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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10–Funke takes readers on a new adventure into a magical place where the dark side of fairy tales holds sway. Jacob Reckless, like his father before him, escapes into the Mirrorworld, and all is well until his younger brother, Will, follows him in and falls under the enchantment of the Dark Fairy. Through an injury, she turns him slowly into a Goyl, a person made of stone. Jacob is determined to rescue his brother and restore him to himself. Accompanied by his companion, a shape-shifter girl/vixen named Fox, and Will's girlfriend, Clara, Jacob journeys with Will to find the antidote to the spell. With a large cast, including a dwarf, powerful fairies born from water, deadly moths, man-eating sirens, unicorns, and the terrifying Tailor with fingers ending in blades and needles, the story includes multiple fairy-tale motifs as the characters grapple with fear and despair while on their seemingly hopeless quest. The action picks up midway through the book and races to an exciting climax. Despite some loose plotting and broadly drawn characters, readers are pulled into the thrill of the story. The themes of guilt, responsibility, abandonment, and love, in the context of the many dangers in the Mirrorworld, contribute to a serious tone. Ultimately the characters keep faith with what matters most to each of them. The fact that the main characters are in their 20s will help to extend its potential readership to older students. Reckless will be enjoyed by Funke's fans, who will be pleased that she has left the door open for a sequel.Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Jacob, whose father has been missing for more than a year, is 12 when he discovers how to use the mirror in his dad’s study as a portal to an alternate reality. Chapter 2 picks up the story 12 years later, when his younger brother Will follows him into the mirror’s world, where Jacob has carved out an adventurous life for himself and Fox, his companion. Will’s experience is different: he begins a slow, painful, relentless transformation into a goyl, a living stone man, though his girlfriend, Clara, works with Jacob and Fox to save him. The alternate world is a largely recognizable, European-fairy-tale land, while the goyls add a new element and are used creatively in ways that serve the story well. It’s hard to connect with the main characters, though, perhaps because they are unwilling or unable to communicate well with each other or simply because the author withholds information. Jacob is so enigmatic that some may find him unsympathetic. Story is king here, however, and this adventure-driven fantasy, the first in a series, will have readers turning pages. Grades 7-10. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Mirrorworld Series
  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Listening Library (Audio); Unabridged edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307583260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307583260
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,165,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Mary Kate on September 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being one of the few people left in the world who has not yet read anything by Cornelia Funke, I'm going to have to start this review by simply saying "Wow! - and wow again!" I can only imagine what I've been missing. From beginning to end, Reckless is an absolutely wonderful read and I am feeling kind of giddy at the prospect of reading, not only the future books in this series, but everything else this talented storyteller has written.

Reckless is the story of Jacob Reckless, his brother Will and a fairy tale land that exists beyond a mirror in their missing father's study. Having discovered the world when he was quite young, Jacob has been traveling there for years, losing himself in the dangers and adventures to be had there. Always careful to hide the truth about his double life, he's now cursing himself for a moment of recklessness that enabled Will to follow him into the Mirrorworld. There, Will is clawed and cursed and is now slowly turning to stone. Unless Jacob can find a way to break the curse - and soon - Will will become a gargoyle (Goyl). Complicating matters is that fact that Will is turning, not to some ordinary stone, but to jade. And there is - wouldn't you know it? - a legend about a Jade Goyl and the power such a being will wield. This makes Will a person of interest, so to speak, to some unsavory characters.

In Reckless, Cornelia Funke has created a complex world woven from myths and legends, many of which will be familiar to lovers of fairy tales and to those who have read the collected stories of the Brothers Grimm. The arcing story, however, is her own. She has populated her well-imagined world with interesting characters and has given them an engrossing plot. There is danger and suspense, mystery, love and hate, jealousy, bravery, sacrifice and revenge.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Manatee on October 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jacob Reckless hasn't felt at home in our world for twelve years. His haven in found beyond the mirror in his father's study; where people live in little villages and cottages, monsters are common talk amongst the town-folk, stone men rule and push for power, fairies are dark and deceptive, and the Empress of Austry is a treasure-hunter. Jacob himself is a treasure-hunter, often working for Her Majesty to find her desires - a wishing table, a glass slipper, a golden ball. Jacob lives here most of the time, lying to his brother that he is going on vacation, a business trip, a trip to see a friend in need. He loves his brother, but too much pain lies outside of the mirror, where both of his parents are dead and his life is falling apart. And all is well on this side of the mirror. It is dangerous, yes, but Jacob has nothing to lose... Or so he thinks. Because of a simple mistake, Jacob's brother Will has followed him over. And what's worse is Will has been clawed by a stone man, a Goyl, and now Will's skin is slowly turning to stone. Jacob must do everything he can before his kind and gentle brother turns completely into a stone man, heart and all.

I've loved Cornelia Funke's books ever since I read Inkheart "that fateful day" a few years ago. Since then, I've read everything of hers I can get my hands on. Almost every book has been absolutely incredible; only one has been a disappointment (Dragon Rider). I preordered Reckless six months ago, hoping it would be another classic like the Inkbooks...

In a way it was wonderful, and in a way it was not. I'll list the bad first.
First thing: I didn't love the translation. I wish wish wish Anthea Bell had translated this one (she translated the Inkbooks), but it was Oliver Latsch.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Paimbia on May 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
OK, when I got the free edition for Kindle I didn't realize I was only getting part of the book. There is no clue as to when the entire book may be purchased and that is disappointing. The book lets you become involved with the story right away. There is no long drawn out beginning that makes you want to put the book down. I was so excited to see what would happen next! Suddenly I clicked the arrow to turn the page eating this story like it was the last meal ... when I got this cute note that says: coming September 14, 2010.
Well, September 14th has come and gone so how do I find out when the full book will be on kindle? I give it 5 stars and it's worth every one of them. I noticed one review said this wasn't her best work. If this isn't her best then I can't wait to read more of her books that's for sure!!!
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I did get the entire version, and WOW WOW WOW, What I can say is this is fantastic. I enjoyed the whole thing. What I want now is to read the books that will follow this story but as of yet I haven't found any. I am certain that there will be more due to the way this book was left. So, if anyone knows what the next book is titled, please mention it here okay?
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Christina (A Reader of Fictions) on November 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I started this book, I knew absolutely nothing about it, except that it was by Cornelia Funke. Mine is actually a signed copy! Much like with Inkheart, you can since Cornelia's true love of the written world, although here the character escapes into the world populated by fairy tale characters rather than bringing book characters into the real world. Also much like Inkheart, the book is very dark. None of the characters come through as shining examples of humanity; no one is perfect.

The story is interesting, and, I suspect, not over. The ending felt a bit abrupt, so I rather hope there is more to come. If it ends as is, I warn that it is not an entirely happy ending. The fairy tale world is populated with terrifying creatures from fairy tales, more of the original Grimm brothers' sort than Disney's sweet, happy kinds. This book, unlike her others, is not for children or, at least, it has not been written with them in mind. Although I believe it is being marketed to schools anyway, this book seems in a lot of ways best for adults or old teens.

The main weakness of the book for me lay in some of the construction. Funke chose to use an omniscient third person narrative. Although the character most closely followed is Jacob, other characters have chapters from what is essentially their perspective. There are frequent interjections in italics, which represent the thoughts of a certain character. Since she shows the thoughts of many of the characters at various points, she has to clarify which character is meant by including the name of the character in question each time. This means that every couple of pages there will be a thought like this one: "Impatience, Jacob. Say it as it is. After all, it's one of your most prominent character traits.
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