I got a copy an advanced reading copy of this book through bookitforwardtours. I have previously read Funke’s Dragon Rider (liked it a lot) and Thief Lord (thought it was okay). I have her Inkheart series to read but haven’t read it yet. So I was eager to read something new from her. This was a good book, I think it was darker than her other books and meant for a more mature audience (young adult vs. children). Those who like books dealing with fairy tales will love this one.
When Jacob Reckless was a boy he found a mirror that could take him to another world; a world he grew to prefer to his own. Now he is older and this time, his brother Will follows him through the mirror. But something horrible happens and Will is injured in an awful way. Jacob starts on a relentless search through this fairy world to find a way to make his brother Will better and to keep Will from becoming the very enemy Jacob fights.
This book is darker than the previous Funke books I have read. More at a young adult level than a children’s level. The other world that Jacob enters through the mirror is a world at war and is the embodiment of many dark fairy tales. There are many dangers in this other world, and the characters are forced to face many of them.
Funke does an excellent job describing and creating this world based on fairy tales. She does a good job making it realistic and keeping the pace of the book fast. There is a lot of adventure and fighting in here, as well as some politics to be dealt with. I love fairy tale retellings and enjoyed all the references throughout the book to various fairy tales.
Where I thought the book was lacking was in characterization. Jacob you can understand, but he is not a likable character at all. I never really felt like I sympathized with him and the hard decisions he had to make; but he was interesting. Fox, Jacob’s companion, was a much better character. I really felt for her and liked her the best of all of the characters in this book. My biggest problem characters were Will and Clara (Will’s girlfriend); neither of these character ever seemed to gain life in the story, they are pretty two dimensional…almost like paper cutouts moving through the plot.
The main point of the story is wrapped up well, but there are a lot of little threads left dangling…I am guessing we can expect a sequel to this book.
Overall I enjoyed the story. I think people who like dark fairy tale retellings will enjoy the mish-mash of fairy tale references throughout. The book is darker than the previous Funke novels I have read. The world is wonderful and the adventure non-stop. The characters are a bit weak though, you never really are drawn to them all that much. I liked it enough that if a sequel is written I will probably get it and read it.