Inkheart is a book about books and a book about the love of books – which made it sound like a Bookling sort of book to me! It is really intended for the young teen market however it caught my eye on my niece’s bookshelf so I liberated it. Although the first in a trilogy, Inkheart ties up enough lose ends to be enjoyed as a stand alone read.
The novel tells the story of Meggie (a twelve year old girl who really loves books) her father Mo, a book-binder, and a stranger named Dustfinger who shows up at their doorstep on a wet and windy night. Although it’s not revealed at the outset, Mo has the ability to bring characters from books into the real word by reading aloud. His talent comes at a price however as something from this world is always sent into the book in their place.
It is Mo’s fault that some of the evil characters from the titular book-in-a-book Inkheart are at large in this world and Meggie, Mo and Dustfinger (joined by Meggie’s book-obsessed great-aunt Elinor) set off to recover the last copy of Inkheart. Although I’d describe this as a magical tale, it is definitely not a Harry Potter clone – it’s set in modern Italy and inventively imagines what would happen if fully-formed fictional characters came to life.
One of my regrets about reading Inkspell was that I did not get to do so when I was the same age as Meggie as the younger me would have absolutely adored it and may possibly have given it a top ten place in her book box. The adult me noticed that the phrasing is occasionally slightly awkward but it’s hard to tell if this is as a result of the translation from the original German or not. The story itself is entertaining enough to smooth out any quibbles though and I did I stay up well past my bedtime on Sunday to finish it.
I enjoyed this book and would heartily recommend it to any young (or old) reader - although the villains are a bit scary so maybe not too young... I look forward to borrowing the second book in the trilogy, Inkspell, and the slightly ominously titled Inkdeath in when it’s published in April. It’s due to be released as a film starring Brendan Fraser later this year so get in before the hype does!