Size: 535 pages
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: June 1, 2005
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in Inkheart Trilogy
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
This is the first book in the Inkheart Trilogy by Funke. I have enjoyed previous books by Funke including The Thief Lord, The Dragon Rider, and Reckless. So, I was excited to read this book. I listened to this on audio and the audio book is exceedingly well done and was a joy to listen to.
Maggie lives with her father who is a bookbinder and she absolutely adores books. Then one night a mysterious visitor arrives named Dustfinger. Dustfinger tells Maggie’s father that Capricorn is looking for the Book. Maggie doesn’t know what book but when her and her father suddenly have to leave on a mysterious trip, Maggie thinks it must be related to Dustfinger’s visit. Suddenly Maggie is being drawn in to things more dangerous, more magical, and more heart-breaking than anything she has previously dealt with. Maggie will have to be resourceful and brave if she is to combat evil and save the world from an even greater evil.
This is a very well written book. I enjoyed the writing style and loved the way Funke’s descriptions really make the world come alive for the reader. The bad guys are definitely evil and idea of a book literally coming alive as it is read from is interesting, if not completely original.
The characters are okay. They are all very human and easy to relate to. I was a bit disappointed that they weren’t more proactive. For much of the book Maggie, her father, and Eleanor let Capricorn and his men push them around, constantly dictating what they would do. Maggie in particular acts young for her 12-13 years of age. Maggie spends a lot of time whining and bemoaning the fact that she can’t help; she is really dependent on her father and has trouble taking action herself. I just felt that she was acting more like an 8 or 9 year old than a pre-teen and that bothered me. None of the characters are particularly likable; for the most part they are selfish. Even Maggie’s father is willing to set aside Maggie’s well-being if it means he gets what he’s been longing for, and that is just not very admirable.
This book is probably aimed at a bit older crowd, more young adult, than middle grade. I was hoping for a middle grade fantasy I could read with my son. At points though this book talks about torture, cutting people up with knives, burning people with fire; sexual abuse of the females in Capricorn’s village is implied if never discussed in detail. Definitely not something I would read to a younger child. For the most part the book is very dark in tone and very scary at points. It is not a magic scary, but a people killing each other in the real world kind of scary.
My other complaint is the plot. I expected it to be more magical, there is some magic here but not much. Most of the book is escape and capture scenarios repeated over and over. First they are captured, they escape, they are captured, they escape…it was all very predictable.
The book ends well with the major plot points wrapped up. I enjoyed how things were resolved in the end and, while the end is fairly predictable, it was well done. They are a few questions that remain unanswered, which I assume will be the story told in the second book Inkspell.
Overall this was a well written book with wonderful descriptions; the writing style is wonderful and really top notch. The characters weren’t my favorite, I especially thought Maggie was a bit immature for her age. It is too dark of a book to read with younger children. The plot was fairly predictable but the idea of things coming alive from a book is a fun one. I am on the fence right now as to whether or not I will read the next book Inkspell. I own both Inkspell and Inkdeath, but I was really hoping for more magic and more of a middle grade level read, so I am not sure whether I will continue reading this or not.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– 100+ Reading Challenge