"Fear tastes quite different when you're not just reading about it, Meggie, and playing hero wasn't half as much fun as I'd expected.
After absolutely falling in love with the movie adaptation of this novel (and having it practically memorized), I figured it was about time to read this book. I was absolutely certain I would fall in love with it immediately, and that's probably why it took me so long to finally put it off of my "to be read" shelf and finally read it. I even made sure I had all three books in the trilogy before starting the first, because I was certain I would enjoy the first so much that I wouldn't have much patience for tracking down the sequels.
I wasn't wrong.
When Meggie spots a stranger outside her window in the middle of the night, her first instinct is to run to her father for security, but she soon finds herself realizing that he's keeping something from her. When the stranger warns of a man named Capricorn and they rush to the south of Italy to take refuge with her aunt, Meggie soon realizes that the world is a much more dangerous place than she could have ever imagined. And the secrets her father has kept from her have the power to change her world forever.
It's not long before she learns what he's been keeping from her. It seems that Mo, Meggie's father, has a special gift--the unique power to draw items and even characters from the pages of a book simply by reading aloud. However, he cannot control this gift. He cannot choose who or what comes or even goes. This makes his power dangerous, far more dangerous than it's worth, and that is the reason Meggie's father never read to her. It was far too risky.
Despite this, Mo has been hunted by Capricorn and Basta, two of the thugs he drew out of a book called Inkheart when Meggie was a child along with a third character named Dustfinger. Mo has also tried to evade Dustfinger, but with much less luck and it is he whom Meggie sees standing outside her window when the book begins. Now Capricorn is closer than ever before and he'll stop at nothing to capture Mo and get his hands on the the last copy of Inkheart, which Mo has, until now, kept safely hidden.
This book was absolutely wonderful. I cannot get over how much I deeply enjoyed it. Throughout its pages, books are celebrated and the three main characters (Meggie, Mo, and Meggie's Aunt Elinor) have a deep love for them that I can entirely identify with. Each chapter even begins with a quote from a book that fits what occurs in the chapter (and ended up causing me to add quite a few books to my "to be read" list).
The storytelling and the plot are extremely well-written and the book itself is rich with fantasy and beauty. Experiencing Mo's gift, Dustfinger's despair, and Capricorn's evil alongside the characters was captivating and the vivid way in which Cornelia Funke describes her characters and their emotions can't help but draw you in.
I would highly suggest this to anyone, young or old. It's a fantastic story . . . one that should be read widely and often. I can already tell that this series could easily be one of the gateway sort for those who aren't really fans of reading just yet. Much like J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, this one will draw you in and show the reader exactly why reading is so absolutely imperative--that stories have a power all their own.
"Is there anything in the world better than words on the page? Magic signs, the voices of the dead, building blocks to make wonderful worlds better than this one, comforters, companions in loneliness. Keepers of secrets, speakers of truth . . . all those glorious words."