Tuesday, January 20, 2009


This review was originally posted 6/28/08
By Reviewer Angi
Title: Inkheart
Author: Cornelia Funke
Primary Audience/age group: Ages 9-12 *(see recommendation)
Genre: Fantasy
# Of pages: 560
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Year of Release: 2005
Part of a Series? Yes, 1st of 3
Rating: 3 (View Scale)

Description: One cruel night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART – and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever. This is INKHEART – a timeless tale about books, about imagination, about life. Dare to read it aloud.

Review: When I was about 5 years old I thought the shadows cars made as they passed by my dark walls at night were friendly ghosts telling me stories. At 10, I believed my dreams were an alternate reality – they took me to the place I lived at night, and I returned here to Earth every morning. Inkheart captures that same kind of imagination – reading out loud – by special, gifted people can pull people and things out of stories and send nearby people and items into a story. How often we wish a well crafted story would never end – if only we could jump in for a bit! But, many of the characters of Inkheart are not the sort I’d want to visit and live with. They are scary and mean. I really liked the relationship between Meggie and her father, Mo. They were close and really looked out for each other.

Rating:3 for a few instances of violence/meanness and a few curse words.

Positive: The main character – Meggie – a 12 yr. old girl does things she never believed she would be able to do. She is brave and courageous, I think she’s a good example of a young person digging deep and being tough.

Spiritual Elements:To me it appeared Capricorn symbolized the Devil – very evil and ruthless.

Violence:There are some incidents of violence and meanness - Capricorn and his men are not nice and do things such as hang roosters by the neck in the houses of neighbors. More violence is eluded to than is actually described.

Language:A few instances of he** and da**.

Sexual Content:None

Recommendation: I thoroughly enjoyed Inkheart – and look forward to seeing the movie with my 13 year old son, who also liked the book. However, I would change the suggested reader age to 12 and up. I feel like Amazon’s reading age suggestion is a bit young, considering the intense action and evilness, meanness and violence of some of the characters. I have read that the second book, Inkspell is even better than this one.


Natalie said...

I started to read that and I was more then half way through and I stopped, but then my mom started to read the whole thing out loud to me and my 3 brothers.


Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

I liked this, though it took some time to stick with. It's more interesting the second time around because all the heavy *Something's-about-to-happen* hints drag on and on at the beginning.

My main concern with this book is that it is what I would call a "gateway" book.

That is, like Alanna, the first adventure there's relatively little to consider objectionable, assuming the 12+ readership and acceptance of basic fantasy elements (like magic and some "careful" violence).

BUT after inviting young readers to fall in love with a group of characters, both series begin including fornication as a matter of course, almost as evidence of their... maturing? process.

Parents who don't want the effort of saying No (not a criticism-- I get tired of it myself), and/or explaining why-no, might want to skip this book altogether to avoid that conversation.

Enjoying Inkheart I was very disappointed to find I hadn't found another great/safe series, but rather another "gateway" book, and it's made me more careful about other authors I've approved before.

Angi said...

Thanks for your comment Amy Jane. That is a concern I share with you - and always a possibility with books that are part of a series. The Golden Compass was a great example of a gateway opening book to others that weren't as "innocent" later in the series. I will try to read Inkspell and Inkdeath (coming out in October) and review those books as well.
Just a side note - my 13 year old son liked the book - but not so much that he rushed out to read Inkspell.

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

Glad to be useful.

I felt largely the same way about The Golden Compass (until the gruesome end) and felt the others just got worse.

Probably from my background in folktales and western-based writing I kept expecting the agony to be eventually redeemed, and it never was. (In all fairness I only skimmed the second and third books. Too depressing. So anyone may correct me who likes.)

Anonymous said...

Hi. I actually haven't read Inkheart, but I did read the second book, Inkspell. I'd just like to say that before your child starts the series, that the second book uses h*** some and d*** at least 15 times. There also is a relationship between two of the main characters. It is a good story, but it's really annoying that so much cussing can almost ruin a book.

Anonymous said...

I am mom to 4 (ages 15 to 7) and have read the first two Ink books and am halfway through the third. I agree that the language and sexual content, and the "darkness" of the plot escalate as you move through the books.

What Darlin'? said...

Our family enjoyed the Ink Trilogy on audiobook. We listened to the entire trilogy twice.

I'm not sure what the other people commenting here are talking about with "sexual content" and "fornication?"

In the third book, there is a minor side plot of 17 year old Meggy choosing between two young men who both love her. Similarly, Meggy kisses one of the boys two or three times -- no long descriptions -- just a knowing of a quick kiss between the two.

I recommend this series without reservation.

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

@What Darlin--

The comment about fornication was not referring to these books, it was the explanation of what changed in the Alanna series as it continued.

I can see where that extended description can be misunderstood.