Just a few chapters into Inkspell
, Mo (a.k.a. "Silvertongue") sagely says to his daughter, "Stories never really end, Meggie, even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don't end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page." A fitting meta-observation for this, the unplanned second installment in Cornelia Funke's beloved now-trilogy.
Of course, it's that sort of earnest, almost gushing veneration of books and book-loving that made the absorbing suspense-fantasy Inkheart so wonderful in the first place, with that lit-affection getting woven integrally into the plot (Inkheart being both Funke's first book in the series, and the fictitious book within that book, authored by the frustrated Fenoglio, now trapped within the book, er, within the book. Fenoglio, perhaps not surprisingly, self-referentially wishes in Inkspell that he had written a sequel to Inkheart.) Inkspell should serve as a special treat for fans of the first book, as characters from Inkheart who have found themselves in the "real world" (if there is such a thing) find themselves read back into their own mythic, word-spun world--along with some of our favorite "real-world" characters. As with the previous book, Funke's greatest accomplishment here is telling such a rich and involving (and fun!) story, while still managing sweet, subtle commentary on the nature of words and meaning. Expect a tantalizing finale, too--as Funke says, "No reader will forgive me the ending, though, without a part three." (Ages 8 and up) --Paul Hughes
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up–This sequel begins a year after the conclusion of Funke's popular Inkheart
(Scholastic, 2003). In this fantasy world, certain readers have the power to bring characters out of books–and send them back. Meggie and Farid, apprentices to the fire-eater Dustfinger, follow him to the Inkworld, the land of the book-within-a-book, Inkheart,
after he has been read back into its story by a mysterious man named Orpheus. Orpheus uses his powers to read Mortola and Basta, some of the villains of the first volume, into the story, along with Meggie's parents. In Inkworld, Meggie enlists the help of Fenoglio, the original author of Inkheart
, to help create a new future for her parents and herself as palace intrigues, war, and the Silver Prince threaten. The story moves along at a rapid pace, from Farid and Dustfinger's original meeting with Orpheus to Farid's warning of Mortola's return to the shift of action to the Inkworld and the heightening conflict in both worlds. Expanding on the ideas behind Inkheart
, Funke explores what might happen if authors try to change the world they have created. Familiar characters and those new to this volume are clearly drawn. This is an involving story that will draw readers smoothly to its conclusion and leave them waiting for the final volume in this projected trilogy.–Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI
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