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Inkheart Hardcover – October 1, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 913 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Inkworld Series

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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$16.45 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 13 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Meggie’s father, Mo, has an wonderful and sometimes terrible ability. When he reads aloud from books, he brings the characters to life--literally. Mo discovered his power when Maggie was just a baby. He read so lyrically from the the book Inkheart, that several of the book’s wicked characters ended up blinking and cursing on his cottage floor. Then Mo discovered something even worse--when he read Capricorn and his henchmen out of Inkheart, he accidentally read Meggie’s mother in.

Meggie, now a young lady, knows nothing of her father's bizarre and powerful talent, only that Mo still refuses to read to her. Capricorn, a being so evil he would "feed a bird to a cat on purpose, just to watch it being torn apart," has searched for Meggie's father for years, wanting to twist Mo's powerful talent to his own dark means. Finally, Capricorn realizes that the best way to lure Mo to his remote mountain hideaway is to use his beloved, oblivious daughter Meggie as bait!

Cornelia Funke’s imaginative ode to books and book lovers is sure to be enjoyed by fans of her breakout debut, The Thief Lord, and young readers who enjoyed the similarly themed The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley. (Ages 10 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie, 12, has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. Things change after a visit from a scarred man who calls himself Dustfinger and who refers to Mo as Silvertongue. Meggie learns that her father has been keeping secrets. He can "read" characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released Dustfinger and other characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie's mother disappeared into the story. Mo also released Capricorn, a sadistic villain who takes great pleasure in murdering people. He has sent his black-coated henchmen to track down Mo and intends to force him to read an immortal monster out of the story to get rid of his enemies. Meggie, Mo, Dustfinger, and Meggie's great-aunt Elinor are pursued, repeatedly captured, but manage to escape from Capricorn's henchmen as they attempt to find the author of Inkheart in the hope that he can write a new ending to the story. This "story within a story" will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters. Pair this title with Roderick Townley's The Great Good Thing (2001) and Into the Labyrinth (2002, both Atheneum) for a wonderful exploration of worlds within words.
Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House; First Edition edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439531640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439531641
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (913 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christina Watson on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I orginally bought this book for my daughter to read, but I ended up devouring the book in a day. The imagery that the author uses is vivid. The idea that someone could actually read characters out of a book grabbed me right away- truly a Pandora's box.

The plot has a great layout first making you wonder 'just what is this book really about?' The hook is set and the couriosity activated with the musings of Meggie as to her Father's unusual actions and the appearence of an odd stranger that seems to know her father quite well. As more was revealed I was enveloped by the ethical or moral dilema of Mo, Meggie and the other characters on the good team that are in fact responsible for tossing the snowball down the hill in the first place.

I was excited to see the next book in the series and devoured it just as quickly. I anxiously await the next book as well as the movie I have heard is in the making.

If you like a fanasty book set in modern day Earth, like the Harry Potter books (among others) then I highly recomend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Although I haven't read the author's previous work, The Thief Lord, I eagerly delved into Inkheart. The book's size, a staggering 534 pages, didn't faze me because the pacing was so expertly achieved. The book felt like it was made of only around 200 pages. Cornelia Funke constructs her sentences beautifully, transporting readers instantly to Elinor's Italian house, Capricorn's abandoned Italian village, and even somewhat Meggie and Mo's house. The characters seem as though they were real, and I enjoyed the charming references to some of Meggie's favorite books, several of which I have also read. One of these amusing references is to Lord of the Rings, referred to as the "hairy-footed people's quest" in Inkheart. This is truly the book lover's book, because unless you've read the book or seen the movie or are extremely clever, you couldn't guess it. This novel keeps you guessing until the very end of the book when the stunning conclusion grabs you and won't let go. I look forward to more stunning works from Cornelia Funke in the future!
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By A Customer on November 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
From the very first pages of this wonderfully well constructed tale, to the very last page, I was hooked. The words of the author evoke wonderfully clear pictures in the reader's mind and the air of suspense is maintained without terrifying younger readers. I would reccommend this book to any reader from fifth grade to adult. The characters were believable and, as a reader, I cared what happened to them. The reverence for books made it doubly rewarding. ...
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Format: Hardcover
We liked this one even better than Funke's most recent work, "The Thief Lord." Inkheart's premise is even more engaging: Meggie's dad, a bookbinder, is so marvelous at reading out loud that many years ago he "read" the villain Capricorn from a book called "Inkheart" into reality. The villain then kidnapped Meggie's mom. Meggie and her dad must find them and trick them back into the book.
Although Inkheart is a long book (500+ pages), Funke establishes the thrills and the threat in the book's premise almost immediately, on a dark and stormy night and the day following when Meggie and her dad first try to make their escape. The narrative continues to an isolated village in Italy where Meggie encounters a menagerie of minor evil characters who have also escaped from the book.
Meggie is an engaging and spunky heroine that will appeal to both boy and girl readers.
A nice feature of the book is its general love for books - dad Mo is a bookbinder, aunt Elinor is a book collector with a huge library. Clearly Funke is not a lightweight trying to cash in on the Harry Potter fantasy kick; she conveys her love of books and language in a way that will enthuse any reader from 8 to 80.
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Format: Paperback
The premise of this book sounds very exciting - an everyday father reads aloud from books, which he loves and restores, and finds that some of the characters shift into this world, while something from this world gets shifted into the world of the story. Sadly, he loses his wife this way and is left to raise his daughter (Meggie) alone, fleeing from the "evil" Capricorn.

The reader learns all of these facts in exposition, not live action!!! A very important distinction, because this story, while having a great idea, fails to execute it in a way that evokes magic or drama.

The author plainly loves words and stories and is masterful at sensory details, so the first chapters draw you in. But her plot is annoying at best. What you get in the first chapter is the same as the rest - a lot of thinking and talking, but very little doing. Many many many pages are devoted to the characters driving from one house to another, or escaping from a village on foot through trails and bemoaning the fact that it's cold, they're tired, and there are snakes, oh dear, but hey, snakes don't come out at night, so who cares that there are snakes? This is literally explained to us by the characters. Or they spend lots of time shut up in a room, complaining about the lack of freedom.

The problem is the author forgot about story structure. She makes Meggie and her father the protatonists when the theme of the story (displaced characters) is best portrayed by the characters who were shifted out of their world, namely, Meggie's mother and Dustfinger. Dustfinger is by far the most interesting character and the only one with any kind of character arc. I guess the author thought a childrens' book has to be told from the child's point of view, but Meggie is a very passive character.
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