author: Cornelia Funke
publisher: Little Brown Books
publication date: September 14th, 2010
Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father’s abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He’s also made many enemies and allies–most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.
But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob’s younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacket, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl – a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.
Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell – before it’s too late.
This wasn’t my first time reading this book. Reckless is a fairy-talish story written by one of the most famous and popular German authors ever and since I am German of course I read the book in German. I read this book for the first time many years ago, right after I’ve read the Inkheart Trilogy, also written by Cornelia Funke. I loved her books so much I just went on to the next one and was absolutely disappointed. I didn’t like the book at all but after I saw so many photos on instagram, showing exactly this book and people talking about it, raving about it even I decided to give this one another shot. So I read it again over the holidays and even though it’s still not one of my favorite books I liked it much better than the first time I’ve read it, maybe because I am in such a fairy-talish mood lately.
I recently dicovered fairy tale retellings and started to like them a lot. This is why I was hoping to also like this one better this time which is the case but still I couldn’t totally connect with the plot or with the characters. I was very confused at the beginning since the book started off so random. We were just thrown into the middle of the story. We were only given very little to no background information on the main characters or the plot.
The thing I really liked about this book was that all the origin fairytales we know were thrown in together such as Hansel and Gretel (there are acutal gingerbread houses and child-eating witches in the story), Sleeping Beauty, who has never been rescued by a prince, etc. pp. Jacob, the older one of the two brothers, has been walking through this world for so many years now, he met so many people and creatures, the world behind the mirror actually became like a real world to him, like his new home. But then Will, his younger brother, follows him through the mirror and gets attacked by Goyls. He gets infected by a scratch becoming a Goyl himself, skin made of stone. Now it’s – of course – up to Jacob who knows this world best to save him – if he can.
As I’ve discovered fairytale retellings to be fun, romantic, beautiful and so on this is a very dark fantasy world and even though I was engaged by the story, at least at some point, I would not call it a very fun read. I liked that it was a story with male pratagonists. I liked that it was scary from time to time. The witches in the book were real and would definitely eat you if given a chance.
What I didn’t like was that I couldn’t feel the chemistry between the leading characters. I mean in the story Will and Clara are supposed to be boyfriend and girlfriend but I just couldn’t feel it. Also the relationship between the two brothers was very superficial. They never shown any affection for each other, what I found very sad. It was just like Cornelia Funke was more into planning the actual story than the life and the relationships of her characters but if the characters are kind of transparent, even the best story can not make up for it since a good story needs some good characters we as readers can connect and relate to and exactly that was what bothered me the most.
The book wasn’t quite as thrilling as I hoped but I also can’t say that it was really bad. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t very good also. I enjoyed reading it but as much as I wanted to love it, I just could not connect with the whole story, the fantasy world behind the mirror or even the characters. I’m not even sure if I’m gonna read the sequels at all but if I do it will probably be around the end of the year, maybe again around Christmas time. We will see.
If anyone of you guys have read this book you can leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts on the story. I’d be happy to know if I’m the only one who does not quite like the book that much.