Do you have a favorite go-to when someone asks for a book recommendation that is "as good as Narnia or The Lord of the Rings"? Okay, maybe no one will ever write books THAT good again...but I think we are all looking for the next riveting, too-good-to-put-down series. Personally, I have a couple of favorites that I will recommend, but I'm only going to share one and save the others for later!
The Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke is one of those series that I gobbled up! I'm not entirely sure how I came across it the first time, but I believe it was through browsing my library app Libby (formerly Overdrive) which allows your to check out three audiobooks at a time and, I believe, a dozen ebooks. For free. (Hint: you need this app!!!).
It's an older series (early 2000s) but somehow it missed my radar at the time. It would've been such fun to read it aloud to my kiddos when we homeschooled! The series asks the question, "What if you had the power to bring a book to life, simply by reading it aloud?" (I know...we all kind of wish we had that superpower!).
The books (translated from German) follow twelve year old Meggie and her father, whom she calls Mo, as they attempt to outrun and outwit a devious, heartless villain named Capricorn. Meggie's mother has been gone since she was small, and she and her father are quite close. He lovingly restores old books, and the two live in a house surrounded by stacks and stacks of them.
"If you take a book with you on a journey," Mo had said when he put the first [book] in her box, "an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it . . . yes, books are like flypaper--memories cling to the printed page better than anything else." A favorite quote from Inkheart by Cornelia FunkeOne rainy night, Meggie spies a mysterious man standing in the rain, staring up at their house. She wakes her father who let's the man inside. His name is Dustfinger and her father seems to know him. Dustfinger refers to Mo as Silvertongue. Meggie is confused by these odd monikers and slightly afraid of this man with the scarred face and a furry creature called a Marten living in his backpack.
Before dawn, Mo is packing Meggie and their belongings in an old camper and moving them, with Dustfinger in tow, to an Aunt Elinor in Italy. This aunt has even more books than Meggie and her dad. It is also the perfect place for Mo to hide a certain, secret book that he's trying to hide from both Capricorn and Meggie.
When she confronts her father about his new penchant for secrets and lying, she begins to uncover truths that she never expected and her father always feared.
When Dustfinger convinces Meggie to ask her father why he never ever reads to her aloud, Meggie learns why Mo's nickname is Silvertongue. His words have the power to pull characters out of the story and into reality, with the added danger of pulling things from his world and putting them into the world of the book.
What develops is complicated and enthralling! The world of the secret book and Meggie's own world become intertwined and inseparable. Both are richly imagined and their characters are evocative and unforgettable.
Though this is a middle grade book, it's one that any fantasy lover will appreciate. It would be a great read-aloud for a family as it's clean, though there may be some tense moments here and there to be cautioned about. This is one series that I'd like to buy in hardcover to add to my library.
Of course, as with my other weekend reads, this is another that I've listened to as audiobooks. Interestingly, each book has a different narrator, though the POV never changes. The first book, Inkheart, was narrated by Lynn Redgrave. The second book, Inkspell, was narrated by actor Brendan Fraser who also portrays Mo in the film adaption, and the final book, Inkdeath, was narrated by Allan Corduner.
Yes, Inkheart is actually a movie, which you may have already seen! Somehow, I missed that too, back in 2009. Here's a link to the trailer to give you a WEEKEND WATCH in case you need that too! I was disappointed to find that they crammed all three books into the one film, which left viewers with only a weak sampling of the plot. I understand artistic license and blah, blah, blah, but it really did these books a disservice, in my opinion. I suppose if you were to watch the movie first, you wouldn't know what was missing and might enjoy it more.
Have you already seen the movie or read the books? What did you think?