It’s too bad this book series lives in relative anonymity. It was written like six-ish years ago by Cornelia Funke, a German children’s author. I’ve read her other work, and it’ s only Inkheart that I read and never think, “This is a children’s book.” Inkheart might be classified as a children’s book, but reading it as a child and reading it again now that I’m older I notice no difference in how I process it. It’s a totally original idea, and as the book jacket challenges, I want to “dare to read it aloud.” My kids will hear this gospel.
Inkheart begins with twelve-year-old Meggie on a rainy night. Meggie lives with her father, “book doctor” Mortimer “Mo” Folchart, who binds and restores books for a living. Meggie glances outside and gets as shock when she sees a stranger standing outside in the rain. She runs to get Mo, who automatically recognizes the man. He invites the man, who he calls Dustfinger, in, and promptly sends Meggie to bed, much to her infuriation. She wants to know why he calls her father Silvertongue. why he remarks she’s grown, and why Mo looks so alarmed.
Eavesdropping, Meggie learns a man called Capricorn wants something from Mo that Mo insists he will never have. Dustfinger is undeterred that Capricorn will eventually find them and they can’t run forever. Mo agrees, but the next day he and Meggie leave before dawn, only to find Dustfinger waiting for them.
Dustfinger tells Meggie to ask her father why he has never read aloud to her, and Mo dodges her. The three travel to Meggie’s aunt’s house, Elinor Loredan, who loves books obsessively. Dustfinger betrays Mo, and Capricorn’s men come for him and what he has tried so desperately to protect: a book. An extremely rare book, called Inkheart. Meggie and Elinor hide, but Mo and what the men think is the right book are gone in minutes.
Meggie, a repetent Dustfinger,and a guilty Elinor set out to swap back the book and rescue Mo, not realizing his talents are so valuable Capricorn will never let him go…
Mo is called Silvertongue for a reason. When Meggie was quite small, he did read to her, to her and her mother. Mo’s voice can pull things from printed words and make them flesh and blood. He can bring the characters of a book into our world. There’s only one catch: if someothing comes out, something goes in. Nine years ago, the last time Mo read aloud, he opened up Inkheart. Capricorn, evil mastermind, his knife-loving henchman Basta, and fire-dancer Dustfinger tumbled into his living room, and his wife, Resa, and their two cats vanished into the Inkworld. Mo cannot bring Resa back, and he cannot return the homesick Dustfinger either.
Now, Capricorn wants Mo to read him his whims, and Meggie is leverage.
Inkheart is well-written, well-plotted, creative, and overall a great read. The sequels are lovely as well. If you’re feeling brave, why don’t you read it aloud? But don’t watch the movie. It’s mediocre. I would love to remake that movie…anyway.
Lindsay’s Verdict: Five Stars.
Author: Cornelia Funke