characters come to life and appear before him. This magical power proves dangerous, as characters from a certain book-Inkheart-are on the loose and after Mo. Many twists and turns that will particularly intrigue those who love books unfold before Meggie ultimately learns that she and her father have something in common when it comes to magic. Redgrave's voice takes on growling, sometimes whispery qualities as she portrays villains; a brighter inquisitive tone prevails as Meggie makes observations and interacts with the other characters. The end result is a satisfying listen, perfect for long winter evenings by the fire. Ages 11-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 October
Gr 4-8-Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie, 12, has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. Things change after a visit from a scarred man who calls himself Dustfinger and who refers to Mo as Silvertongue. Meggie learns that her father has been keeping secrets. He can "read" characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released Dustfinger and other characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie's mother disappeared into the story. Mo also released Capricorn, a sadistic villain who takes great pleasure in murdering people. He has sent his black-coated henchmen to track down Mo and intends to force him to read an immortal monster out of the story to get rid of his enemies. Meggie, Mo, Dustfinger, and Meggie's great-aunt Elinor are pursued, repeatedly captured, but manage to escape from Capricorn's henchmen as they attempt to find the author of Inkheart in the hope that he can write a new ending to the story. This "story within a story" will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters. Pair this title with Roderick Townley's The Great Good Thing (2001) and Into the Labyrinth (2002, both Atheneum) for a wonderful exploration of worlds within words.-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 April
Gr 4-8-An inventive plot and memorable characters will draw listeners into Cornelia Funke's fantasy (Scholastic, 2003). Twelve-year-old Meggie and Mo, her book binder father, are fleeing their old enemy, Capricorn, when they arrive at Great Aunt Eleanor's book-lined villa in Italy. Though the three of them are brave and wily by turns, their cruelly-powerful nemesis manages to find them and their copy of the book, Inkheart. That's when Meggie learns about her father's extraordinary ability to read book characters into life, and the events that caused her mother's disappearance when Capricorn emerged from the title book. Meggie, Mo, Eleanor, and a host of friends and enemies go through plot twists that involve captures, escapes and, finally, an end to Capricorn's reign of terror. At the heart of it all, is the power of story and family love. Actress Lynn Redgrave shows her considerable powers as a narrator with well-chosen voices that fit each character and mood. Anthea Bell gets kudos for a translation from the German that is both lyrical and exciting. The sound quality and packaging are well done with information on which chapters can be found on each cassette. Inkheart is a nuanced and intriguing recording that will appeal to adults and teens as well as upper elementary and middle school students. It will be a popular choice in school libraries that serve students from grade four up, and public libraries as well.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 October

Gr 5 Up -This sequel begins a year after the conclusion of Funke's popular Inkheart (Scholastic, 2003). In this fantasy world, certain readers have the power to bring characters out of books-and send them back. Meggie and Farid, apprentices to the fire-eater Dustfinger, follow him to the Inkworld, the land of the book-within-a-book, Inkheart, after he has been read back into its story by a mysterious man named Orpheus. Orpheus uses his powers to read Mortola and Basta, some of the villains of the first volume, into the story, along with Meggie's parents. In Inkworld, Meggie enlists the help of Fenoglio, the original author of Inkheart , to help create a new future for her parents and herself as palace intrigues, war, and the Silver Prince threaten. The story moves along at a rapid pace, from Farid and Dustfinger's original meeting with Orpheus to Farid's warning of Mortola's return to the shift of action to the Inkworld and the heightening conflict in both worlds. Expanding on the ideas behind Inkheart , Funke explores what might happen if authors try to change the world they have created. Familiar characters and those new to this volume are clearly drawn. This is an involving story that will draw readers smoothly to its conclusion and leave them waiting for the final volume in this projected trilogy.-Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI

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School Library Journal Reviews 2006 February
Gr 5-8-Fourteen-year-old Meggie is back at home after the intrigue and adventure she encountered in Inkheart (Chicken House, 2003), the first volume in this projected trilogy. In this second episode, the calm of her life is shattered when Farid, protege of the fire-eater, Dustfinger, begs her to use her magical ability and read him into Dustfinger's story. Meggie longs to see the enchanted world she has only encountered through the pages of a book and travels with Farid into the story. Events quickly spin out of control. Evil characters from Inkheart re-emerge to extract revenge. Battle lines are drawn between two kingdoms. Several individuals are intent on re-writing the story to ensure their own happy ending. A multitude of intriguing characters are kept straight by the tour-de-force performance of actor Brendan Frazier who distinguishes each one with a different accent-from Dustfinger's Scottish burr to Fenoglio's Brooklyn inflection to Orpheus's southern drawl. His performance is so convincing that listeners must remind themselves that this is not a full-cast production. Action, romance, and danger are delivered with just the right inflection and pace in this stunning performance. Expect the popularity of the series to climb as Inkheart has been optioned for movie rights.-Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2003 December
The author of The Thief Lord (Scholastic, 2002, (c)2000/VOYA April 2003) produces another magical novel that is sure to be popular. Mo is a bookmender keeping a secret from his daughter. For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Meggie habeen on the move with her father, often fleeing in the middle of the night. When an odd character shows up on their doorstep with a mysterious book in hand, warning them to hide, she demands some answers. Mo confesses that his work is related to thabsence of Meggie's mother, who disappeared nine years ago. He solicits the aid of an eccentric aunt to watch Meggie for a while, but soon they are all captives of a diabolical crime boss named Capricorn. It is revealed that Mo accidentall"released" several characters from Inkheart by reading out loud to his wife on that long-ago night. She disappeared into the book when they emerged, and Mo has spent the last decade trying to send the reluctant characters back. Capricorn and hihenchmen have other plans Secrets, surprises, and exciting escapes ensue as Mo enlists the help of Inkheart's author and a crew of sympathetic characters to outwit the bad guys. Meggie proves to be a courageous, clever girl who discovers a gift of her own. The story iunveiled as if peeling layers off a slightly twisted onion. Readers will thoroughly enjoy the excitement. The book's length might be a put-off for some or a great alternative to the Harry Potter saga for others, but it is highly recommended for alyoung adult collections.-Kevin Beach 5Q 4P M J Copyright 2004 Voya Reviews.

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VOYA Reviews 2005 October
This continuation of the bestseller Inkheart (The Chicken House/Scholastic, 2003/VOYA December 2003) begins a year after the events in that novel. Dustfinger and Farid are desperately trying to return to the Inkworld. Lured into a trap, Dustfinger escapes into the Inkworld but leaves Farid behind. Pursued by Basta and Mortola, Farid reunites with Meggie, Mo, Resa, Elinor, and Darius. Soon Farid and Meggie catch up to Dustfinger, Mo is seriously wounded, and everyone is caught up in a deadly struggle as Mortola and Basta use the tyrannical Adderhead and his armies in an attempt to control the Inkworld A wonderfully embroidered, elaborate fairy tale, the book is a joy to read. The majority of the novel takes place in the medieval fantasy realm of the Inkworld, and Funke's detailed, vivid descriptions make it a living, breathing place. In addition, Funke skillfully weaves into an exceptional adventure story an exploration of the relationship between reader, author, and novel. In eloquent, lyric passages, Funke investigates how authors create worlds, how readers bring the worlds to life, and how these worlds often take on a life of their own. Unfortunately the book is obviously the middle novel in a three-volume series. Although the initial conflicts are resolved, others are introduced and remain unresolved, leading to a somewhat unsatisfying ending but ensuring that readers will eagerly pick up the next series entry.-Steven Kral 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2005 Voya Reviews.

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