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Inkheart (2003)

by Cornelia Funke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inkworld (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,473511278 (3.92)1 / 697
Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.
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» See also 697 mentions

English (476)  German (10)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (6)  French (3)  Italian (1)  Russian (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (508)
Showing 1-5 of 476 (next | show all)
On paper, a great premise - a man can read characters into books when he reads them aloud, although the downside is that someone has to go back in to replace them. When the story starts, 12 year old Meggie is living a peripatetic life with her father, Mo, who earns a living as a bookbinder. She has inherited his love of books and doesn't miss her mother who "went away" 9 years ago. Later on, she learns that her mother disappeared into a novel read aloud by Mo, at the same time that a number of villains came out, including Capricorn, the ink hearted villain of the title.

When the story opens, a strange man called Dustfinger who is also from the book, turns up to warn them that Capricorn is on their trail again - this is why they have moved around such a lot. Mo has been keeping everything secret from Meggie but now she gradually finds out about her father's gift and her mother's fate. Capricorn wants Mo to be permanently on call to read riches or anything else he wants out of books. When Mo, Meggie and Dustfinger escape to the house of Elinor, Meggie's mother's aunt, they only succeed in dragging her into danger as well.

I have a few problems with the book. Firstly, it is far too long, with a story stretched to unfeasible lengths. Until the last few chapters, not a great deal happens other than various characters stumble round getting caught, escaping and getting caught again. After their first breakout from Capricorn's sinister village, Elinor goes home alone, even though the villains have already carried out one home invasion, while Mo and Meggie stay in the area for a number of days because the book's author lives there.

Secondly, as well as acting foolishly, the characters aren't that well characterised and the villain is totally colourless with his henchman Basta outshining him. Mo comes across as selfish and absorbed in his desire to somehow read his wife out of the book in the first half of the story - only in the second does he appear to develop a care for his daughter. Quite a few others are self absorbed besides Mo (who we find late on is actually Mortimer), such as Dustfinger who wants to dump Farid, the boy from 1001 Nights who is probably the best character in the book, Elinor with her absorption in books and the book's author who delights in meeting his creations and doesn't take the situation seriously for a long time, considering that Capricorn's men have been terrorising his grandchildren. Also I admit to being put off Meggie when she reveals, early on, that she dislikes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

There are also some clunky areas - for example, although I suppose when Elinor is introduced there is the subtle clue of her having a short neck, I was brought up abruptly when the villains suddenly started calling her "the fat woman" having gone through many chapters picturing her as a tall trim woman. Maybe it is a defect in translation, but it jarred and possibly translation issues are responsible for some of the other problems in this book.

The basic idea is great, but if only the book being read from by Mo had been a great classic or two - what great fun could have been had with those characters brought into the real world - but unfortunately, Inkheart, the book within a book, despite its cast of thousands of fairies, trolls, giants et al, appears to be an extremely dull book judging by the humourless gang of goons making up Capricorn and his band of unmerry men. The resulting tale is a cross between a fantasy and a melodramatic story about the Mafia, so I am not at all tempted to read the sequels. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
It got too wordy in places, but otherwise, it was a great book. ( )
  Tay318 | Aug 1, 2023 |
Ik geef het boek 4 sterren. Eigenlijk ietsje minder als ik naar mezelf kijk, maar ik behoor niet tot de doelgroep en ik vind het voor de doelgroep zelfs een dikke 4 sterren. Goed plot, vlot geschreven en goede karakters. Wat wil je nog meer? ( )
  weaver-of-dreams | Aug 1, 2023 |
How did the mom get read out of the book if she isn't mentioned in it? ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
Page 118
  raeleighjane2003 | Jul 3, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 476 (next | show all)
Such breathtaking things are going to happen, you cannot even imagine. SPECTACULAR!, FABULOUS! BREATHTAKING! If you've got to read a book it's got to be this one.
Inkheart is a book about books, a celebration of and a warning about books. The "Inkheart" of the title is a book. I don't think I've ever read anything that conveys so well the joys, terrors and pitfalls of reading. ...

When the villains are at last defeated and the denizens of the book tumble through into reality, it is quite disappointing to find them gaudy, small and trivial. Is Funke saying that, while books as books are wonderful, real life has a solid sort of grimness that renders make-believe flimsy? Or is she pleading with us to mix at least a little fantasy with our reality? I don't know. Inkheart leaves you asking such questions. And this is, to my mind, an important thing for a story to do.

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cornelia Funkeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Auger, Marie-ClaudeTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Šućur Perišić, LjiljanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beneden, HannekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bertholet, AbTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bertuol, SonaliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blanco, Rosa PilarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borén, GunillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butterworth, IanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoogweg, PaulineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jensen, LeyahCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kyrö, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawson, CarolCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magnaghi, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mountford, Karl J.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neumann, UteOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parisi, Elizabeth B.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Redgrave, LynnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strecker, RainerSprechersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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If you are a dreamer, come in

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean Buyer,

If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin

Come in!

Come in!

Shel Silverstein
For Anna, who even put The Lord of The Rings aside for a while to read this book. Could anyone ask for more of a daughter?
And for Elinor, who lent me her name, although I didn't use it for an elf queen.
For Anna, who put 'The Lord Of The Rings' aside for this book. Could anyone ask more of a daughter? And for Elinor, who lent me her name, although i didn't use it for an elf queen.
First words
The book she had been reading was under her pillow, pressing its cover against her ear as if to lure her back into its printed pages.
Rain fell that night, a fine, whispering rain.
Some books should be tasted some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.
Why do grown-ups think it's easier for children to bear secrets than the truth?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
A young adult fantasy novel where a young girl and her father are able to bring a story's characters to life with equally good and bad results just by reading.
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Average: (3.92)
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