Review: Reckless

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: RecklessReckless by Cornelia Funke
Series: Mirrorworld #1
on September 14, 2010
Genres: Adventure, Alternate Universe, Fairy Tales
Pages: 391
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father's abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He's also made many enemies and allies--most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.

But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl--a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.

Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell--before it's too late.

When I started this book, I knew absolutely nothing about it, except that it was by Cornelia Funke. Mine is actually a signed copy! Much like with Inkheart, you can since Cornelia’s true love of the written world, although here the character escapes into the world populated by fairy tale characters rather than bringing book characters into the real world. Also much like Inkheart, the book is very dark. None of the characters come through as shining examples of humanity; no one is perfect.

The story is interesting, and, I suspect, not over. The ending felt a bit abrupt, so I rather hope there is more to come. If it ends as is, I warn that it is not an entirely happy ending. The fairy tale world is populated with terrifying creatures from fairy tales, more of the original Grimm brothers’ sort than Disney’s sweet, happy kinds. This book, unlike her others, is not for children or, at least, it has not been written with them in mind. Although I believe it is being marketed to schools anyway, this book seems in a lot of ways best for adults or old teens.

The main weakness of the book for me lay in some of the construction. Funke chose to use an omniscient third person narrative. Although the character most closely followed is Jacob, other characters have chapters from what is essentially their perspective. There are frequent interjections in italics, which represent the thoughts of a certain character. Since she shows the thoughts of many of the characters at various points, she has to clarify which character is meant by including the name of the character in question each time. This means that every couple of pages there will be a thought like this one: “Impatience, Jacob. Say it as it is. After all, it’s one of your most prominent character traits.” The repetition of the name in the thoughts becomes extremely obnoxious. Yes, one occasionally throws one’s name into a self-admonition, but not anywhere near this often. This could have been better constructed.

Still recommended despite a few flaws. Cornelia Funke’s books are well-worth the time to read them.

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