Monday, November 1, 2010

Reckless by Cornelia Funke



RECKLESS, BY CORNELIA FUNKE  published August 2010 
394 pages   Overall Rating: 4/5

If you're looking for happily ever after, you've come to the wrong place.

Quick Synopsis: For years, Jacob Reckless has been secretly disappearing to another world, a world behind a mirror, a world for which his father abandoned his family. The mirror world is Jacob's escape from reality. It's a place for treasure hunts and magnificent quests. A world where witches haunt the forests and giants and dwarfs roam. A world locked in a deadly war.
Jacob's secret seems safe, until one day his younger brother Will follows him, with disastrous consequence. Faced with a curse that is quickly turning Will to stone, the Reckless brothers are thrust into a race against time to find a cure before Will is lost forever. 

 Cornelia Funke has been one of my favorite authors for years-- I still have the worn-out copy of Inkheart that I bought with my allowance money when I was nine.  So the news that she would be releasing a new novel-- the first in a series, no less-- for a somewhat older audience had me counting down to the release date.   
 Reckless does not disappoint.  The world Funke has created in her latest book is at first strikingly similar to the world of her Inkheart trilogy, the major difference being that this world is entered through the surface of a mirror rather than the pages of a book.  What amazes me, when I was a kid first falling in love with fantasy and now, when I've read about hundreds of fantasy worlds, is her ability to create characters and creatures that are nothing close to anything anybody else has thought of.  In Reckless, Funke does it again: she introduces us to the Goyle, a race of people made of stone, a hauntingly bizarre creature known only as the Tailor, and a race of faeries who seem set to defy current stereotypes.  
That said, the world of Reckless is so complex that it tends to leave readers wanting, and maybe a little confused.  My biggest peeve with the story is that it centers on 24-year old Jacob Reckless's journey through the Mirrorworld to save his brother Will from becoming a human Goyle-- stone man.  Yet Jacob first entered the Mirrorworld twelve years ago, as told in the Prologue.  I wanted to know more about Jacob's adventures when he was younger, how he became a renowned thief and adventurer in his new-found world and how he first met Fox-- the shapeshifter girl who accompanies him on his travels and who so often wears her vulpine pelt that she's nearly forgotten what it's like to be human.  Fox is definitely the most intriguing character in the book, and there already seems to be a triangle forming with her, Jacob, and Clare-- Will's girlfriend-- on the different angles.  Reckless is largely a plot-driven novel, with a story that would make a brilliant bedtime story were it not for the creepiness of the creatures, and I guess, a few mature themes.  It's definitely written for an older audience than Funke's other books-- Inkheart, Thief Lord, Dragon Rider, etc.  The prose is lovely as ever...reading books-in-translation always makes me wonder if the original novel is so beautifully-written, or if that's the work of the translator?  Either way, I can hardly wait for the yet-untitled sequel.
Altogether Reckless is an engrossing read, the sort of book you tear through in as few sittings as possible, only taking little breaks from the building suspense and intriguing story-world only to admire Funke's beautiful pencil illustrations arching over the frequent chapter titles.   

1 comment:

Carmel said...

Great review! The characters in this novel sounds very interesting. I might just have to check it out! Thanks.

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