Friday, September 21, 2012

Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke is a German author who became internationally known for her first book The Thief Lord. Since then she has written several fantasy novels and a couple of picture books that have done very well.  With this book she has clearly moved into the teen genre. This is darker and edgier than any of her other books I have read.  Jacob Reckless' father disappeared when Jacob was just a boy.  When Jacob was a pre-teen he discovered that a mirror in his father's office leads to another world.  When the main action of the story starts, Jacob has been moving between the two worlds for several years, sometimes living in the real world, but in many ways preferring the mirror world. The mirror world holds the fairy tale stories and legends from this world, but they don't necessarily have happy endings.  Jacob works as a treasure finder, recovering glass slippers, Rapunzel hair, and other magical items for wealthy customers. One day Jacob's little brother follows him into the mirror world, and is poisoned by an evil fairy.  The throughout the rest of the book Jacob tries to discover a way to keep his brother from turning into a stone creature because of the fairy's poison. Jacob has a girl friend who can shape shift into a fox. Jacob's brother, Will, also has a girl friend who follows him into the mirror world.  The relationships between the four main characters are complicated and interesting. The politics of the mirror world are also interesting, and readers will recognize repeated references to twisted fairy tales.  One reason the book is not really appropriate for grade school age children is that there are several references to Jacob's affairs with several female characters, but it is all on the level of innuendo. Overall it wasn't a bad fantasy read, but I liked some of Funke's other books better. (394 p) 

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