By Cornelia Funke
Start Date: 2 December 2010
End Date: 4 December 2010
400 pages (Hardcover edition)
Published: September 14, 2010
Age Recommendation: 12+
I was a little reluctant to read this book because I was afraid it’d be a bit too creepy for me, who has relatively low creepiness-tolerance. However, my worries thankfully were not fulfilled, and I devoured this book as quickly as possible.
One thing that bugged me was that Funke dives right in without a lot of back-story. This makes it a little confusing at first, because you don’t really know who any of the characters are or what is happening, but it keeps you (or at least it keeps me) reading, because you understand more with every sentence. But just to clear things up, the main 4 characters are:
Jacob Reckless: Main character. Discovers the Mirrorworld and becomes an adventurer, looking for his father.
Will: Jacob’s brother. Will follows Jacob into the Mirrorworld and gets scratched by a Goyl (a sort of rock-man known for their rages and mercilessness) and begins to become one.
Fox: Jacob’s… companion, I suppose. A girl who spends most of her him in the shape-shifted from of a fox.
Clara: Will’s girlfriend who follows him into the Mirrorworld. She becomes a major character, but I won’t say why.
Anyway, after the initial dive, the story gets much more engaging. Funke’s use of language is inspiring, especially since it was originally written in German and then translated. There were a few parts where I felt like I should be writing some of my favorite phrases down so I wouldn’t forget them. (Frustratingly, I didn’t actually write them down and have by now forgotten them.) The journey is fascinating and easily draws the reader into the Mirrorworld. Another thing that didn’t stand out quite as strongly for me but deserves mention are the fairy tales woven into the plot, many times slightly warped. For example, during the journey, they stay in Sleeping Beauty’s castle, but in the Mirrorworld, the prince never came to wake her. As in that case, the fairy tales of the Mirrorworld, in addition to being real, end quite a bit darker than the fairy tales we all know and love.
However, I was dissatisfied with the ending. It had the quality of an ending written for a sequel, but with the loose ends wrapped up a bit too tightly for a sequel. To me, it feels like an almost-happily-ever-after that should make a good ending but left me wanting more. [UPDATE: I just read that there is a planned sequel, so nevermind about that bit.]
Generally, I felt like the middle was good enough to make up for the less-than-wonderful beginning and ending. Although a bit creepy, it wasn’t nearly as much as I thought it’d be, and to repeat myself, the language was absolutely beautiful.