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Inkspell - Cornelia Funke

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Author: Cornelia Funke / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 04 August 2011 / Genre: Children's Fantasy & Magical Realism / Publisher: Chicken House Ltd / Title: Inkspell / ISBN 13: 9781908435095 / ISBN 10: 1908435095 / Alternative EAN: 9780439554015

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      22.11.2010 19:16
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      A great second part to the series

      Ink Spell- Cornelia Funke


      Having just read 'Inkheart' by Cornelia Funke, (To see review on the first book of the series, please see my 'Inkheart' book review), I was eager to continue the story and so set off to buy both 'Ink Spell' and the final book of the trilogy, 'Ink Death'.

      Although the RRP of this book is $9.99US, I managed to pick it up new on Ebay for only £2.00 including postage and packaging, which is a great price for a brand new book.


      *********************
      INK SPELL
      *********************

      "Dare to read it aloud"

      (A/N: Some slight spoilers of the first book in the first couple of paragraphs)

      A year has passed since Meggie's adventures alongside characters from the book, 'Inkheart'. A whole year since she found out that not only her father could read aloud from books and bring characters to life, but that she also held the same gift, or curse as her father called it, for it was not only the pleasant characters which has fallen out of the most sought after book around.

      For Dustfinger the fireater, the need to return to his home in the Ink World has never been stronger, and in desperation, he seeks out a crooked storyteller to read him back into the pages. By doing so, he not only leaves his apprentice behind, but also sets off a series of events which leads Meggie and her family straight into the pages behind him, into a world which has changed so much that it threatens to end tragically...


      When I first started 'Inkheart' I found the book very difficult to get into, and the same can be said about its sequel, 'Ink World'. It seems that the author has a hard time getting a story off of its feet as the flow is very staggered as if it does not know what direction it needs to go. As I had the same problem in the previous book, I continued to read on in the hope that the story, like its predecessor, would even out and jump into the story with both feet. Luckily, this did happen eventually, though for the main part, the flow did not strive as much as it did in Inkheart. The story, though, made it bearable.

      As with the first book, I think the main problem was the anticipation of the adventure and excitement didn't seem to want to come. Not only in the beginning, but also at many points through the story, I found that there was an awful lot of descriptive chapters which lacked the anticipated action. Quite often I found myself skimming over paragraphs as the words seemed so needless. It simply proved my point as, even with me skimming parts of the story, I did not get lost or confused and still followed the story perfectly. It was as though many parts of the story were just added in as a way to bulk out the story.

      Something in which I had hoped would be better in this book was the perspective of who was telling the story at different points. In the first book, this became a little confusing and frustrating as the author did not seem to know from whose perspective the book is being written from. This second book also had this problem, though it was fewer and far between that the confusion occurred. Only a few times did the character change part way in the middle of a chapter, though never in the same paragraph like before. These changes in perspective were also much more clearly and better laid out. It also helped that I had become accustomed to the way of writing from the previous book, I believe.

      The language and grammar was also much better in this book than the first. Whereas in the first book, parts of the grammar were disjointed and made little sense at times, this book seemed to have been checked and rechecked to a much higher standard. The language, in the main, was simple and concise, even in the long descriptions with some longer, more difficult wording only appearing a few times. One thing I noticed, though, was a few choice words in this book which had been toyed with in the last book though did not make an appearance due to the intended younger audience. Here, it seems, the author started forgetting about her original intended audience as the language did become a little stronger than I would want a child to hear. Not only the language, but the actual story line was more in depth and darker than before, pulling this book from a younger audience into a much older audience - rather like the way the Harry Potter books do (in a way!). More about the story to follow!

      It does seem that I have outlined a lot of negatives, though please do not be put off, especially if you enjoyed the first book of this trilogy. The noted negatives are easily forgotten and/or overlooked once the story gets going, and unlike the first book, the story does start to take shape much sooner.

      This book takes place more in the fantasy world of the Ink World with only a short period of time in the real world. Throughout the story, we do continue to see certain aspects of what is happening in the real world, though the main action and story happens within the pages of Ink Heart, the book in the story. At first I was not sure whether I would like this as the mixture of fantasy coming into the real world in the first book was great. It was imaginative and exciting with all the comfort and knowledge of being able to picture the scenes so vividly. I was afraid that this book would have lost this, though I a glad to say that it did not. The imagination was still here to a very high degree, though I do believe that the magic which was spoken about in the first book had been lost which was a disappointment.

      There were many characters within this book, both steady main characters as well as many lesser characters. A number of characters we already knew from the first book and so I had already formed my opinion upon them, though some other main characters did come into this second book. These, though, did not hold as much success as the original main characters. Yes, they had fine descriptions and great background stories, though they lacked the bulk and creativity in which I had found in the other characters. I also found it difficult to empathise with many of them, with a few exceptions.

      As well as the action and excitement within this story, there is also quite a bit of mild humour. It is certainly not a laugh-out-loud story, though the subtle humour is certainly present and really helps the story onward.

      One interesting aspect with this book, as well as the first, 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 of other authors, so it just felt right to have a quote from well known stories such as The Wizard of Oz, The Subtle Knife, Romeo and Juliet and much more. 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 or the person who has been the main subject. 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 as already mentioned, the author seems to have forgotten this aspect for the main part!

      A lot more seems to happen in this story than in the first, and the time frame is spread much further, though it is not really kept documented as well as in the first book. Although I really liked the first book, once the story gets going in Ink Spell, it is much more fuller and more well rounded. Yes, there are still some very slow starts (the descriptions are very much part of the slowness), though on the whole, the pace and excitement runs smoothly and the storyline has much more going on in it.

      As the ending of the book draws near, a lot of the story is wrapped up and it draws to a perfect close for this particular story, yet leaving a great open opportunity for the final book in the series; Ink Death. There is some great emotion amid the excitement and when I finally closed the very last page, I couldn't wait to read the next book and finish the story. If anything, I felt even happier with this book in the end than I did in the first book. I wasn't sure to begin with that I would like it, and like the first book, I am very glad I pushed past the slow beginning.


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

      This story was extremely captivating once the flow and energy picked up and the modern occurrences in a completely fictional setting (literally!) was a perfect mix. There was a number of negatives, it is true, though on a whole, the story is penned really well and held my attention right up until the very end.

      Do I recommend this book? Most certainly!

      And now, I am off to read the final book in the series; Ink Death!

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