Monday, March 05, 2012

A book review: Reckless

Title: Reckless
Author: Cornelia Funke
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 14, 2010)

Synopsis: For years, Jacob Reckless has been escaping to a hidden world. But tragedy strikes when his younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Now Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone. 

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.

Star parts: Now unless this is the very first time you have visited this blog, you should know that I'm a bit of a Funke fan. So with that in mind I am going to try not gush and give this book an objective review. I've also read some stuff about this book and there are a few things that are different. For a start Funke wrote this one straight into English (unless I'm mistaken) with the help of her translator. Also Lionel Wigram gave her the idea and she wrote it. Straightaway this book has a different feel to her others. The language seems sparser and more direct and to the point. The chapters are shorter and we're straight into the story and the premise of the series. Jacob Reckless' father is missing and as he searches his father's study for clues, he discovers a mirror that transports him to another world. Boom. The next chapter leads us straight into the premise of this book. Jacob's brother Will followed him into the mirror world and is turning into a Goyl. Through the next chapters Funke builds the world introducing us to the history of the Goyl, and the Empress while carrying the story forward. 

Jacob is built as a rounded, if flawed character. He loves his brother, and he comes across as a bit of a super man in the mirror world, yet the fact that he abandoned his family so often is always present. His reasons for doing so are explored and it makes him a less than perfect hero. 

Will's girlfriend Clara was another character I really liked. When she ends up in the mirror world, everything is so different for her that she could fall apart, yet the hardships make her a stronger person and in a way this book is her journey in becoming that stronger person. I hope we'll see more of her. 

The story is really compelling, but unlike her other books, the second book is built into the first. While this book has an arc of its own and had a satisfying end, there WILL be more to come and there are several avenues as to where the second book will go. 

As well as the the characters I've mentioned above, Funke has done one of the things that I feel she does very well. She takes stock fairy tale characters, goblins, fairies and dwarfs and gives them her own unique take. It's a world that is at once familiar if we've read Grimm's fairy tales and yet very different. 

Black clouds: Ok, the brother Will is turning into a Goyl the whole way through the book, but I didn't feel like I got to know him very well. If anything he seemed a bit stony (haha - OK crap joke). Likewise, there were not many dimensions to Fox and I would like to get to know her better too. So, as kind of main characters I felt they could have been explored just a little bit more. 

The other thing that I supposed could be a minor quibble, but which bothered me no end is that I found all the mains too old. I spent ages, and I mean ages working out how old Jacob was. I don't want to spoil the book, but in my opinion for a YA book I found him bordering on old, yet he acted very much as a teenager, so I found that a bit difficult. 

 Do I recommend it: Can I gush now? Basically, I couldn't put the book down. I fell in love with Jacob *blushes* which is a bit embarrassing as I'm old enough to be his mother (just about) and I curse all those women who fall/fell for him in the book. I was satisfied with the end of this book, but I'm also rather excited that there is another on the way. So, yes, yes, yes I do recommend it. 


Lady Gwen said... liked it? LOL. You certainly make me want to read it. Thanks for the review:)

Michele Helene said...

I LOVED it Gwen. Do read it, it's great... Oh, I've gushed again haven't I?

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