Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Inkheart Series

Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath - all by Cornelia Funke

I love this series, though my relationship with it has been rather frustrating. I must admit when I first read Inkheart I was a little taken aback by how violent some of the characters were. I thought it was a little much for a children’s book. Obviously, this was before my time as a teen librarian and I was still thinking of the young innocent books written by Beverly Cleary. When Inkspell was released, I was thrilled – until I got to the end and realized that story still wasn’t finished. Somehow, I had missed that it was a trilogy. You would think knowing there was more to the story would have made such a bookworm as myself very happy. It just caught me by surprise. Then the American release of the final book, Inkdeath, was delayed and I seriously considered learning how to read German just so I could continue the story.

This is one of those stories that reaches out and pulls the reader in . . .

Actually, that’s just what happens in the story. Characters are read into and out of the story. In light of that you might not want to listen to the book on audio. Just imagine driving down the street listening to the story and all of a sudden in you are literally in a different world and who knows what happens to your car. What a talent to have – to have a voice that carries people away to other worlds. Still, my dream is to have the gift of weaving the tale that creates that world. Ok, I won’t start getting maudlin about my unrealized dreams of being a writer.

This series has everything that children and young adults enjoy in a fantasy: magical creatures, rogues with a heart of gold; good versus evil and plenty of adventure.

It takes a while to get into the final installment in this series. But it's worth it. What I like is that Funke did not take the easy way to get to the ending. And though I've never been talented enough to write a book (at least not since the 8th grade – yeah we’re back to that dream again), I think many authors must have the same challenge that Fenoglio experiences - a story that keeps trying to take over its own destiny. It’s that uncertainty about where the story is headed that keeps the reader on the edge of the seat. You’re hopeful about the ending, but you’re never quite sure. I won’t tell you – you have to read it for yourself.

And yes, the movie version of Inkheart will be released on January 23rd. Though I’ll probably regret it, I plan to be there in the theater with hundreds of eager young readers. I can’t help it. I want to see how my mind movie compares to the Hollywood version.

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