Inkheart is the first book in the Inkworld trilogy written by Cornelia Funke and translated from German by Anthea Bell. I was recommended this book by one of my pupils in Year 6 and from the moment I opened it, I could not put it down.
The story takes the reader into the fantasy world of books where fictional characters come to life and change the course of reality. There is suspense, evil and goodness, fear and courage written into the storyline. The descriptions of settings are rich and so vivid that I felt myself transported into Elinor’s amazing library or Capricorn’s gloomy castle. I was captivated right from the first page.
Inkheart follows the adventures of a 12-year-old girl called Meggie. Her life changes dramatically when she discovers that her father, a bookbinder named Mo (as Meggie always calls him), has an uncanny ability to bring characters from books into the real world by reading out loud. When Meggie was three years old, Mo read a book called Inkheart aloud to her mother. In an instant, Meggie’s mother, Resa, vanished into the Inkworld and three men from the novel (two of whom, Capricorn and Basta, are murderous villains) entered into the real world. Nine years later, these men have come back into their lives and Mo, Meggie, and Resa’s aunt Elinor need to return the villains back to the book’s pages.
The battle against evil has many twists and turns and the reader can never be sure of the final outcome. At first it seems that Meggie and friends stand no chance and will have to bend to the will of the powerful Capricorn in order to survive. I found myself fearing that there was no hope as treacherous events led to the final, spectacular resolution.
My favourite character is Dustfinger, one of the three characters brought out of a book. I like his internal conflict: on the one hand he wants to help Meggie despite the dangers, but on the other his only – selfish – purpose is to return to his story. You never know what he will do and he never ceases to surprise the reader with his choices.
I would recommend the story to any fluent reader over the age of 10. Inkheart is a feast of a great read that will take into a world you never knew existed, but once you’re there, you will instantly feel part of it – heart and soul.