Audiobook Review: Fearless by Cornelia Funke

Audiobook Review: Fearless by Cornelia FunkeFearless by Cornelia Funke
Narrator: Elliot Hill
Length: 10 hrs, 1 min
Series: Mirrorworld #2
Published by Listening Library on April 2, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Fairy Tales, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

After saving his brother, Jacob Reckless faces death from the fairy's curse burnt into his heart. In search of a cure, he returns to the Mirrorworld where he is reunited with Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting girl. He has one more chance: a golden crossbow with the power to save and destroy life, buried in a dead king's tomb, beneath an invisible palace. Jacob must cross continents,face monsters and men, including a dangerous rival, and learn what it means to stay alive.

Cornelia Funke is one of those authors where I decided she was a favorite author because I loved the first two of her books I read, Inkheart and The Thief Lord. Further reading, however, has revealed that maybe I don’t love her books as much as I thought. I mean, I still think she’s talented, but my more recent experiences with her have very much been cases where they’re not the ideal books for me personally, being much more focused on world building and plot than on characterization.

World building’s important and I am all about having it in my books, only with heaps of characterization to make me care about what’s happening in the world. Anyway, the world building in Fearless is pretty freaking cool. So basically there are these brothers with the last name Reckless and in the first book, they discovered that this one mirror in their house was a doorway to this fantasy kingdom where every fairy tale ever was running amok.

Only the fairy tales aren’t quite the ones we know; they’re similar, but sort of like they were run through a game of telephone or, you know, the oral tradition and ended up changed. For example, Funke has this totally awesome and creeptastic change to the Bluebeard legend. In Fearless, Bluebeards are these serial killer-y dudes, who literally have blue beards, so when they go hunting for women they go about clean-shaven. However, rather than marrying the women, they take them into the red room and milk their fear, which they then consume because it gives them long life.  So incredibly terrifying.

Now, I don’t remember much of anything about the first book, Reckless, though I definitely read every page, since I read it aloud to my parents on a road trip. Apparently, Jacob, the eldest brother, pissed off a fairy and she cursed him by putting this moth on his heart and it’s consuming his heart bite by bite. He has until it finishes eating his heart to figure out a way to not die. He and Fox, a girl who can also change into a vixen, are on this massive treasure hunt for some dude’s body parts so they can get a crossbow and shoot Jacob with it because apparently that’s the last ditch chance for a cure because reasons. By the way, the younger brother basically isn’t in this one at all.

All of that stuff is pretty cool, but the thing is that I did not really care about anyone. Jacob and Fox aren’t particularly well characterized. I mean, they’re both, Jacob especially, amazing at everything. Jacob’s the best treasure hunter in the kingdom and he’s clever. Fox is super pretty and she’s really fast, but also mostly left to be weak in comparison to Jacob because gender roles I guess. Also, the pacing of the story made it a bit hard to be concerned. Before this frantic search for a cure, he was apparently treasure hunting for like a decade, so clearly he’s not that concerned about his survival.

The audiobook proved a good method for reading Fearless because Elliot Hill happens to be British, and you know how I feel about British accents. His narration was pleasing and I think that it was easier for me to not feel bored by the story in the audiobook format. Also, certain stories are meant to be read aloud, and fairy tales are one of those, because it hearkens back to the original oral tradition. That’s the scholarly reason I enjoyed this audiobook, but, honestly, it was mostly about the accent.

Readers who really enjoyed Reckless will likely be similarly charmed by Funke’s Fearless. Even if, like me, the lack of characterization disappoints you, there might be enough cool world building to make continuing with the series worthwhile.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

slow nod
I’m sort of nodding yes to this because pretty, but also I’m kinda bored.

2 responses to “Audiobook Review: Fearless by Cornelia Funke”

  1. Thelma V. says:

    I just finish the first book in this serie and I totally agree with you : the characterization is the weakest part. But the world building is really cool, so if there is new cool monster in this one I might read it.
    So thank you for the review, now I know what to expect!
    (And sorry for the mistakes in my comment but I’m french so my english is not great…)

  2. This commentary is a cool find for me.

    My reaction to Funke was exactly this– Let’s read more!


    Only I hadn’t put my finger on its being about the characterization deficit, so thanks for that tidbit.
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