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ReaderMarija's Reviews

...a pot luck of thoughts and reflections

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Inkdeath  - Cornelia Funke Inkdeath is good book, but I found it a bit long winded. It’s sort of like the Middlemarch of children’s lit. If I were reading this when I was eleven or twelve, I would probably have skimmed through it, wanting only to read the parts concerning Dustfinger, Mo, and Meggie—my favorite characters. Thus I think this book is more suited for the mature reader, in order to fully appreciate all the themes Cornelia Funke explores in her work.

In Inkheart and Inkspell, for the characters, death is a recurring theme … the characters’ fear of it, how to overcome it and if possible avoid it, and what happens in the afterlife. As the title of this third book in the trilogy suggests, death takes a more central role in the story. It’s a driving force for the action and not only that, but the reader bares witness to the ugly consequences of what can happen by trying to cheat it.

Like its predecessors, Inkdeath also concerns itself with the writing process, and the idea of a story as a living thing… with characters and details being written into or out of the Inkworld. Also, it’s the writer’s duty to craft the right words in order for this to happen…. But by adding all of these additional details, does the story run the risk of following its own path beyond the author’s established boundaries?

The book suffers from too many heroes and villains that converge and diverge throughout the tale, which results in an overcomplicated plot. Also, there’s such a large supporting cast of characters, that by the novel’s end, you’re not fully able to get a good sense of their character development, or get some closure for these characters, when you wish there was. (e.g. Dustfinger’s daughter, Brianna) However, Cornelia Funke does develop her main cast:

Dustfinger’s back! And better yet, he’s free from his old scars, both physical and mental, and can now face the world without fear. And Mo’s still fighting that inner struggle of identity with the Bluejay: Is Mo losing himself to the Bluejay or is the Bluejay losing themselves to Mo? I found this conflict rather interesting.

I also liked that fact that the two writers Fenoglio and Orpheus were rather gray, i.e. neither true villains nor real heroes. Fenoglio’s attempts to mold/remold the Inkworld may actually bring more harm than good, even though he’s trying to be helpful. Then, there’s Orpheus’ attempts at exploiting his gifts for his own personal gain and benefit. On the surface he seems a villain, but looking at him closely, I was able to sort of sympathize with him.

Meggie’s story is mostly relegated to the background, but she does find a new suitor in Doria, one of the strolling players, much to the chagrin of Farid. Yet her choice is understandable, as she realizes that she doesn’t really come first in Farid’s heart. However, the reader only sees Doria’s and Meggie’s budding relationship from a distance. Personally I would have liked to see more interactions between the two. As it stands, I’m not sure if Meggie loves Doria only because of what she learned about Doria’s story from Fenoglio, or is it a real genuine affection. I also sort of missed the Meggie at the beginning of Inkspell, who was able to write the words that transported her and Farid to the Inkworld. That girl seemed stronger than the current one whose main concerns are worrying about her parents and trying to decide between boyfriends: “Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?” For me, this sentence is repeated too many times throughout the novel.

I was also a bit disappointed with Mo’s wife, Resa who’s willing to leave her daughter behind, to risk her life as well as the life of her unborn child by seeking her husband, Mo. I also thought Jacopo needed a visit from the Nanny and her time out chair. That kid was too spoiled. But their actions—both Resa’s and Jacopo’s—do prove fruitful in the end.

The book’s ending is reminiscent of one of Jane Austen’s: brief summation. But it’s sort of left open ended, as if a new series could be written about the next generation of the Inkworld, i.e. Jacopo, the Adderhead’s son, and Meggie’s brother. Overall not a bad story, but it could have been better.