Have you ever wished for your favorite storybook characters to jump out of the ‘book world’ into your bedroom? What if your wish came true? How lovely would it be if Cinderella climbed out of the storybook and sat next to you sipping cocoa! How lovely would it be if Aurora and the seven dwarfs came to your house to help you with the kitchen work! How lovely would it be if Harry Potter arrived at your house with his invisibility cloak- wouldn’t it be fun for you to hide from your parents and get chocolates!
What if the evil stepmother popped out of the storybook right after Cinderella! What if the evil queen followed Aurora with one of her poison apples! What if Lord Voldemort sprung out of the book pages on his magic broom bellowing Avada Kedavra! How terrible would that be! Things won’t seem as lovely as before now, would they? Chaos would reign everywhere, your bedroom would become a battleground, and you would now be a part of the adventure, the mystery, and the peril. Ohhhhh! Wouldn’t you wish now for your wish not to have come true? But, alas! It would be too late!
Do I hear a giggle? Are you giggling thinking this can never happen to anyone? Characters can never come out of a book. But guess what, they did come out! Are you wondering where? Here is your answer: In Inkheart!
Title: Inkheart (Inkworld- 1)
Author: Cornealia Funke
Publisher: Scholastic Chicken House
Publishing Date: 23rd September, 2003
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
From Goodreads: 12 year-old Meggie lives with her father, Mortimer, a bookbinder. Mo never reads stories aloud to Meggie because he has a special gift: when he reads a book aloud, the characters come out of the book and into the real world.
One night, when Meggie was a small child, Mortimer was reading aloud from a book named Inkheart when an evil villain named Capricorn, his aide Basta, and a fire-eater named Dustfinger escape from the book and into their living room. At the same time, Mo’s wife Resa gets trapped within the book .
Twelve years later, Capricorn is on a hunt to find and destroy all copies of Inkheart and use Mo’s abilities to gain more power for himself in the real world. Meggie discovers her father’s secret and, along with the help of Dustfinger and Meggie’s eccentric aunt Elinor, fights to free her father and destroy Capricorn.
Originally written in German by acclaimed German writer Cornelia Funke, Inkheart is a book about a book named ‘Inkheart’. I didn’t know about this book’s existence until I had seen the movie Inkheart. The movie had enthralled me and I had loved it a lot. It was a visual treat with a very exciting plot. Most times, I find the book version of a movie far more appealing and enjoyable than the movie itself, and hence, after watching Inkheart I just couldn’t wait to immerse myself in the world of such a fascinating premise- a world where people (who are known as ‘silvertongue’) can bring storybook characters to life by reading them aloud. How promising does that sound! Inkheart does deliver some of its promises, but unfortunately, not all of its promises and left me feeling a bit disappointed.
The best bit about Inkheart is its fabulous theme- the story of 12-year old Meggie and her father Mo, who can bring storybook characters to life by reading them aloud. Though, Mo’s gift may seem a blessing, it is actually a curse in disguise as Mo’s reading can fetch both the good guys and the bad guys from the stories. Hence, when Mo reads aloud there is no saying whether the heroes/heroines will appear or the villains. Further adding to this unfortunate gift is the fact that when someone comes out of a story, someone from our world is transferred into the story world. This sets for a really appealing theme, which sadly wasn’t well executed in the storyline.
The other good feature of Inkheart is its cast of characters whom I found very interesting. I was especially taken in by Elinor’s character who is portrayed as a very versatile woman and I believe her character is fleshed out very well in the story. I was also intrigued by the storybook characters, especially Dustfinger and Capricorn, their mysterious past and their hidden virtues and vices, which are known only to the author of ‘Inkheart’ – Fenoglio.
On the downside, the writing style of Inkheart may seem unrefined, which I suppose is due to translation issues. There is a fair amount of chance that the original book in German reads much better than the English version. Now, the most important flaws in the book, which make the great theme fall flat is the sheer lack of excitement, complete lack of cliffhangers and a really long-winded story. I was immensely let down to find that the plotline of the movie version of Inkheart is quite different from that of the book version. The movie Inkheart is quite exciting, but, the book severely lacks exciting events, action, and cliffhanger moments. Adding to the distress of the readers is the really dragged on story.
One word which came to my mind several times while reading Inkheart was ‘Boring’. Yes, I was bored. By the time I had finished reading, I just couldn’t believe how a book with such a great premise and interesting set of characters could turn out so boring. The disappointment I have felt after reading Inkheart has refrained me from reading the other books in the series- Inkworld. In conclusion, ‘Inkheart’ is set in a great premise, which will entice readers for sure, but, might not delight them.