Review: Inkspell

“Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?” Mo had said…”As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells…and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower…both strange and familiar.” Cornelia Funke

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
635 pages
Published by Scholastic, 2005
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Re-readability: I hope to come back to this series in a few years.
Reviewed by Indiana

Inkspell is an enchanting follow-up to Inkheart, with perhaps a darker plot and more twists and turns than the latter.

It picks up shortly after Resa, Meggie’s mom, has returned to our world. Meggie, Resa and Mo are living like a mostly happy family at Aunt Elinor’s house, which, with its stacks upon stacks of books, would be any booklover’s dream home. Even with all the wonderful books around her, Meggie can only think about Inkheart and how much she yearns to go there, even with the terrors that Resa has recounted from her time there.

She and Farid find a way there, however, things don’t entirely go as planned, and before too long, Basta and Mortola (remember those two lovelies?) are back and trying to go after Meggie, Mo and Resa, trying to make them bring back Capricorn from the dead with their ability to read people in and out of books. Dustfinger, meanwhile, is just trying to get back to life in Inkheart and the family he had there, when Farid comes bearing news that Basta is coming for Dustfinger as well. Thus, he gets swept up in their story again, only a few pages after leaving it.

Inkspell introduces characters that Inkheart only piqued our interest in, like Roxanne, Dustfinger’s partner, along with the Motley Folk, the troupe of performers and storytellers that Dustfinger used to travel with, performing great feats with fire.
We finally get a good look at the world of Inkheart, from the Wayless Woods to the Castle of Ombra. It’s a rich world, both in terms of history and characters and we also get to know its “creator,” Fenoglio a bit more. Even though he’s not an incredibly admirable character, he was one of my favorites, especially as the story goes on and things start to go beyond his control in his own world. I’d like to think that Cornelia Funke herself felt that way when she wrote the story. Or maybe she was just having a laugh, poking fun at the life of an author.

Inkspell brings the concept of immortality into the story, well, I should say that Fenoglio literally writes that in. It was the only part of the book that I struggled to believe, or to get behind. However, I was rewarded when the true writer, Funke righted the plot, revealing the pitfalls of such a concept within the context of a story.

Even coming in at over 600 pages, the plot never overstayed its welcome and I’m already looking forward to reading the final book in the series, Inkdeath.

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