Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy - Book 1)

by Cornelia Funke

Ebook, 2011



Call number

PB Fun, Fic Fun

Call number

PB Fun, Fic Fun

Local notes

Fic Fun





Scholastic Paperbacks (2011), Edition: 1st, 545 pages


Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.


Original publication date

2003 (German original)
2003 (English translation)

Media reviews

Such breathtaking things are going to happen, you cannot even imagine. SPECTACULAR!, FABULOUS! BREATHTAKING! If you've got to read a book it's got to be this one.
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Inkheart is a book about books, a celebration of and a warning about books. The "Inkheart" of the title is a book. I don't think I've ever read anything that conveys so well the joys, terrors and pitfalls of reading. ... When the villains are at last defeated and the denizens of the book tumble
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through into reality, it is quite disappointing to find them gaudy, small and trivial. Is Funke saying that, while books as books are wonderful, real life has a solid sort of grimness that renders make-believe flimsy? Or is she pleading with us to mix at least a little fantasy with our reality? I don't know. Inkheart leaves you asking such questions. And this is, to my mind, an important thing for a story to do.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member ncgraham
Some books open brilliantly, pulling you immediately into the worlds they describe. Other books really gain interest in the slower middle section, lingering reflectively over beautiful images or great characters. Others still you cannot understand until the ending, when everything comes together in
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a perfect climax. And then there is that rare book that is an absolute joy throughout, a uniquely satisfying read.

Unfortunately, Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart is not of the latter type, at least not in my opinion, although when I was making my way through the opening chapters I thought it would be. This is one of those unfortunate books that features a thrilling, atmospheric set of opening chapters, and then flounders after that. (I have been reading far too many of these books this year, and it’s beginning to annoy me!) Case in point: for the first quarter of the book, I had no idea what was going to happen next, and I found that to be a supremely thrilling and refreshing sensation. But after meet the [one-dimensional, uninteresting] villain and get the [tedious, long-winded] explanation of what has been going on all this time, the book begins to drag and becomes annoyingly predictable.

The fact that I was listening to this as an audiobook probably didn’t help matters. Audiobooks have a way of drawing out both a book’s strengths and weaknesses, and this is especially true in regard to issues of pacing.

On the other hand, if it were not for the late, great Lynn Redgrave’s wonderful narration (she passed away while I was in the middle of the book, I am sorry to say), I probably would not have stuck it through to the end. I knew she had a wonderful speaking voice, having previously heard her give life to a deadly dull audiobook about the life of Socrates, but never would I have guessed that she could command such a variety of vocal accents and moods. This is truly a virtuoso reading—a friend of mine happened to overhear it and assumed it was a multi-part audio drama, her characters sound so distinct! I particularly like the voices she chose for Dustfinger and Elinor, my two favorite characters.

So, in spite of the wonderful opening chapters, a few great characters, and a very fine audio presentation, Inkheart does not live up to the hype.

One of those books that might have been twice as enjoyable if it were half as long.
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LibraryThing member nancyewhite
Meggie and her dad, Mo, a bookbinder, are living what seems to be an idyllic life together surrounded by a shared love of books and reading. One day, Mo is visited by an odd little man with an odd little pet. His name is Dustfinger and for some reason he calls Mo by the name of Silvertongue. Mo,
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Meggie, and Dustfinger set off hurriedly to Aunt Elinor's house which is full to the brim with amazing books. Soon bad guys show up, Meggie learns her dad can bring characters out of books by reading aloud and the adventure begins.

Doesn't that sound great? It did to me, but sadly I liked the concept more than the book itself. The writing or perhaps the translation just fell flat for me. I'd find myself setting the book down in the middle of what should have been the most exciting parts and being reluctant to pick it back up. I finished it, finally, but it took some effort to do so. I think it might be a worthwhile read for tween booklovers and would recommend it to them. Otherwise, not so much.
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LibraryThing member riofriotex
I should state up front that I'm not a fantasy fan, and this book didn't change my opinion.

This book was too dark, but the premise about reading characters into and out of books was interesting (although it really did not make sense how a person could be read into a book s/he was not originally a
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character in).

The book was too long; the story dragged and repeated itself (back and forth to the villain's lair) and was hard to finish. I think it may have suffered from being translated from its original German. The real human characters (those not read out of a book) seemed underdeveloped. Some of the things 12-year-old Meggie had to go through were awful and inappropriate for her age. Mo/Silvertongue was very unsympathetic. I thought Elinor evolved the most, from someone wrapped up in her books to someone who cared more for other people.

I think I would have enjoyed this book more if the characters read out of books had positive adventures instead of trying to kill or otherwise hurt each other. I'm not at all interested in reading any of the sequels, nor in seeing the movie.
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LibraryThing member jolerie
Meggie is the daughter of an ordinary book restorer, or so she thinks until one night a mysterious stranger arrives at her home and changes her life forever. Mortimer, Meggie's father, or also known as Silvertongue has never read out loud to his daughter because he has the an uncanny ability to
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bring life to the books he reads - literally. Characters are lured from the comforts of their homes in between the pages of the story, come alive, and find themselves in a world that is not their own. Capricorn, a ruthless and merciless villain from the book Inkheart, along with his rag tag bunch of delinquents threaten to destroy the world from which they came from. Meggie discovers that she may have inherited more than just a love of books from her father, and she may be the only hope of salvation between Capricorn, his path of destruction, and the world of Inkheart.

There has always been a soft spot in my heart for stories that share in my love of books and Inkheart is definitely a one that fits that category in spades. Books and the stories they tell are the central focus in Inkheart and the magical nature they possess made me look longingly at the books sitting in my shelves wondering what mysteries they may be hiding. Inkheart was a great combination of suspense, magic, and characters and is a story that I look forward to one day sharing with my children - I may even risk reading it out loud.
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LibraryThing member hockeycrew
Meggie is a 12-year old book addict. Her father also loves books but never reads aloud to her. This has never seemed strange to Maggie until a stranger shows up at her house one day, prompting her father to pack up his books and run away to a relative's house with Meggie. Over the course of the
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book, we learn about strange men who are after Meggie's father and his copy of a book called Inkheart.

I found this book quite interesting with a lot of references to other popular works of literature. It inspired me to want to pick up some of the other works and remember them. The author really instilled a love of reading and books in her characters, yet the adventures experienced by the characters might keep children more interested in the book.

Also, it reminded me of how rich a book can sound when read aloud. I listened to this story as an audiobook, and I think the narrator did an excellent job.
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LibraryThing member delphica
(#16 in the 2004 book challenge)

This book took me forever to get through. The author is being promoted as the hottest thing to hit kidlit since J.K. Rowling, and I did enjoy her first book, The Thief Lord. One thing I like about her writing is that it's smart writing for kids. People who are
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concerned about their children reading "dumbed down" stories will be just fine with Funke. She's creative, she's literary, she's not afraid of introducing complex ideas into books for children.

That said, I never really bought into this book emotionally. At one point, the main character, Meggie (who is very likable and a strong female heroine) observes that actually experiencing things like being kidnapped by supernatural people from another world is not nearly as fun and exciting as reading stories about it, in fact it's quite depressing and scary and not something that anyone should aspire to. Well okay, I can get on board with that in theory. The problem, though, that reading an entire book about someone who is depressed and scared is not nearly as entertaining as reading about people who are having an adventure and managing to have some fun even while some parts might be depressing and scary. This book is missing the emotional up and down that makes fantasy adventure fiction so engaging -- the terrible and sad parts of, for example, the His Dark Materials trilogy are so much MORE sad because they're contrasted to the wonderful and amazing things experienced by the main character, and vice versa. Inkheart is too much of a flatliner in this sense.

Grade: B
Recommended: Eh, recommended to people who like to keep on top of current trends in children's publishing, I guess, and to kids who are good or above average readers in the 9 - 12 age range who already have an interest in fantasy fiction. Not really so much for people who don't usually read this sort of thing, it certainly won't make a fan out of anyone.
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LibraryThing member laurscartelli
Books are not just parchment and ink. Books are not just words strung together, servants of the author's whim. Books are not merely there to teach or even just to be read, but are living, breathing aparati from which any characters may be plucked and drawn into our world, if only in the right
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hands, by the right tongue. Or so Inkheart will have you believing.

As a child of about 11 or 12 I believed that by reading you saw not only into the author's soul, but into a world secluded, preserved, as if you had dipped your face beneath the surface of a pond to get a better look at the colonies of stones and reeds in the riverbed. I think, perhaps, I got the idea from a passage in The Book of Three where Taran and his friends are crossing The Black Lake and are suddenly sucked into the depths as the lake turns into a swirling black whirlpool and just as Taran thinks he has drowned, he awakens in a grotto where King Eiddileg has his kingdom. Every book was Atlantis to me. But it wasn't just that. There were moments, especially when I started on the Redwall series, that I would come to particularly gruesome or enchantingly beautiful or heartsickeningly romantic passages and I would catch myself, in the darkness of my nightlight, reading aloud as if my toungue could stir the dust into action and project the vivid images of my mind into the air before me.

Childish, perhaps, but I still catch myself doing it. Having read Inkheart I suppose I should count myself lucky to not have the gift of literary manifestation. I first heard about Inkheart when I was watching the previews before another film on dvd. I wasn't entirely keen on the trailer, but Brendan Fraser was in it which made me happy. Then one weekend over the summer I was staying with my aunt and she had rented the film for my cousins. Recalling the trailer, I took time during that dvd's previews to wikipedia it. Turns out not only is it all about books, but it was a book to begin with. Fascinated at the its German origins and the fact that it's the first in a 3-part series, I made a note to seek it out, assuming I liked the film at all.

I did like the film. Quite a bit. And it wasn't just my silly crush on Brendan Fraser, nor my love for Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. The story was special and very reminiscent of many of my childhood favorites. And then there was Paul Bettany. I felt, on seeing him as Dustfinger, that he was the perfect choice for him -- and this was before I'd read the book, or known much about it. Paul Bettany just pulsed to the tune of "I am your literary vision." And it was Paul Bettany as Dustfinger that made me know I had to read the book. That being said, I finally picked it up, and I can happily say that the film stays true enough to the book that I have no real complaints. There are moments, as in any adaptation, where they've cut corners or elaborated to make the audience get closure or perhaps to visually stimulate a little more. But that's the beauty of the book for me, that it IS so visually stimulating. And I was right. Paul Bettany IS Dustfinger. It's uncanny. I was a little disappointed that they'd gone with the Jim Broadbent end of the spectrum for Fenoglio - while I read it, Fenoglio looked more like Larry David. And I love Helen Mirren, but for one thing she's the victim of one of the elaborations of this particular film, but also she looks perfectly fit and capable whereas Elinor is supposed to look like a book addict. She's supposed to be a little chubby. Not Helen Mirren.

But that's enough of that.

Reading the novel made me realize what it was about watching the film that made me think of my other literary favorites. The film just kind of throws it all at you and hopes you stick along for the ride. The novel guides you. Every chapter is a new quote that almost outlines what will happen. Quotes from Peter Pan, The Neverending Story, The Princess Bride, The Jungle Book, books that I've read and books that I relate to. Not only that, but The Neverending Story The Princess Bride and Peter Pan are the backbone of Inkheart's frame. In The Neverending Story, Bastian gradually reads himself into Fantasia (the book, in that case, is far more detailed than the film. In The Princess Bride we've got a multilayer issue of the author addressing us and claiming an elderly grandfather who read this book and blah blah blah it's not really important, but in the film Peter Falk makes it all very realistic for young Fred Savage. Peter Pan is the most directly-addressed book within Inkheart in that Tinkerbell ends up playing a role within the story, but even the original is about fairy tales coming true. Wendy tells the stories to her brothers and on an acid-trip-related note, Peter Pan shows up with his fairy and flies around the room and takes them to Neverland and before we know it Wendy is old and regretting her youth but apparently still doing acid because Peter shows up again.

Inkheart ties all of this together into a beautifully woven story about lost love and about treasuring books which, in the end, is what I'm all about. Books are very very powerful things, often with minds of their own. It is important that you treat them with respect and care, and don't go reading them aloud too loudly. If you happen to read a book out loud and begin to smell the sand and heat eminating from its pages, it's time to take a break and then procede with caution, lest you read out one of your villains and then where shall you be? And who shall have taken that villain's place in the world of the novel?
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LibraryThing member alana_leigh
If you think I'm a grinch for giving this book three stars, then you'll be furious when I tell you that I really wanted to just give it two, but somewhere in my three-sizes-too-small heart, I felt compelled to recognize some of the creativity in this and so I've conceded a star.

Inkheart opens on
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Meggie, a twelve year old girl raised by her father (whose name is Mortimer and rather than call him Dad, she calls him Mo) in a house where books cover every inch of available space. Mo repairs books for a living and when he's not repairing them, he's reading them. Meggie has also inherited the reading gene, and even sleeps with a book under her pillow, so it can whisper a story into her ear. And while we're told by Meggie everything that would suggest this is a cozy home and loving (albeit small) family where they keep no secrets from each other, we're immediately thrust into events that put all of this on its ear.

Meggie sees a man looking up at the house in the middle of the night and while her father mocks her for imagining things, when he sees for himself, he recognizes him and lets the man in. His name is Dustfinger and he calls Meggie's father "Silvertongue." What results is Mo futilely spending a lot of time trying to hide things from Meggie. He even tries to ditch Dustfinger and take Meggie to her great-aunt Elinor's home, but he's forced to bring him along. (The book obsession runs in the blood on both sides of the family, evidently, because Elinor's home is more like a library, with incredibly valuable books under lock and key.) But of course, the truth eventually comes out to reveal that Meggie's father has kept much bigger secrets from her than she ever thought possible.

Mortimer is called "Silvertongue" by Dustfinger because he has a wondrous and terrible gift: when Mortimer reads aloud from books, things happen. More specifically, items from the story he is reading are conjured out of thin air and characters are literally brought to life -- but the price for such transport seems to be that items from this world would disappear into the story. Nine years ago, while he was reading a book called Inkheart to Meggie's mother, Mortimer accidentally brought three men from the book to life... Dustfinger and two villains named Capricorn and Basta. And if this wasn't terrible enough, Meggie's mother was taken in to the book. Despite many attempts, Mo could never read Teresa out of the book and so he was left alone with their baby daughter.

For the past nine years, Dustfinger survived in the world by performing tricks like a gypsy... eating fire and juggling at carnivals, but he still remains homesick for the world in the book, even though he can never bear to read the book's ending to discover his fate. Capricorn, meanwhile, built up an army of henchmen in this world and desperately wants to capture Mortimer and use his skills for his own purposes. Sure, Capricorn found some other guy who could read things out of books, but they never quite turned out well, and so he wants Silvertongue to read out an evil that would make Capricorn all-powerful. In addition, Capricorn has been collecting copies of Inkheart, so Mo might have the only copy that is not already in Capricorn's possession. Without Inkheart to read from, Mo has no hope of ever rescuing Teresa from the book. And so now, Dustfinger has apparently arrived to warn Mortimer that Capricorn knows his latest hiding spot... but no one realizes (the all too obvious fact) that Dustfinger has betrayed them... in many ways.

For the rest of the book, Mo, Meggie, Elinor and Dustfinger are captured, escape, and are captured again by Capricorn and his henchmen, with Basta at the forefront. A host of villainous characters are at his disposal and our good guys are desperate to discover a way to thwart Capricorn while still keeping a copy of Inkheart safe. Over the course of the story, we pick up a few other characters, including a boy conjured from A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, a mute woman brought out of Inkheart who looks suspiciously familiar, and the author of Inkheart himself who feels responsible for the men he created out of ink and paper.

On the positive side, I'm generally approving of any book that promotes literature in such a way. There's something about being a child who loves books reading a book about people who love books... it makes you sense the true value and magic of the written word. And the idea of someone who can read things out of books is good enough... but the fact that there is a price to be paid for it is even better. And hey, I have to give points to any book that quotes The Princess Bride.

But as far as my grievances go, there's a big problem that I have with the adult characters in general. Rather than have scenes demonstrate things about these characters and their attributes, we're TOLD everything about them. We certainly understand that Meggie is utterly devoted to Mo, but I didn't actually feel as though Mo was really all that overly fond of his daughter. He must be, sure -- he knew his responsibility and took care of her, but we didn't get many scenes yielding evidence of tender father-daughter affection. The bad guys talk about how he's so besotted with his daughter so she's great bait for drawing him to Capricorn, and we're told (mostly by Meggie) how close they are, but the scenes in the book were mostly scenes where Mo is supposedly doing something out of character... using a stern voice or keeping secrets. His face was also supposed to be an open book, but unless it was just that confusion for all of this muddled him so much, I didn't see him as a very well-defined character with very obvious emotions. We're also told that the bag guys are evil but they didn't seem so bad to me. It's a case of their bark being worse than their bite. Was this because we were trying to spare kids from having nightmares? It's not like the whole book wasn't spent with characters running in fear. Or perhaps we were relying on the reader to be so appalled by the burning of a library... but that's not the same kind of evil as was attributed to Capricorn and Basta. Elinor's character has a different problem... she started out as a character who was much more abrasive in the beginning and ended up as someone we were supposed to love, but the switch didn't make much sense to me. Meggie is fairly strong as a twelve year old bookworm, so I don't find much fault with her character (aside from her name, which I want to be Maggie every time I write it out). As for Dustfinger... well, I think he got off lightly once you realize the extent of his betrayal. Hardly excusable, even if he's homesick and sad. I'm not quite sure why we still view him as a "good guy" in the end.

I was fidgety and somewhat annoyed through most of this book, and I read it over the course of two days (a) because even if it's thick, it's a kid's book and the type is large and (b) because I didn't want to spend more time on it. Things seemed only somewhat dark (and while you knew things would end well, the feeling of things was rather bleak in terms of landscape and lack of character banter) and I didn't get enough of a fall from grace feeling to believe the world was ever better than the one that included Capricorn. A reunion scene at the end of the book seemed to be a bit lacking, though everything ended with a tidy bow. Sure, it's a children's book, but I was under the impression that the writing was really trying to explain to kids that the world is dangerous beyond super-villains, and then everything seems a-okay? Hm. I have mixed feelings about cutting this book some slack given its intended audience, but I also feel like there's clearly talent in these pages, and so the issues I have seem the result of some sloppy ideas. We could have spent more time on character development and less time running through hills only to be captured again. Alas. I doubt I'll be reading the sequels to this one any time soon, but knowing me and my obsession with finishing things completely, I might end up doing so in the future. But in paperback -- at least I've learned my lesson there.
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LibraryThing member TadAD
This was the audio book for a long family trip and was a definite success. I hadn't expected to like it. I had read one previous book by Cornelia Funke, The Thief Lord, and the best I could say about it was, "well, it was OK." This story, on the other hand, had all of us engaged from the get go
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and, even though we were all pretty sure we could predict a happy ending, we stayed tuned right up to the end.

The concepts and plots were original, the writing and pacing flowed very smoothly (my big complaint about The Thief Lord) and the characters were generally appealing. I think the kids would probably give it four stars in my rating system. I can only give it 3½ because I did have two problems with it. They didn't really interfere with enjoying the story, but they did float across my mind several times while I was listening.

The rather minor one is that I absolutely hate it when one character says to another, "I've figured things out...but I don't want to tell you, yet." And then, of course, they are unable to do so later when that knowledge would have been useful. It's simply a too-artificial way of creating suspense.

The second, larger problem is that the relationship between Meggie and her father, Mo, lacked a little something. We were told that it was very loving and very close. However, I didn't really see that demonstrated. If I hadn't been told many times how much he adored her, I would have thought him a rather distant and stern father.

Still, despite that, the story had enough going for it to make me glad I listened to it and determined to pick up the sequel, Inkspell.
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LibraryThing member richardderus
A doorstop of a tome, it's way too long for the story. Meggie isn't interesting enough to make me want to follow her through the convolutions of discovery with Mo and Elinor. I can't believe this took over 500pp to tell!

And yet, and's aimed at a very different demographic than I am...young
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girls, it would seem, want long long long books about nothing much, like those hideous Stephenie Meyer warts on the Devil's buttcheeks. So for its target audience, it's a huge improvement over the otherwise available material.

What is it, BTW, that leads adolescent females down these primrose paths of tedium? My daughter loooved the Robert Jordan "Wheel of Time" crapola, and I think she still reads them (I'm afraid to ask). If Inkheart had weighed in at 300pp or so, it would have been a much more exciting book. Is there some double-X-chromosome disorder that prevents y'all from liking excitement?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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LibraryThing member kaionvin
Just... not interesting, not awful- just... boring. Which is unfortunate because the premise isn't bad: A book-loving young girl named Meggie finds out her father is capable of reading books to life when a villain he read out years ago from a novel named Inkheart comes looking for them.

But the
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characters never seem to ask the obvious questions any reader would ask in the same situation to discover how the mysterious 'Silvertongue' powers work and they're often many steps behind in uncovering the weakly veiled mysteries. They spend days on end sitting around waiting alternately for the bad guys to catch or for good fortune to turn in their favor for them to escape. Ironically this incompetence turns their self-congratulatory love of books almost into a condemnation of bibliophiles (as at least Dustfinger, and especially Farid are capable of holding some wits about them).

The book of Inkheart itself (upon which the plot cruxes) appears by all means to be a trite work all about the various degrees of completely un-nuanced villainy of its characters. Interesting concepts and plot points that *are* brought up- such as the morality of reading out characters, the perverse author's joy of making tragic things happen to good characters, the power of oral vs written storytelling, and Dustfinger's crush on Resa are disappointingly covered only cursorily. The prose especially is humdrum (except, ironically, when it is describing the vividness of Mo's reading), and ultimately the entire novel feels entirely like it's going through the motions.
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LibraryThing member ReadingPenguin
"Rain fell that night, a light, whispering rain." And so begins one of my 2 all-time favorite books (the sequal is my other favorite book)! A girl called Meggie and her father, a bookbinder, are found one night by a man named Dustfinger. As Meggie finds out more and more about her father's special
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talent, they begin to be chased by a man who requires Mo's special "skills". If you havn't read this book, you havn't lived! For all people 12+!
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LibraryThing member Aerrin99
After hearing many good things, I was rather disappointed by this book.

Although the writing was stylistically fine (nicely done, even!) and the premise is lovely, it just doesn't measure up. The plot is plodding and unbearably slow, the characters flat and uninteresting, and there are places where
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I finished a chapter only to realize that absolutely nothing had been accomplished by the pages I had just read.

This book desperately needed a tighter outline and someone willing to cut bits that don't move the story or characters along. There's enough plot in this book for 200, 300 pages. Unfortunately, it's well over 500.

More frustrating was that a great deal of time was spent 'telling' rather than 'showing'. We are told again and again that the main villain is unbelievably horrific, one of the sorts of characters who, even in a book, makes you tug the covers a little tighter at night and be wary of the shadows.

Except that he's not. Quite honestly, all the villains are intensely lame, and every evil act they do is not only shown 'off camera', but also ranges quite low on the list of 'awful things a villain can do'. This book is intended (I think) for young adults, but if I were going by Capricorn and his gang of thugs, I'd place it much, much younger.

Much of the ongoing danger-and-chase has the same problem. Things happen, characters are scared, doom is coming, and through it all you find it very difficult to care. There's no really compelling reason to be invested in any of the characters (in fact, I found a few of them frankly unlikeable), and the author rather fails at building any convincing sense of danger - most likely because her bad guys just aren't that bad.

The best part about this book are the quotes that begin every chapter, taken from classics of children's literature. Most of them match nicely and bring back lovely memories - and in fact, the strongest writing in the book comes when the young protagonist thinks about the power of books to carry you away, to be a home for you wherever you are.

It's a bit sad, really - the metaphor here is powerful and strong and the premise just wonderful. The execution is just so flat that I spent many scenes thinking 'I can see how this will be fantastic in film, but here, it's just so /dry/.' Not the reaction I typically have to a book!

I love young adult fiction, especially fantastical fiction, but I think I'll skip out on the sequels and seek out something with a little more depth.
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LibraryThing member Assassin13
If you want something short and sweet, here it is-
THIS BOOK IS ON PAR WITH, IF NOT BETTER THAN, HARRY POTTER. That is basically my entire review in a nutshell, but if you want more details, keep reading......

I loved this book in so many ways. It was original, interesting, and very unpredictable.
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All of the characters were likeable in their own way and none of them felt the least bit recycled. They were all entirely original and creative.

The story itself was very fun. It balanced all of the elements of a good book brilliantly. There was action, smart dialogue, humor, and great character development. The book had the perfect length as well. Not too long for a book of this nature, and not too short either.

Overall, this is one of the all time favorites, and I recommend that anyone who wants to have fun with a book and likes for their imagination to fly check this one out. Funke did a great job.
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LibraryThing member devilish2
I love the premise of this book (characters come to life), but the delivery is just straight out turgid. The extracts from other books at the start of each chapter are ingenious - relevant to the chapter content and encouraging readers to explore other books (as does the text). I so wanted to love
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it... but I just couldn't.
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LibraryThing member Calwise
I saw the movie and didn't really like it. I decided to give the book a try because I liked the plot itself, and wound up intrigued. I agree with those who think it is to long, and that it would be better at about 300 pages. And yet, despite the length, I found it moved at just barely a fast enough
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pace to keep me interested. My favorites are Dustfinger and Farid. I want a library like Elinor's!
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LibraryThing member Jiraiya
I must be insane to want to read the further installments of a book I rated a one just 5 seconds ago. This review is an attempt at understanding why I ended up disliking a book whose author has talent and passion for reading and inventing stories. Cornelia Funke has spun a good story but I still
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will not read Inkheart ever again in this lifetime.

This story should have clocked at 300 pages max. Instead the wordy tale maxed my patience and milked any kindness that might have been sloshing inside me. "Just end already, I can't bear another sentence anymore." This is the first time I've quoted myself in a review. Shows how desperate I was to end a book that I wasn't going to abandon reading. I don't do that anymore. Each sentence seemed to be lovingly glued to form a mushy work of art which left me puzzled and drained.

At first the lengthiness if the book puzzled me mighty fine. There weren't any flowery description. And though Mo is a "book doctor", there is no documentary like account of book binding and repairing. There isn't any lingering or focusing on any single thing for an inordinate amount of time. But then I discovered part of the reason for the boredom, it was because the names peopling Inkheart often moved like banal chess pieces on a board. Mo and Elinor get captured. They escaped. Meggie gets captured. At one point there's traveling towards danger, at other points the evading persons flee away. Just pieces of a board game getting captured then coming back from entrapment.

Inkheart is a book within a book. Just like Sophie's world. Unlike the latter however, this author doesn't big up or flatter its own work. Only fragments of the "real" Inkheart book is shown. The author shies away from praising her shadowy fiction. I found the characters of Capricorn and Basta et al terribly dull and frustrating. They don't do anything evil. They don't feel evil. They should have been even more pathetic in their native world, where magicians and faeries abound. How they came to get any sense of entitlement is a baffling mystery. They seem like losers. Like bullies. Capricorn dies like a fool.

The best part throughout is when Resa is introduced. From then you get the feeling that a showdown is preparing to be deployed. There's what people used to call a lost and found formula here. How Mo was going to rescue his family turned out to be a disappointment. Another dead end and a letdown. But the end makes me slightly curious for Inheart 2. I must be mental. I want to know what happens to Dustfinger and where Fenoglio went. It seemed bad when the book ended where it did. Did I say BAD? I meant good. Good like in good riddance.
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LibraryThing member marsap
Meggie has been raised by her father Mortimer (Mo), a bookbinder, a lover of all books--a trait he has passed on to Meggie. Soon she discovers that her father has the ability to read things and even characters out of books. Unfortunately, nine years before Mo brought out characters from a book
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called Inkheart, and in particular, a dangerous, heartless character known as Capricorn. In addition, Meggie learns that Mo’s ability is how she lost her mother many years ago. Capricorn is now searching for Mo, and plans to force Mo to use his ability for his own advantage. To save all, Meggie, Mo and their friends and family travel to find the author of Inkheart and defeat Capricorn and his henchmen. The characters in Inkheart are very original and I particularly liked the character of Meggie, a brave, intelligent heroine. It also gives an interesting perspective on how we feel and think about books. A fantasy novel that I think that would be appropriate for both older children (there are some violent scenes) and adults. A 4 out of 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member ClicksClan
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke is a book that I've been wanting read for ages. I did start it once before but had a bit of a falling out with the person who bought it for me, set it aside and never really got around to picking it back up again. I did love the film and when I was rearranging my bookcase
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a couple of months ago I decided to pop Inkheart on there for when I'd finished with my Tolkien books.

For those of you who haven't read the book/seen the film, it's about a man who has the ability to read objects out of books. When he reads, things will appear in our world from the book he has read. One day, however, Mo accidentally reads his wife into Inkheart and brings three of the characters out. Flashforward and Capricorn, one of the bad guys he read out of the book is looking for Mo and his daughter, Meggie, gets swept into the whole scheme.

Now the first thing that I have to say about this book: It's a truly lovely looking book. I know you mustn't judge a book by its cover, but your really can't help but fall in love with such a lovely cover as this one. The book is also full of beautiful illustrations, a little decoration on the chapter heading and a little picture at the end of each chapter.

I really really enjoyed this book. It's clearly written by someone who loves books and reading. No one could come up with the descriptions used by Cornelia Funke without having a great deal of love for books. If I had read this book a little earlier I probably would have chosen this as my Book & Film Adaptation Tree book because I could quite easily have underlined the better part of this book to highlight my favourite passages. I could imagine the bits that other people would have liked, as they all share the same sort of love and books.

The quotes at the beginnings of the chapters were also a nice touch. All of the characters mentioned various books in the course of the story as well. As I read, I made a note of those which earned a mention and I've added them to my book journal in the 'To Remember' section I've give myself (my 'To Read' section fills up a little too quickly, 'To Remember' is a little bit more long term, I'm going to read them at some point, but maybe not as soon as those on the 'To Read' list). They really added to the story, you could kind of guess at what would happen in the chapter based on the quote which was used to start the chapter. Cornelia Funke must be very well read to come up with all those little links to the story.

I think it's also worth mentioning the fact that this book has been translated from the original German. Something needs to be said of Anthea Bell's work in translating such a lovely story. I should have mentioned something about translations when I reviewed The Diving-Bell and The Butterfly (translated by Jeremy Leggatt). Obviously, I've never read the original, and it's unlikely that I will ever be proficient in either language to do that, so I'm going to have to rely on translators to get the full essence of the story. It says a lot about the translator to be able to capture the story and make it all seem so magical. I just hope that the next books in the series will be translated by the same translator, or if not, that they'll stay very close in style.

As a Lord of the Rings fan, of course I picked up on every little nod to Tolkien's books. I was especially pleased at the fact that Meggie and Mo used Elvish letters from Lord of the Rings to send secret messages... I use the same letters for secret notes myself. I adapted the Dwarves Runes when I was about 14, and more recently I'd adopted a Tengwar script for the same purpose. It helps to keep private diaries private.

My copy of the book also has some extra pages in the back; little bits of information about the author, about the books that the characters had mentioned, other little facts and puzzles. It was geared towards children but I do enjoy getting a little something extra from a book. It did also have a couple of random chapters from Inkspell (the next book in the series) which I wasn't so enthused by.

I used to really enjoy samples of the next book. The Kathy Reichs Temperance Brennan series have the first chapter of the next book at the back and I used to like getting a sneak peek of what was to come, largely because I was going straight on to read the next book, so could read it at the end of the book then skip that bit of the next one. Now each time I read a book, I move onto an entirely new series, so by the time I come around to the next one I have to read that chapter again anyway to refamiliarise myself with the story.

The problem with throwing in (as far as I remember) Chapters 2 and 7 is that they're not really anchored to anything. I didn't really get into them because I wasn't sure what was going on, so I found myself skimming them more than anything. I'd rather have the first two chapters rather than two which don't follow on from anything and kind of give away bits of the plot (which are admittedly early in the book so won't give away too much). And I know, no one was holding a gun to my head making me read the teaser chapters, but they were there and I kind of felt compelled to read them.
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LibraryThing member -Eva-
Obviously, the premise appeals to any bookworm: What if you could read characters out of their books? (Winnie-the-Pooh springs to mind, Pippi Longstocking maybe, or even Bulgakov's Behemoth would be fun to have a chat with.) Of course, the narrator's father accidentally reads out not some cozy
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characters, but some really bad guys (and reads in her mother) and mayhem ensues. OK, maybe not mayhem - I don't quite get the sense of urgency I would have wished for. There is a lot of driving and walking back and forth - from the bad guys' village to the next village and back again to the bad guys' place. And back to the village. Lather, rinse, repeat.

My favorite character is definitely Gwin the marten who, as opposed to the "normal" familiars in this genre, spits and hisses and bites pretty much everyone. I like that he acts like a marten does in real life and still manages to be a good character.

Ultimately, I wish that the absolutely wonderful premise - reading people in and out of books - would have been the main topic of the novel rather than just the reason the bad guys are there. Still, it is a decent enough read - so decent in fact that I went and got the second part of the trilogy (which I've heard is better).
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LibraryThing member drebbles
Meggie, 12, and her father, Mo, share a love of books. In fact, their house is full of books. But, despite their constant reading, Mo will never read out loud to Meggie. She wonders why until one day a stranger, Dustfinger, shows up at their house and Meggie discovers the awful truth. When reading
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out loud, Mo has the ability to read characters out of the book and into real life. Unfortunately, he has no control over which character he reads out and one terrible day when Meggie is 3, he reads out a terrible villain, Capricorn, out of a novel called "Inkheart". As if that wasn't bad enough, Mo inadvertently reads his wife, Teresa, into the book. Nine years later, Dustfinger warns Mo that Capricorn is looking for him because he wants Mo to read more evil characters out of "Inkheart". Mo and Meggie go on the run, but it's not long before Capricorn catches up with Mo, Meggie, Dustfinger and Meggie's Aunt Elinor. When Meggie finds out that she too can read characters out of books, she is in even more danger.

"Inkheart" is a charming fantasy. Cornelia Funke is a gifted writer and readers will be instantly drawn into Meggie's world. The premise of being able to read characters out of books is an intriguing one and Funke utilizes it fully. The characters are well written: Meggie is an engaging heroine; Mo is a loving, if somewhat unreliable father; Elinor is better at dealing with books than people, but grows as a character as the book moves along. Dustfinger is perhaps the most interesting and human character, he is neither totally good nor bad, but, read into the "real" world he longs to return to the world of "Inkheart" and will do anything, even betray his friends, to achieve that goal.

"Inkheart" does have some flaws. One flaw is it's length, at 534 pages the size of the book may put off young readers and those that start it may lose interest along the way. Funke could easily have cut out some minor characters and scenes (Tinker Bell was especially annoying). Also, although Mo reads characters into stories as he is reading characters out of them, Funke seems to forget that at times and uses it only when it is needed as a plot device. Finally, a character that is mute is suddenly able to scream, a development that pulled me right out of the story.

Those minor points aside, "Inkheart" is a wonderful fantasy for young and old alike.
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LibraryThing member melydia
Meggie lives with her father Mo, a gifted bookbinder. One night, a stranger named Dustfinger appears at her window, prompting Mo and Meggie to flee to the home of Elinor, a bibliophile of the highest order. This is a story for storylovers, for people who wish they could bring books to life outside
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their imaginations. Though the pacing is arguably a touch slow at first, the characters are charming and I had fun not quite knowing whom to trust. I look forward to the rest of the trilogy.
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LibraryThing member bcquinnsmom
No spoilers; just a brief synopsis!

I actually picked this book up because I had come across it when I was doing research on books to use to teach a fantasy unit for 4th-6th graders for Language Arts. My idea was to find books where an ordinary child (or children) come across something in their home
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or other normal environment that transports them into an alternate reality, where they have to come up with solutions that fit within the context of their magical reality. The more I researched, the more often this book came up and so I bought a copy at Borders and started reading it. Well, to my very great surprise, I fell in love with the story on its own merits, not just as something I thought would fit in my teaching plan. Oh my gosh! You absolutely MUST read this book, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who not only is a wide-ranging reader, but to people who just have a deep abiding love for books. If you like fantasy, or children's literature, you'll really enjoy this one!

The story begins one night when Meggie and her Dad Mo are hanging out in their home, which has books everywhere, in piles, on shelves, in every room (kind of like my house, I'm sad to say). Both Meggie and Mo love books and they love the written word, and they read every subject imaginable. Mo is a "book doctor," meaning that he rescues books in very bad shape and this is how he makes his living. Meggie's mother disappeared one night when Meggie was 3, so Mo and her books are her entire life. Well, on this night, Mo has a strange visitor, and Meggie is sent very abruptly to bed, which is highly unusual. But she listens to the conversation between Mo and his friend, Dustfinger, as Dustfinger tells Mo that someone is looking for him and will stop at nothing to find him. He warns Mo that he must leave because the someone looking for him is getting close and that Mo is in danger. So Mo takes Meggie away, and Meggie notices that among the few things Mo takes with him is a book all wrapped up in paper. They leave immediately for Meggie's great-aunt Elinor's home, in Italy. Elinor is also a lover of books, and has been collecting them for years and stores them in her home which is mostly nothing but a library. But during the night, Mo has to leave, and takes away the book (or what he thinks is the book). Meggie is crushed, and is determined to find her father. She plans to run away from Elinor, but Elinor hears her and Meggie realizes that Mo has taken the wrong book. So she and Elinor take the book and along with Dustfinger, who just happens to turn up, to find Mo. What they find is an impossible situation, including the most evil villain I've ever come across in a children's book. This is Capricorn, and he has a heart as black as the darkest ink. He wants the book that Meggie and Elinor have, which is called Inkheart. I won't say why, but I will say that the rest of the book was filled with the best kind of adventure and magic I haven't seen since the Harry Potter series (which I absolutely love).

There were times in this book that I was so tense wondering what was going to happen next, that I couldn't put it down. I loved Meggie, Mo and Elinor, and I'm really grateful that this is part of a planned trilogy so that I get to read more about them. The characters are incredibly vivid and lifelike, and the story telling is itself magical. Cornelia Funke is a very talented and gifted writer and I am planning on picking up her other children's books as well.

HIGHLY recommended; don't miss this one!
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
Meggie's father never reads aloud to her. He loves books and has encouraged her to love books, teaching her to read at age 3, but he never reads her stories. He makes up stories to tell her, but never reads aloud from a book. This will be explained during the next month of her life. A month with
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more terror and excitement and wonder than she thought could happen in this life.
I enjoyed this story. The concept and imagination is delightful, especially to anyone who loves books. I did get a little fed up with the density of the good guys, but the adventure made up for that, keeping me up until 2:30am to finish the book.
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LibraryThing member viviandoughty
This story has a very interesting premise. While reading aloud, a man is besieged by the characters from the story as they literally pop out of the book and land in his living room, sweeping he and his daughter into the story. Sounds fantastic as it is supposed to contain fantasy, magic, and
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adventure. Problem is, once the evil characaters pop out of the book, they are just evil people hiding around a normal community that is completely unaware of their existence. The fantasy element really doesn't exist much. As for the magic, I rarely see examples of that in the book. The book contains some monotonous attempt at adventure as the family pursues after/prevails in finding and protecting the book from which the evil characters escaped (i.e. by finding it's author). My Middle School students have struggled with this book. Many give up and say it is not interesting enough to finish. The interesting/captivating moments have been wrapped too far in overly verbose text which distort the story and it's images.
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