The Thief Lord

Our rating: ***

Prosper and Bo are orphans. Their aunt Esther wants to adopt Bo, but not Prosper, so the boys run away to Venice to escape being separated. There they join a gang of other orphaned children, led by a boy who calls himself The Thief Lord. Things get interesting when a strange man commissions the kids to steal a wooden wing for him, and Esther hires a detective to track down her nephews.

At first glance this story is quite simplistic. But wait until you get about a hundred pages in, and you have a very complex book in your hands. Nothing is really as it seems here. Unfortunately, near the end the story takes a completely unexpected turn toward fantasy, which while interesting and clever, is also confusing without any foreshadowing. Other than that, though, The Thief Lord is worth reading.


Our rating: ***

A year after the events in Inkheart, Dustfinger has finally found somebody to read him back to the Inkworld. However, Orpheus, a conceited man with the gift of reading, tricks Dustfinger and leaves his assistant Farid behind. Fearing the book’s original tragic end for Dustfinger, Farid asks Mo’s daughter Meggie to read him to the Inkworld as well, which she does, but she comes along. What they find is a very messed up Inkworld that seems to be writing its own story. Meggie tries to help Fenoglio (the author of the book they are now in) fix the story, while Farid attempts to save Dustfinger from disaster.

And if you think that was complicated, wait ’til I tell you that I left out two or three plot lines! In other words, Cornelia Funke’s brilliant sequel is deeper than the original. Inkspell raises multitudes of very good questions, such as, “What would it be like for a man to be the god of a world?” To find out the answer, you’ll need to stay tuned for not only Inkspell, but also the sequel Inkdeath, as Inkspell ends at quite the cliffhanger. Well worth the time to read it.


Our rating: ***½

Meggie’s bookbinding father, Mo, has a unique talent. When he reads books aloud, the characters come to life. He first discovered this when reading to Meggie as a baby. Several characters from the book Inkheart, villainous and otherwise, appeared in their living room, while Meggie’s mother disappeared. And she hasn’t been seen since. Meggie, now twelve years old, knows nothing about her father’s ability, but a mysterious man named Dustfinger shows up to give Mo a warning. Capricorn, Inkheart‘s wicked badguy, read out from his story long ago, has plans for finding Mo and using his book-reading for evil purposes. Meggie and Mo are about to be swept into the adventure of their life.

I had seen this book quite a bit at libraries and bookstores, and I finally decided to give it a try. My conclusion? Not bad. It’s certainly not my new favorite, but if you’re looking for new fantasy-type books, you might want to give this one a try. The writing style is a bit unusual, being translated from German, but it didn’t strike me as hard to comprehend at all. It’s a long read, but I enjoyed it, and the whole “book within the book” thing is fun.