Cornelia Funke – Reckless

Author: Cornelia Funke

Series: Restless [presumably]
Title: Reckless
Published: September 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown
Length: 394 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Target age: Preteen
Why I picked it up: Written by one of my favourite authors
Rating: 4 stars
Buy: Chapters | Barnes and Noble | Check your local bookstore!

The first time I heard of Reckless was when I saw it in the store. I purchased it immediately. Cornelia Funke is one of two authors (that other being Neil Gaiman) that I aspire to be half as good as. I became hooked on Inkheart and devoured the rest of the series, buying the next two books on the days they were released. Unlike The Atlantis Complex, Funke’s new book, about a man who has been disappearing into a magical world since he was a boy only now to have his younger brother follow him into this realm with catastrophic results, did not disappoint.

This is how books for children or preteens or whatever you call them should be written. The characters are all adults dealing with serious problems (well, ‘serious’, you know, serious in the fantasy world…bahh, I don’t know how to explain this). The story does not feel dumbed down or censored for children. If I had read this when I was 11, I would have been very very happy with this book. If only I had been more aware of books like this when I was growing up. It is still a book meant for preteens, let’s be clear about that. And it’s not a book adults will enjoy in the same way they enjoyed Harry Potter. Perhaps the best way to describe it is as a grown-up book for kids who aren’t grown-up. I’m not really sure…I’ve never come across a book like this before, in case you haven’t noticed, haha.

I love how adaptations of Grimm fairy tales are worked in seamlessly. The allusions to Sleeping Beauty? Perfect. I love the portrayal fairies; I love terrifying and powerful fairies, so I might be slightly biased there. I also love the portrayal of witches; I love magical beings that are hinted at but never quite seen, so the reader can imagine their own stories about them. I love the Tailor. Edward Scissorhands for young fantasy readers. The writing style did not disappoint. I look to Neil Gaiman for story inspiration and to Cornelia Funke for style inspiration. This book has earned its place next to Inkdeath.

The only complaint I have was one that was minor for me but may be more significant for someone who’s looking to get a completely satisfying story. The story starts off rather abruptly and so many things are hinted at, at times it felt like Reckless was the second book in a series. And maybe the characters weren’t exceptional. Most of them weren’t anything too special. But I wasn’t reading for an outstanding plot or insightful characters, I was reading for writing style and just a general good time and I definitely came away from the book satisfied in that department. =) Just remember that this is a children’s book and I think you’ll have a rather enjoyable reading experience.