by Cornelia Funke
An imaginative adventure story revolving around books. Meggie's father restores old books, but when they suddenly pack up and visit her elderly book-obsessed aunt after she sees a sinister figure standing outside their house in the rain, Meggie suspects more is going on than just repairs on her aunt's collection. There's one particular book in her father's care that incites all kinds of interest- her father keeps it hidden, her aunt wants it so much she secretly swaps it for a different book, a very non-bookish person sends armed men to the house to wrest it from their possession, etc. Before she knows what is really happening Meggie is mixed up with kidnappers, a shifty fire-swallower and all sorts of interesting characters, all because of this one book. Even after they've narrowly escaped danger, some characters have a nagging desire to still return for the book.
It turns out that more interesting than the book Inkheart, is the secret ability her father has. I heard about it long before I read this so I don't have many qualms about telling you, although Meggie herself doesn't discover what he can do until halfway through the story. When he reads aloud, her father's voice draws characters out of the books and into real life. It sounds amazing, doesn't it? I was looking forward to this all through the pages, but it didn't play out as spectacularly as I'd hoped. In fact, I'm sorry to say, the whole story failed to really catch hold of me. I was reading along only half-interestedly and then suddenly at page 266 I thought: if I set this down now and walk away without feeling curious about what happens next, then I know I'm really not invested in this story. And that's what happened. I've been wanting to read it since last year, when I saw all the reviews going around; in particular one on Read Warbler caught my interest. But it didn't work out for me. The characters didn't feel very real. In spite of all the adventure the plot felt slow, I kept getting bored. I did like the literary quotes heading each chapter, and how I could recognize the familiar books characters mentioned; but then all the bookish metaphors and references started to feel forced. I always feel kinda bad when I don't fall in love with a book so many other readers adored. Get some second opinions below; I think I'm in the minority with my dislike here.
Abandoned ....... 534 pages, 2003
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