Reread Review: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Author: Cornelia Funke
Title: Inkheart
Series: Inkheart #1
Format/Source: eBook/Library (oh how I missed my hardcover!)
Published: 2003
Publisher: Chicken House
Length: 534 pages
Genre: Fantasy 
Read If You: Love reading, like the premise/don’t mind reading to get to the next two books
Rating ★★★★½
Links: GoodReads IndieBound Chapters | Amazon

Sixth book for the Reread Challenge

WHEN I First Read – I remember being in grade five…I must have read it not long after it was released, in 2003 or 2004.

WHAT I Remember – I’ve read this book so many times it’s difficult to recall my first impression of it. I remember most of the plot, and that I loved the prose. A particular feeling after reading the book for the first time that I do remember, however, is wanting to catalogue my own private library, inspired solely by Elinor. I remember feeling physically ill reading the chapter when Elinor finds her library decimated. That scene was just as awful for me this time around! I also thought being a bookbinder would be an excellent profession and I wondered how I could go about becoming one. In general I remember enjoying the second book more, but I like to read all three together 😉

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read I planned to reread the trilogy this year because it had been a few years. I picked it up in July because I was so bored at work, yet feeling overwhelmed by preparing to leave Japan – I wanted something fantastical yet familiar.

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading Very satisfied, but a little surprised at how quickly Capricorn’s demise comes about once Meggie starts reading. I didn’t remember that (I also forgot that Basta survives, hah). Something else I’m finding interesting is how my impression of Dustfinger has shifted since I first read the book. For many years I imagined him to be a dwarf-like character, quite a bit older than Mo. (I think this idea was influenced somehow by Mulch from Artemis Fowl and characters from Bruce Coville’s The Unicorn Chronicles.) Then for awhile I had the impression of him that Funke actually described. This time around, for some reason, he was that older character I had initially pictured. Who knows what he’ll be like next time around! I did feel this time that I could understand better why my friends who tried to read this book didn’t like it…I’m not sure how much it would appeal to someone who doesn’t already love books and stories.

WOULD I Re-Read Again – Yes, yes, yes. I keep rereading the books I’ve always loved so I’m always giving the same answer! I haven’t lived long enough to have a ‘gap’ in my memory. Perhaps if I don’t reread this for 20 years I may feel differently when returning to it…but I hope I don’t ever leave it alone for that long!!

NerdCon: Stories

NerdCon is here to celebrate the enthusiasm of the Nerd! We want to capture some of the most important and exciting cultural institutions in physical spaces. We started on this goal in 2010 when we launched VidCon, but it just wasn’t enough for us. Now, NerdCons celebrating all sorts of important, fascinating, and vital things will arise. We are starting with NerdCon: Stories.

Next week I’m heading to Minneapolis to attend Nerdcon:Stories! I’ll make the trip down with my best friend and my sister. This trip excites for me a number of reasons – first trip with my friend, first trip with my sister and without parents, first road trip without parents in North America, first trip to the States by myself, first trip to the States in many years! (Caveat: Exchange rate ;_;)

Of course the con itself excites me the most. Attending the local Comic-con at home has always been one of the highlights of my year. I’m pumped to attend a different convention, one that has the same focus as my blog – stories! Here are some of the panels I’m looking forward towards:

  •  Adaptation into Alternative Media: But They Changed the Thing I Love!
  • The Benefits of Diverse Stories
  • Welcome to Night Vale Panel and Q&A
  • But It’s Just a Story: The Moral Responsibility of the Storyteller
  • Tropes, Misinformation, and Stereotypes: How to Identify & Avoid When Writing Outside Your Experience

Those last two panels are at the same time! D: Which one should I attend? 

On a side note, I’ve been a nerdfighter for eight years (!!) now. I met Hank Green a couple years ago at Summer in the City. Being able to thank him for his videos over the years gave me an incredible feeling, so I can only imagine how I’ll feel being able to attend a panel featuring him and John!

Tickets are still available if this has piqued you’re interest and you’re in the region. Are you attending NerdCon? Would you like to be attending?

Family Reads: The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy

 Welcome to September’s Family Reads! Family Reads is a monthly feature where my mom, dad or sister and I read and discuss a book. Posts with a link-up go live around the last Sunday of each month, so feel free to grab the banner and join in however you like.

Reno: Reunited! This month, my sister and I conducted the first side-by-side Family Reads. We’re shaking things up with a graphic novel, selected because we couldn’t finish our first choice on time now that we’re once again busy with school and work…Sister recommended this one to me. Scott Snyder’s name on it piqued my interest, as I was only familiar with his work on Batman, which I enjoyed.

Sister: Once again, I was looking through the graphic novels section at work (my usual method for discovering new books!) and I stumbled across this one. I liked the art and the back description sounded really cool.

Sister gives this book 4 stars and I give it 3 stars. A graphic novel turned out to be a great choice for our first read with us living under the same roof because we could look at the art, flip through the book and reread parts together. This book turned out to be similar to Annihilation in that we didn’t really know what it was all about! You’ll get more out of this discussion if you’ve read the book (spoilers ahead!). Here is our discussion on the art style, Lee + Leeward, and the somewhat confounding conclusion.

On the art:

Sister: I thought the layout demonstrated creative but sometimes confusing.
Reno: Yeah, the panelling around when Leeward confronts the Governess towards the end was difficult for me to follow.
Sister: I loved the colouring, though.
Reno: I preferred the colours for the first half, although I think both halves were coloured to suit the story. I liked the darker colours and the deep blues. There were more warm hues in the second half, but I personally like my comics to be dark like grim Batman.

On the Lees:

Reno: I liked the first part more. Archer was my favourite character.
Sister: Same here. I feel like we had more time with her, got to know her personally a bit better, whereas I felt we didn’t know a lot about Leeward because she was too busy doing things.
Reno: Being introduced to Leeward, the first thing I thought was, “Why the name?” I think there’s more to her than was made clear in the story…
Sister: She’s totally a descendant of Archer’s! She even uses eye drops.
Reno: Yeah, and I think there was further elaboration near the end that I didn’t pick up on.

On the conclusion: 

Sister: I generally liked the comic and would reread it for that reason, but mostly I’d read it to clarify the ending.
Reno: Yeah, I think I had the same experience as you. I was pulled into reading, the story was clipping along, then I came to this info dump that felt like “bam bam bam bam everything explained” and I was left wondering “Wait…” What did you think was explained at the end?
Sister: …I don’t know. It’s kind of like…the Mers… they have this heaven but it’s not heaven and they’re showing it to people…uh, I don’t know, let’s be real, I’m not sure.
Reno: Okay, I don’t understand that part either, haha, so let’s look at the bigger picture. I think…humans are aliens – that much I got. And they spread their seed, sometimes they grow, sometimes they don’t, but they forget about it because their tears are weird. I don’t know if the Mers were original creatures or a false start of humanity.
Sister: Lee Archer’s explanation right at the beginning (about Mers being humans) confused me because I really liked and believe that explanation, so it was hard for me to let go of that idea – to accept that it wasn’t fact and was just one character’s opinion.
Reno: That’s another thing I wasn’t sure about. Are the Mers intelligent creatures? Why do they want to destroy us all the time? Is it because we invaded their homeland? Why are they ‘collecting’ people? I think it was explained but I didn’t get it…I also don’t get why the government is evil. I know the government is always ‘evil’ but usually there’s a ‘reason’ why.
Sister: I think the government thinks that pursuing the broadcast will lead to trouble from stirring up whatever’s down below.
Reno: I thought the story was great until we got to the end and I didn’t know what was happening… Probably we should have re-read the ending before this chat!
Sister: So Archer has just been floating in this dark space for 200 years with other…somethings. People? I think some of the reason that part was hard to understand was because Leeward was taken to the ship and the storytelling jumps between when Leeward was with Archer and when she’s presently on the ship. 
*We finally decide to go over the conclusion together. After a close re-reading of Archer’s conversation with Leeward, here is what we think was explained.*
Seeds (something akin to God, rather than sent out by humans) scatter across the universe. Sometimes humans grow from those seeds. Humans began to grow on Earth, already home to Mers. (This part we’re not sure about – we’re not certain what ‘grows’ and whether Mers were already there or were a false start to humans.) Humans being humans destroyed the more developed Mers, leaving only a more ‘primitive’ form. Humans cry to forget the terrible thing they did, but the Mers don’t want to let humans forget. When humans were on the verge of completely forgetting, the Mers shook them up, as if to say “Hey, we’re STILL here, remember!”

After all that discussion and reviewing, we still felt we only understood a part of what we were meant to, if we understood that at all! This contrasts to our experience with Annihilation, where we didn’t feel like we were meant to understand anything.  Have you read The Wake? Did you find it as confusing as we did, or were we missing something? If you’ve written a Family Reads post this month, add your link here.