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The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
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The Neverending Story (original 1985; edition 1997)

by Michael Ende, Ralph Manheim (Translator)

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7,585162450 (4.16)281
Member:tweezle
Title:The Neverending Story
Authors:Michael Ende
Other authors:Ralph Manheim (Translator)
Info:Dutton Juvenile (1997), Edition: Revised, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction

Work details

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (1985)

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    Inkheart and Inkspell by Cornelia Funke (Bitter_Grace)
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    The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren (mybookshelf)
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English (146)  German (4)  Spanish (4)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (162)
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
Like most of my generation, I grew up watching the film adaptation of The Neverending Story. I watched it until it was seared into my memory -- and probably into my mother’s -- and wanted a trip to Fantastica and a Falkor of my very own. Somehow, though, I never read the book.

The other day I plucked it off the shelf on a whim. Sometimes when I read a book after seeing the film or television adaptation, I don’t visualise the adaptation at all, my mental landscape stays composed of my own original images. In this case, I had the characters and the lands from the film in mind, and I think I benefitted from that, because the Fantastica on the screen seems more alive than the Fantastica on the page.

The first half of the book corresponds to the first film, and it is definitely the most powerful part of the story. It has the resonance of fable wrapped up in a beautiful adventure. It’s about the importance of fantasy and imagination to the well-being of the human mind. It’s about the importance of courage, and the fact that bravery doesn’t always look the way we expect it to, that there are different ways to be brave. It’s about grief, and the ways we retreat from it. It’s about identity, about letting go of the old and not fearing the new, about the rebirth and renewal that usually, somehow, comes in the wake of a loss. And it’s about how those things are simple but not easy, and it trusts children to understand them without being heavy-handed.

On the strengths of that first half, I would gladly call it one of the best children’s books of all time. The second half, however, has important things to say too, but it goes about saying them in a much more muddled fashion. At its best, it’s a counterpoint to part one, the dark serpent to the first half’s light. It’s there to remind us that fantasy is there to give wings to who we really are, not to escape from ourselves, that the courage we’ve always dreamed of cannot really exist in the fearless. It’s there to remind us, when we recreate ourselves, not to lose ourselves. It’s there to remind us that grief is something we can come back from.

But it’s also hampered by a terribly plodding pace, a character who cannot be externally challenged by anything and takes too long to face up to the challenge going on inside. The loss of the dual narrative from the first part of the book is also a hindrance, because Bastian isn’t really likeable in this state -- and no, he’s not meant to be -- but the concurrent sidelining of Atreyu and Falkor leaves little in the way of protagonists to relate to for some pages at a time. If you reach the end of the book, you see how the two halves were meant to balance and complement each other, and how the second half strengthens and builds on the themes of the first. It’s just concerning that a lot of children might not get to that point because of the chapters where it commits the cardinal sin for a children’s book: Being boring.

For those of us feigning adulthood in our outward lives, however, it’s one of those stories that is just ageless and timeless, especially if you’re part of the generation for whom the film versions of these characters are so iconic. I think for younger readers this is the sort of book that would ideally be read to them by a parent, for its storybook tone and to help pass the plodding but not pointless second half in a more entertaining fashion, and so that the love of these memorable characters can be shared between generations.

Review from Bookette.net ( )
1 vote Snumpus | Aug 10, 2016 |
Well, having now read the book, I def. don't remember seeing the movie. ?Not excited to, either. ?áNot exceptionally thrilled with the book, either. ?áI mean, I get that it was a smart adventure, with some themes to think about. ?áBut I just never felt vested in it.?á For one thing, in the attack on the Ivory Tower, lots of people lost their lives... just to put Bastion on the way to eventually learning a lesson... that he didn't fully learn anyway. Just curious, those of you reading on e-reader or mm pb, do you have the green vs. purple text? And what's up with the gimmick of the 26 chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet? Maybe I'd have enjoyed this more when I was, say, 12.... ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I'm not sure whether I want to give this book five stars or one. Therefore I settled on three stars.

Almost the entire first part of the book had me prepared to give the book five stars, but then Bastian arrived in Fantastica. Even then, I still thought it was worth at least four stars as Bastian changed his appearance, met Grograman, found Atreyu and Falkor, and started on a quest. The reason why I didn't like this part of the story as well was because of Bastian's lost memories. I didn't like that very well, but I was still enjoying the story.

Then the worst thing that can happen in a story happened; Bastian started to 'shrink' (for lack of a better word for the opposite of character growth.) I know it was the main plot-point for this part of the story, but it's something that I just can't abide. I mean, a few character-growth-slipups are acceptable, but when a main-character's character degenerates as much as Bastian's did (or as much as Katniss did in 'Mockingjay') then the story isn't going anywhere, and the characters become unlikable.

So all-in-all, if the author had kept Bastian growing, or at least not made him shrink, then this book could have gotten four stars at least, and maybe five, but because of that flaw it gets three, and I almost only gave it two. ( )
  NicoleSch | Jun 1, 2016 |

This was one of my favorite movies growing up - and I still love to watch it today. I mean seriously, who doesn't want their own Falkor the Luck Dragon??? If you have kids, I hope that you will encourage them to read this book and watch the movie.

So we have dual protagonists in this story. Initially we meet Sebastian, a ten year old boy who loves to read and make up his own stories. He absconds with a beautiful book titled The Neverending Story from an old book shop and hides away in the attic of the school in shame of his crime and in eagerness to read the book. Sebastian is a bit of an odd duck, and will probably resonate with most of us introverts that had a bit of a nerdy side. He gets bullied for being chubby and talking to himself. He is feeling somewhat abandoned and unwanted at home, his dad is lost in grief over his wife's death. So Sebastian escapes into books and fantastical worlds - as many of us bibliophiles are wont to do.

Sebastian is sucked into the book, quite literally. While Bastian is reading about Atreju and his quest to save the Childlike Empress from being consumed by The Nothing, we start to see signs that Bastian is more than just a passive participant in the story. I loved Atréju and his beautiful horse, Artax... and those dang Swamps of Sadness kill me every time. This first part of the story dealing with Atréju's quest was my favorite, and is also the subject of the first movie. I never saw the second movie, so Bastian traveling to and remaking Fantastica was all new to me. I loved that Fantastica was the land of dreams and fantasies, the landscape ever changing. The beasts and beings of Fantastica were as wonderful and varied as the landscape, and both really got my imagination churning.

There are several moral lessons to be learned by Bastian and the reader, including the latter part of the book where Bastian is struggling with whom to trust and often making the wrong choice. While it is clear to the reader who is good or evil, Bastian was too ensconced in making wishes to make objective evaluations. He ends up betraying a friend and falling subject to the plans of evil sorceress Xayide. By the end, Bastian has come full circle, returning to his father and owning up to his theft of the book from Mr. Coreander. I am glad that I took the time to finally read this fantasy classic, and now plan to order the movies and reminisce about the good ol' days.

The book did start to drag in the second half... I think because you don't realize how long it actually is when you start reading. At 14 hours, I realized why the story was split in two for the movies. While I don't think anything could replace the original film, I would love to see this movie remade today with all the newer technology and CGI capabilities.

( )
  Bambi_Unbridled | May 28, 2016 |
The book centers on a boy, Bastian Balthazar Bux, who meets a man who owns an antique book store. Bastian steals a book from the store called The Neverending Story, which he reads and soon becomes a part of.

The book begins in Fantastica (Phantásien in the German novels; Fantasia in the films), when a "will-o'-the-wisp" goes to ask the Childlike Empress for help against the Nothing, which is spreading over the land. The Empress is ill, which is believed to be the cause of the Nothing (or viceversa); she sends the only person that can stop the Nothing, a boy warrior named Atreyu, to find a cure for her. Atreyu is a brave person, being considered a man even though he is a young boy of Bastian's age.

While on his quest, Atreyu meets characters such as Benjamin, Uyulala, and the gnomes Urgl and Engywook. Atreyu also meets Falkor, the luckdragon, who helped him along the way. After Falkor accidentally drops Atreyu in Spook City, Atreyu meets G'mork the werewolf, who has been following Atreyu since the early days of his quest, intending to kill him. G'mork soon dies; Falkor and Atreyu leave Spook City to find the Ivory Tower, where the Childlike Empress lives. The Childlike Empress reveals that the only thing that can save Fantastica is a human child, who must give her a new name to start again the cycle of life in Fantastica.

Bastian comes to Fantastica by naming the Empress 'Moon Child'; she asks him to help re-build Fantastica with his imagination, and he subsequently has many adventures of his own in his new world. With the help of the Auryn, a Gem that links him to the Empress, that gives him power over all the inhabitants of Fantastica and grants all of the boy's wishes, Bastian explores the Desert of Colors, battles the evil Xayide, and meets the three Deep Thinkers. Bastian becomes friends with Atreyu, although their rivalry leads to a fight in which Atreyu is wounded. Bastian thereafter is corrupted by Xayide, who drives him to a lust for power. He is defeated in his attempt to start a coup d'état against the Childlike Empress. Bastian is unaware that every wish he makes takes away one of his memories, until it is very late and he no longer remembers anything of his past.

Eventually, Atreyu helps him, and Bastian then learns the true meaning of his mission with the Auryn. After he returns home, he decides to return the book to its owner, Carl Conrad Coreander, but the book disappears after Bastian returns from Fantastica. He explains this to Carl Conrad Coreander, who is interested in Bastian's adventures and wants to keep in touch to talk about them.


[edit] Characters
Main article: Characters of The Neverending Story
Atreyu (German Atréju)
Bastian Balthazar Bux (German Bastian Balthasar Bux)
The Childlike Empress/Moonchild (German Die Kindliche Kaiserin/Mondenkind)
Falkor, the luckdragon (German Fuchur, der Glücksdrache)
Carl Conrad Coreander (German Karl Konrad Koriander)

[edit] AURYN

The AURYN amulet as depicted in the 1984 film of The Neverending Story.AURYN is a mystical talisman in The Neverending Story. In the novel, AURYN is always spelled in capital letters and is revered by all Fantasticans, referred to as "The Gem" and "The Glory." It is a symbol of its mistress, the Childlike Empress, who is also called "The Golden-Eyed Commander of Wishes" in reference to her relationship with AURYN. While the book makes noteworthy the point that the image of AURYN is on its "cover(s)", it doesn't actually refer to it as AURYN.

A common misconception is that AURYN is a simple magical object that grants wishes. The truth is that AURYN's power flows from the Childlike Empress and that it can only be used with her permission. The powerful amulet cannot be used against her and if she does not grant the use of it to someone they are unable to influence AURYN.

Two mythological serpents, symmetrical, bite at the other's tails. In the book, they are not specifically, nor always, intertwined. One serpent is gold and one is silver. Each has an eye to correspond to the color of the book's print, red and green. The symbol is reminiscent of ouroboros or the mythological Jörmungandr and the Zodiac Pisces. It also may be noted that the film version has the two snakes in an "Infinity Knot", a more intricate variation of the figure "8" infinity symbol and another sign of ouroboros. The two snakes represent the dual nature of the two worlds, Fantastica (German: Phantásien) and Reality, but also the twin nature of their mutual creation and destruction. There may also be a relation to the Gates of Horn and Ivory of Virgil's Aeneid. On the back of the AURYN are these words:

"Do what you Wish" (German: "Tu, was du willst").

AURYN helps guide Atreyu through Fantastica in his quest to find a cure for the ailing Childlike Empress, and in turn defeat the Nothing. It serves him clandestinely, but does return him to the Ivory Tower. Although Atreyu believes himself to have failed in finding the human child past the borders of Fantastica, the Childlike Empress informs him to the contrary and that indeed the boy had been with him all along.

In the hands of the Childlike Empress, the AURYN displays greater powers even in the face of the Nothing. She releases seven spirits to serve her as she ventures across her tattered realm to find the Old Man of Wandering Mountain. They carry her chariot and provide a haven for Atreyu and Falkor within.

Bastian christens the Childlike Empress with her new name. She presents him with AURYN with her only request being that he follows the instructions written on the back. While it grants him the power to make wishes and imagine more of Fantastica, it drains him of his memories which are his only way back to his world. Bastian searches for the same obscure boundaries of Fantastica only to realize it was within AURYN itself.

In the mystical interior of AURYN, two gargantuan serpent statues stand sentry, one shining brighter than white, the other darker than black. They guard the Waters of Life, a waterfall and pool that serve as the exit from Fantastica. The statues refuse Bastian's passage, for he had left many stories unfinished in Fantastica. Atreyu however agrees to undertake the quest, which allows Bastian to return to his world. When Bastian touches the waters, their truthful properties dissolve the illusion of his glamor wishes, and he returns to being a fat little boy, instead of a Fantastican Prince. But this time he has learned to love himself as he truly is.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ende, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Basoli, AntonioIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craig, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kyrö, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manheim, RalphTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nieuwenhuizen, Johan vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pandolfi, AminaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quadflieg, RoswithaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This inscription could be seen on the glass door of a small shop, but naturally this was only the way it looked if you were inside the dimly lit shop, looking out at the street through the plateglass door.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody's idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient, mysterious book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the fairy people who live there.

AR Level 5.9, 18 pts
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Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.

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