I remember the first time I encountered the story of Inkheart: my father and I had just moved into a new apartment in Dallas, and we rented the DVD (do people still do that anymore?) since we hadn’t unpacked our movies yet. It was a fun movie (thank you, Brendan Fraser) and years later I finally found the time to read the book.
Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy (Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath) follow Mo and his daughter Meggie on their adventures with characters from a book known as “Inkheart,” first in their world, and later in the “Inkworld” itself. The catch? Both father and daughter can “read” books to life!
That premise alone is most intriguing part of the story: being able to read aloud, and the words in a book come true. It’s every booklover’s secret wish. Of course, as the story goes on and the twists get darker and darker, you see very clearly that you must be careful what you wish for. A subtle lesson can be found tucked within these lengthy pages: as much as man might desire to try, there’s only one person who can speak words into being without disastrous consequences, and that’s God.
I will say, I was mildly disappointed in these books. Each book is quite thick (over 500 pages each in paperback), yet the books felt very long compared to the actual plot. I felt like I spent most of the series just waiting for something to happen. And speaking of waiting, the main characters seemed to spend more time being captured or imprisoned than any other heroes I’ve ever met!
On the plus side, those same characters (and especially the villains) were very well-fleshed out. There’s also a lot of imagery and scene-building, which probably explains why the story felt slow – maybe not much was happening, but you could picture it really well XD. And something I really enjoyed that was rather unique to these novels were the quotes from other books that the author placed at the beginning of every chapter, setting the tone for what was about to happen. I was especially excited to see lines quoted from books I’d already read ;-).
Including quotes from other places isn’t a new concept in books; though, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used quite as frequently as here in Inkheart. And with one per chapter and 50 chapters or more per book, that’s a lot of quotes! So far, the lines I include at the start of my novels are actually ones I’ve written myself – and I’m happy to continue that pattern, as long as I have inspiration to do so. However, I have been known to quote other novels within the text of the story itself. Look for superscript numbers (corresponding to the endnotes page) in my books to see what other stories I think are worth quoting!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.