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Inkheart - Cornelia Funke

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Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Author: Cornelia Funke / Edition: New edition / Paperback / 576 Pages / Book is published 2004-06-07 by Chicken House

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      25.09.2013 19:03
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      A magical tale in which books come to life

      Inkheart is based on a premise I have not come across before: what if you could make literary characters come alive, just by reading aloud? As a massive bookworm, this sounded like a fantastic idea to me, but as we learn, there are prices to pay for such a power...

      The heroine of the story is twelve-year-old Meggie, who lives with her father, a bookbinder named Mo. The two of them love books, but Mo has never read aloud to Meggie, much to her disappointment. Meggie is lying in bed one night when she looks out of the window and sees a strange scar-faced man standing there. The man is named Dustfinger, and what he has to say deeply unsettles Mo, so much so, that the next morning they pack up and leave, fleeing to Great Aunt Elinor's house. Their enemies have followed them there however, and Mo is captured by a gang of thugs, who take him to a remote village, run by a man named Capricorn. Capricorn wants two things from Mo; he wants a very specific book, and he wants the use of Mo's talents. Meggie, Elinor and Dustfinger follow him to Capricorn's village, but their rescue does not quite go to plan. Soon Meggie learns the truth about Mo's talents, the absence of her mother, and those who have captured them.

      This is a delightfully enchanting story, but it also has its darker moments. Meggie is the perfect heroine; she has her moments of fear and doubt, but is courageous in the face of danger, and manages to adapt to the shocking truths she learns about her father. Great Aunt Elinor is cast in the same vein, and it is clear that this is where Meggie has inherited her character from. In contrast, Mo seems a little two-dimensional at times; there just doesn't seem to be much depth to his character. Capricorn is the perfect villain; sinister and malevolent, at times a little bit too much so. His revenge on people who betray him is very dark, so I would recommend this book for older children only, as younger ones may be upset by some scenes. My favourite is Dustfinger, possibly because I love morally ambiguous characters. While he has some sense of loyalty to Mo, and absolutely none to Capricorn, it is clear that Dustfinger's priority is himself; he is not necessarily bad, but he will do bad things to further his own end.
      The story itself is fast-paced and impossible to put down, and there is a constant sense of tension and peril throughout the book. Oddly enough, one of my favourite things about this book is the quotations at the start of chapters; these are lines from famous classic books. It is only a little touch, but it adds to the sense of Inkheart as a paean to books in general. They might even encourage readers to pick up some of these other classics! This really feels very different to anything else out there for a young adult audience, possibly because it was written by a German author, and translated into English. Overall, this book is perfect for most young adult readers; those who are already bookworms will delight in it, and it may even foster a love of reading in those who are currently not so keen!

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        01.01.2011 16:19
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        a little piece of magic xx

        I am sure I am not the only one that seemed to have Harry Potter withdrawals once I had finished ready the last book. I wasn't sure what I was going to do not having this little bit off magic in my life! I read so many reviews to try and find another book which gave me the same thrill I get when reading Harry Potter and nothing seemed to come close no matter how many books I read. Until a trip down one of the backstreets in Hastings brought me to a little book shop and in the young adults display area there was Inkheart. After reading the synopsis I decided to give this a try.


        ***PLOT***
        Inkheart is the story of 12 year old Meggie and her father Mo who is a book doctor with a gift. Meggie loves her books but unfortunately she has to read alone as Mo will not read aloud to her as the last time he read aloud Meggies mum mysteriously disappeared.
        Mo's secret gift soon becomes clear to Meggie, Mo cannot read aloud because if he does something or someone from our world goes into the story he is reading and someone or something from the story comes to our world. This is what had happened the night Meggie's mum had disappeared but in her place are now three characters from the story Capricorn, Dustfinger and Basta.
        The story follows the three characters trying to trace Mo for different reasons, Capricorn and Basta who are evil characters want Mo to read the rest of his village out of the book where as Dustfinger just wants to go home. Mo is trying throughout this story to escape him being captured and to protect his daughter.


        ***Characters***
        I loved little Meggie, I think it is because she reminds me of me when I was younger with her passion for books. She clearly loves her father very much. I think any young adults reading his book will have no problem warming to our main character. Her father Mo's character doesn't come to light really until half way through the book. In the beginning of this book he seems a little mysterious but once the story moves on we see his warm nature and see all that matters to him is that his daughter is safe. My favourite character of this book is Dustfinger. Dustfinger has the ability of fire eating so he comes across as a very magical character. He is a good character in this book but he always has number ones best interests at heart. He wants to get home and is willing to do anything to make this happen. Capricorn and Basta are the evil characters of the book and are very much like Voldermort and Wormtail in Harry Potter. Their presence in the book always gives you a chill and has you on the edge of your seat as you are not sure what they will do next.


        *** My Opinion***
        I loved this book and I can now say I have found a new set of books which keep me gripped in this magical world just like the Harry Potter books. I found that throughout the whole book you are continually wondering what is going to happen next. The book is in no way predictable so I enjoyed the suspense factor. I would defiantly say this is a young adult's book as some places in this book are very dark which I feel would be a little too frightening for younger readers. I could not put this book down and I cannot wait to read the next book as there are three books in the series Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath. The way the author has written about the Inkheart world makes you feel as if you are part of the story. You seem to know every smell and every touch to this magical world as the way things are described in this book makes feel as if you are falling into this book.I also loved the extra little touch on the start of each chapter of the little drawings.

        I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a magical element to their reading. Harry Potter fans I am sure will love this as it was exactly the kind of book I was looking for. I have also heard that they have made this book into a film which I will have to watch but I am unsure how good the film will be compared to the book as I do not see how they will be able to bring some of the magical parts of Inkheart world across on screen.

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          07.11.2010 22:02
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          Once the story gets into it, Inkheart is a great read

          Ink Heart - Cornelia Funke


          I was at a loss with what book to read next after finishing a set of books when I found 'Ink Heart' on the shelf of a Charity Shop for only £1.50. I recalled that 'Ink Heart' had been made into a film though had never seen it and had never read any of Funke's other works, so bought the book with no idea of what I was letting myself into. Even though it is a silly reason, I have to admit that I fell for the book due to its captivating cover and so hoped that I could judge this book by its cover!


          *********************
          INK HEART
          *********************

          "Dare to read it aloud"

          Meggie loves her books with their wonderful, exciting stories which she can immerse herself in. She gets her love from her father who not only has many books around their house, but also binds the too, though even their shared love of stories isn't enough to make Meggie's father read out loud to her. Not since her mother vanished when Meggie was three years old.

          When a stranger knocks at the door of their farmhouse one night, Meggie's father is forced to reveal an extraordinary secret - when he reads aloud, words come to life and dangerous characters step out of the pages and into the real world.

          Suddenly Meggie is living the kind of adventure which she has only ever read about in books...but this one will change her life forever.

          To begin with, I found this book very difficult to get in to. It is not a difficult read by any means, in fact the majority of the text is rather simple so is suitable for young adults into adulthood. The reason was not to do with a slow start either, as pretty much straight away the story got going. I think the main problem was the anticipation of the adventure and excitement didn't seem to want to come. The write up for the book gave great expectations and it just took so long to actually feel any of the excitement or adventure. At times I put the book down for long periods of time before daring to go back to it, though I am glad that I did as about a third of the way through it really started to pick up. It never heightened to the degree I had expected, though the story-line from then on kept me on my toes and wanting to know more which is the mark of a good story.

          One aspect of the story writing which was a little frustrating throughout the majority of the book was the fact that the author did not seem to know from whose perspective the book is being written from. The main perspective is from Meggie and there are certain well laid out chapters making it very obvious that it is from another characters perspective, though in the main writing of the story, the perspective changes without warning and often reads a little haphazardly, jumping back and forth in the middle of sentences fro one character to another. I did become accustomed to this the further I read, though it did continue to be a little annoying, especially as due to this some of the grammar just read so badly. I believe, though, another reason that the grammar is a little disjointed in parts is that 'Inkheart' was translated from the German Language. At least I believe I am right in saying this from what I understand of the back of the book.

          I am happy to say, though, that this is where the negatives end. Once the story gets into its natural, steady flow, the words really do start to appear off of the page. In a lot of ways, it is like a modern day fairytale, set in the real world, yet the main storyline revolves around the fantasy with appearances from such magical creatures as fairies. Despite the grammar problems, the story really does read magically and the perfect blend of 'reality' and fantasy really works well. The story itself is also very well rounded, with just the right amount of descriptive passages to conversational ones. It moves forward in a steady manner and progresses wonderfully after the first few chapters have passed, so do hold on past the first third of the book!

          There are a number of characters within this book, both steady main characters as well as many lesser characters. I found that in the main, all of the main characters were explored really well. There was not a lot of background for any of them, though what was included was the correct amount, and information was given to the reader in a steady way; when and where it needed to happen. The characters were very believable, even those from the 'fantasy' world and I found myself full of emotion by the end of the book, (not enough for actual tears but close enough!).

          One interesting aspect with this book is the quotes from other books at the start of each chapter. The whole story focuses in and around the love of books and the stories different covers hold inside of them, so it just felt right to have a quote from well known stories such as Lord of the Rings, Treasure Island, Oliver Twist and many more to lead us into the next chapter. For the most part, the quotes sat really well with the action in each chapter, though there were a few quotes which I found useless for the chapter, though this is just a minor negative as all the quotes were still a great addition.

          Also, a minor thing to add, at the end of each chapter is a small drawing to mirror what has just happened in the chapter, or more precisely the place it has happened. There are various pictures which are repeated though another lovely addition. This, I believe, is to do with the fact that originally this book was meant to be for young children, though it is a little like the Harry Potter books in the sense that even though it started out as a children's book in the authors mind, it grew into something much darker and aimed more for young adults into adulthood.

          The main story does not span over too long, and in some ways, not a whole lot actually happens, though due to the style of the writing (in the main) and the great characters, this book really captured my attention. Although a slow start, I couldn't put it down once I got near that half way mark. The language in the main is quite simple with a few small exceptions, though the story is full and exciting. It was very clear as the end started to approach as the pace began to get a lot faster and more intense which lead nicely to a well rounded and perfect ending. The ending also leads brilliantly into a sequel which I did not actually realise existed until I got to the end, though 'Inkheart' is actually part of a trilogy of books which include 'Inkspell' and 'Inkdeath'. I have not read these yet though have just ordered both of these books online as I am very eager to read more.


          ************************
          FINAL WORDS
          ************************

          This story was extremely captivating once the flow and energy picked up and the modern twist on the real world versus the imaginary world is a perfect mix. Apart from some small negatives such as the grammar and the confusion of which characters thoughts we are looking at, the story is penned really well and held y attention right up until the very end.
          The RRP of this book is £9.99 though it has been out a number of years now and can be picked up for a lot less. I found it for only £1.50 and I have seen it for even less on Ebay. I think that the money I spent on this book was a great buy and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

          Do I recommend this book? Most certainly!

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            16.07.2009 11:55
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            very good and a range of mysterious characters

            the inkheart trilogy.

            Do you like books? in inkheart it tells us about a (12 year old) girl called meggie that discovered a whole different world under the cover of a book. it all starts when her dad Mortimer gets kidnapped by hese mysterious men.

            i gurantee you that this book will keep you on the edge of your seat! in inkheart characters (such as tinkerbell) pop out of the pages. be transfixed when the beautiful word of inkheart come to life in your imagination, bringing you images you simply cant forget.

            the fasinating tale of a young girl when she discovers the perils of characters coming to life. feel the endless delight that i felt. as this suspenseful novel invites you to its pages you will get hooked on the adventures inside! Cornella funke uses a range of vocab to express the characters emotions and actions.

            find out what happens to meggie and her father! read the book! collect the whole series and but the two following books inkspell and inkdeath! there is also a film so why not watch it after. read the books to uncover their secrets!

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              18.03.2009 16:54
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              A good read for children who like magic.

              Inkheart is the first book in a trilogy written by Cornelia Funke, and translated from German. The film Inkheart is based on Cornelia Funke's book, although there are differences right from the beginning. It's a long book, so inevitably some scenes are condensed together for the film, and there are some small differences in the ending, but in general the story is the same.

              Inkheart tells the story of twelve year old Meggie and her father Mortimer Folchart who both love books, although Mo (as Meggie calls her father) always refuses to read a book out loud. Mo is a book restorer, and travels around a lot, taking Meggie with him in their campervan. Meggie's mother has been missing for nine years and Meggie and her father are very close.

              One night, Meggie is alarmed when a stranger comes knocking at their door, someone from Mo's past, bringing a sense of menace with him. His name is Dustfinger and he carries with him a backpack with a marten inside. Dustfinger is a travelling fire juggler and he is here to warn Mo that an old enemy, Capricorn, is sending his men.

              Capricorn wants a book called Inkheart that Mo owns, and he also wants Mo to read from it. Mo, as Meggie later finds out, is a Silvertongue which means that whatever he reads from a book appears in real life. Dustfinger as well as Capricorn and his evil henchmen are all characters that Mo has read out from the book, Inkheart. The title refers to Capricorn's evil heart, black as ink. Capricorn now wants to Mo to summon someone else from the book, someone very dangerous indeed.

              Mo, Meggie and Dustfinger hurriedly flee to Meggie's Aunt Elinor who lives by a lake in Italy, a day's drive away, taking the book with them. They arrive at Aunt Elinor's, but soon find that they are all in great danger. Capricorn somehow knows where they are and the only person who could have told him is Dustfinger. Meggie soon begins to wonder whose side he is on. It's the start of an adventure that involves magical beings coming to life from the pages of books, and Meggie involved in the kind of adventure she has previously only read about.

              Meggie comes across as a thoughtful dreamy character who loves books to the extent that she feels they are talking to her. We get a good impression of her right from the beginning of the story:

              "Rain fell that night, a fine, whispering rain. Many years later, Meggie had only to close her eyes and she could still hear it, like tiny fingers tapping on the windowpane. A dog barked somewhere in the darkness, and however often she tossed and turned, Meggie couldn't get to sleep.
              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. 'I'm sure it must be very comfortable sleeping with a hard, rectangular thing like that under your head,' her father had teased the first time he had found a book under her pillow. 'Go on admit it, the book whispers its story to you at night.'
              'Sometimes, yes,' Meggie had said." (page 7, Inkheart)

              Mo comes across as every girl's ideal father, courageous protective, caring, and willing to give her his time, although sometimes stern when need be.

              However, he's somehow not a character that leaps off the page in the way that Dustfinger does. I get the impression that the author had a much stronger idea of the more dangerous and unconventional characters in her mind. Dustfinger is a character with a touch of danger about him and Elinor is worried about having a fire-juggler in her house with all her books:

              "He didn't seem bothered by Elinor's distrustful gaze. 'I'd say someone here has the wrong idea about fire,' he added. 'It bites like a fierce animal, admittedly, but you can tame it.' And with these words he took a match out of the box, struck it, and popped the flame into his open mouth." (page 66, Inkheart).

              The bad characters are also well depicted. Capricorn strikes fear into everyone around him:

              " 'Where is it?' asked Capricorn. When he scraped back his chair, Meggie flinched involuntarily. 'Don't tell me you've only brought the girl this time.' His voice was more impressive than his face. It was dark and heavy, and the moment she heard him speak Meggie hated it." (page 132, Inkheart).

              Capricorn's henchman Basta carries a knife which he likes to threaten people with:

              " 'You're lucky I've just cleaned my knife!' spat Basta. 'One more trick like that though and I'll carve a few nice new patterns on your ugly face. And make myself a fur collar out of your marten.' "(page 167, Inkheart)

              Although the character are well drawn it's fairly simply written. There's not a great deal of description, although the author goes quite deeply into characters thoughts, so we learn something about their hopes, fears and worries.

              Much of the story is told through dialogue, not a bad thing with a children's novel. I remember as a child skipping through long passages of description to get to the dialogue and the action. Although there's a lot of emphasis on fire and knives in the book, it's not full of violence. There are actually a lot of warnings about the dangers and consequences of messing with fire. Basta, although feared for his knife, is portrayed as cowardly and gullible and constantly shows himself to be a bully and a fool. It doesn't glorify violence with knives.

              From an adult perspective it's a book that I found not quite strong enough for me. However for confident readers around twelve and upwards I'd recommend it as a good read. It's full of well drawn characters and I think it would actually encourage more reading.

              Each chapter opens with an excerpt from a different children's book that relates to what's happening in the story. They give an added dimension, and if I'd read this as a child I'm sure I'd have wanted to get hold of those books and read them. There's also a small intricate black and white drawing at the end of each chapter, that helps the reader to visualize what's happening in the story.

              There are also some interesting extras in the back. There's an interview with the author, a who's who of the characters, a book quiz, a factual piece about martens, a word puzzle, a riddle, and some interesting facts about bookbinding. Finally there are two preview chapters from the next book, Inkspell, just to get the reader hooked again.

              If your children liked Harry Potter, they'll probably love this. In my opinion it's much better written than Harry Potter though.

              Amazon price: 4.19 on Amazon
              Number of pages: 576

              This review is also on Helium under my pen name A Marshall

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