Thursday, November 17, 2016

Review: RECKLESS:The Petrified Flesh by Cornelia Funke

Title: RECKLESS: The Petrified Flesh
Author: Cornelia Funke
Rating: 5 stars!

Image result for petrified flesh cover

Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father's abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He's also made many enemies and allies — most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.

But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl — a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.

Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell — before it's too late.

The first book in Cornelia Funke's Reckless Series/MirrorWorld Series (I refer to it as both) has had some changes. A reboot, if you want to call it. Once referred to as only RECKLESS, it is now titled RECKLESS: the Petrified Flesh. It also has an absolutely gorgeous new cover. Not many people get to read their favorite book with new words in it. I was so excited and very anxious to actually read it. I'd also like to state that I am awful with reviews. So, I'm going to kind of ramble about the things I liked.

The story-line remains the same, but a good bit has changed with the dialogue and actions of the characters. They have more life to them. We had an idea of these characters in the original version of the first book, but now you can almost hear them breathing through the pages. While reading TPF, I found myself empathizing and even liking some of the characters that I didn't really care much about in the first one. The characters really shined in the second and third books, but it's nice to see that their sparkle is now very clear in their debut book as well!

The world-building and storytelling in this book alone is so incredible. It was so easy to get lost among the walls of the ruin, the shadows of the Hungry Forest, and the Underground Fortress of the Goyl. There is no other place in any book series I'd rather go than the MirrorWorld. (I'm sure family members and friends of mine are gasping because Hogwarts is a special place to me, but sorry guys, the MirrorWorld is my home.) You can turn to any page, and find a beautifully crafted sentence. I sometimes re-read a paragraph or a sentence multiple times because of the sheer beauty of it.

Oddly enough, for the Reckless Series to be my favorite book series ever, I was never really a fan of our main hero. This isn't uncommon with me, though. I usually find a side character and stick with them to the very end. This time, I actually really liked Jacob Reckless. He felt real this time around. His love for his brother and Fox, and his desperation to keep them safe, really shone through. He had a lot more depth.

From everything I've seen from people who've read the books, Fox is the fan favorite. She's a feisty teenage girl who can shape-shift into a vixen. She is both Jacob's strength and weakness, and he'd probably be dead if it wasn't for her. I like that no skin is permanent in this book.

"If fur turns to skin, and skin to stone, what remains?"  <That line alone felt very powerful to me. In the MirrorWorld, nothing is permanent.

Throughout the book, we see Will Reckless transform into a Goyl (a race of humanoid people made of stone), and it wasn't just his skin that transformed, but who he was as a person. The reader watches as this mild-tempered, loving guy turns into living sacred stone, and it's incredible. I'm much more a fan of the Goyl characters than I am the humans, which isn't common in the MirrorWorld fandom.

The Dark Fairy was not one of my favorites, but she really grew on me while I was reading the second and third books. However, I really, really felt for her in this book. While love made Jacob strong, it weakened the Dark Fairy. She'd do anything for Kami'en, and she let her defenses down, and later on in the series that's going to hurt her a lot.

I love the King of the Goyl, Kami'en, but I want to slap him in his carnelian face. That's all I'm going to say.

Hentzau. I have loved no book character the way I do Hentzau. If he was a real person, I would absolutely despise him, but he connected with me at a time when real people couldn't. His disbelief in fairy-tales and happy endings won me over. He comes across as very....mean. However, he is extremely loyal and would do anything for the people he loves. Even give his own life. His strength and courage is something that isn't easy to match. He and Jacob may just be the most resilient book characters I've ever read.

The book is fantastic. If you've read the original, I suggest you read this version of it because it made me love the book even more and maybe it will you too. If you read the original and thought it lacked, then definitely pick this one up. It'll change your mind. If you've read neither version, what are you waiting for??


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I'm okay. I can breathe.

Alright, let's talk about that thing I always talk about. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know of my - I don't really wanna say the O word because it sounds scary- deep, deep love of a certain book. I'm sure a lot of you either think I'm crazy, or you probably just overlook me and think 'Emily is talking about Reckless/Hentzau again.' 

I understand I must seem a little crazy...and - the dreaded O word - obsessed, but I want to give you a look back into to mid-2012 to early Nov.  No, let's go back to about 2007. You're 14. You start dating one of your best friends boyfriend's best friend. You're a stupid, young teenager and you're just excited to have a boyfriend. Things start out okay (don't they always?) for the most part. Within two months, things aren't so great, but still you have a boyfriend and all your other friends want one and you feel special. Things get worse and you turn to books for comfort because the best friend you mentioned earlier has decided to write you off because you're too depressed and sad and she just doesn't think she can be around you anymore because she's just ended her depression and you may bring it back with your sadness. So, you jump into the Harry Potter series, and for some reason, your 14/15 year old brain latches on to Sirius Black. He becomes your happy point. You have every Sirius Black quote memorized from the books and the movies. You mourn his death more than you do your own grandfather's because it gives you a physical pain to read those words because it's like visualizing someone diving deep into your bloodstream, finding every happy cell and lighting them on fire. But you still have the books. You still have happiness a little because you can go back and smile and be happy because those words won't betray you. They're there and you know them by heart and when your boyfriend is emotionally abusing you and making you feel like you are less than nothing, you can look back and quote those words and find something to smile about. 

2009. You're 16. You don't need Sirius anymore. You've found happiness in a boy that has real flesh and blood. He's nice. He makes you smile. He makes you feel like you're special. All those things the last real flesh and blood boy said to and about you mean nothing. Everything is great. Until that October when he kisses his ex-girlfriend on a band field trip and you find out about it from his best friend. All those walls you allowed to come down are all suddenly back up. You're hurt. All those things the last guy said to and about you rush back to your mind and once again, you are nothing. You stay, though. He says it won't happen again. You don't trust him, though. You know better than to stay, but you do it anyway. Once again you find happiness in books. A few weeks before you go to your school's library, you watch a movie with your sister titled Inkheart. You think the movie is kind of cool. The idea of characters being able to come out of books? That's definitely what you need right now. You find the trilogy by Cornelia Funke in your school's library and read all 3 of the books in 2 days. You can breathe again. Your happiness now finds the form of a knife-thrower with a tame bear. The Black Prince. Your real flesh and blood boy doesn't make you happy. You don't know why you're staying, but you feel guilty for wanting out because you've wanted to be with him for so long, but he's not the kind of person you want to be with anymore. He's lied. Multiple times. You don't really care, though. You're too busy highlighting in your Inkdeath book every single time the Black Prince is mentioned. When your world starts spiraling and you're ready to jump in front of a speeding bus, you pick up your book and find any page with a highlighted section. You're okay. You can breathe. 

2012. You don't need the Black Prince anymore. You ended the relationship with the boyfriend over 2 years ago. You have also cut ties with someone who has been your best-friend and lifeline for 10 years. Sure, the friendship had been deteriorating for the last 2 years, but you put up a good facade and went through the routine. The ending to an amazing friendship was very unclimatic. One day, the two of you just stopped talking. Now, you're pretty much friendless, and let's face it, you've never had an easy time making friends. Having to introduce yourself to someone makes you want to vomit, crawl into a corner, and cry your eyes out. You're being forced to go to a school you really, really don't want to go to. You have no say over ANYTHING that is going on in your life. You don't want to eat. You're not getting much sleep. You haven't talked to your dad in six months. Everything in you feels dead. You're basically just a body. No emotion. No feeling. Nothing. If someone told you that the world was going to end tomorrow, you'd just shrug your shoulders and sit outside to watch the comets destroy you. It's late November and you've been like this since May. You were late for one of your college classes and pretty much nothing has gone right. It's raining so you run into the bookstore to kill some time because it's a 30 minute drive home. You get a Frappe from the coffee shop and roam the teen section. That's when you see a certain last name. FUNKE. You remember that spark of happiness from years ago. You scan the summary, and you know you have to get it. You have hardly any money to your name, but you have just enough. Your happiness takes a new form. You have feeling again. You don't feel alone anymore because a Japser Goyl "...had learned that the world made no sense and that there were no happy endings." For some reason you find comfort in that. Someone understands you. You're okay. You can breathe. 

I'm still okay. I can still breathe. So, yes, I cling very tightly to books. For four years, Reckless and Hentzau have been a great comfort to me. I'm excited to be able to read the book that brought me back to life with new words in a little over a month. Words cannot express my gratitude to the authors who wrote the characters who made me feel like I had a friend and that I never had to be alone. I may be crazy and obsessed, but I am alive. I am happy. I'm much more than okay.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review: Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

Title: Inkspell
Author: Cornelia Funke
Rating: 80 billion stars

Although a year has passed, not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of INKHEART, the book whose characters became real. But for Dustfinger, the fire-eater brought into being from words, the need to return to the tale has become desperate. When he finds a crooked storyteller with the ability to read him back, Dustfinger leaves behind his young apprentice Farid and plunges into the medieval world of his past. Distraught, Farid goes in search of Meggie, and before long, both are caught inside the book, too. But the story is threatening to evolve in ways neither of them could ever have imagined.

As I said in my last review, the Inkheart Trilogy gets better with every book! Inkspell was mind blowing. Cornelia Funke shows us how fragile mortality is in such a beautiful way as we watch one of our main characters struggle for his life and watch another lose his. The world inside of Fenoglio's book is one of the absolute best places ever. It's filled with not so wonderful behaving people (I'm looking at you Piper and Adderhead), but there are others who are incredible (the Black Prince!)

The plot is strung together as beautifully as all of Cornelia Funke's books are! Her books are (in my opinion) very character driven (which I love), and we are introduced to some very, very amazing characters. The Strolling Players and their "king", The Black Prince, are some of my all-time favorite characters. I absolutely adored the Prince and the Strong Man, and I often don't think readers give them enough credit. All of the old characters are back and just as lively and amazing as they were in the first book. I loved watching the relationship between Farid and Dustfinger grow. It really was as if Farid were Dustfinger’s son.

Often times, I wanted to slap Fenoglio. I liked his character, don't get me wrong, but he didn't always make the best choices. I liked Dustfinger in the first book, but I thought his character really shined in Inkspell. Maybe because he was back home, but he was epic. I actually don't like admitting this, but I kind of adored the Piper. He was deliciously evil, and I loved it (and to think he only gets worse in the third book!) I liked him as our vilian more than I did the Adderhead.

I did feel really bad for the Adderhead's daughter Violante, but she had a great friend in Dustfinger's daughter...even though that friendship was threatened at one point.

All I ever do in reviews in talk about my love of characters, but Cornelia Funke writes such amazing ones it's hard not to talk about them! Read the book, and you'll see what I'm talking about!

Review: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Inkheart was the first book I ever read by Cornelia Funke. It’s actually a rather funny story how I got into her books. My sister was dating this guy who had purchased the movie of Inkheart because he thought Nikki would like it. She in turn thought I would like it. After watching it, I came across the book in my school’s library (we had to read books and take tests on the computer for part of our grades in English. I got enough points from the trilogy that I was good for the rest of the year! Haha), and I decided to read it. I devoured it in three hours. It was absolutely incredible! The movie was good, but the book was just absolutely breathtaking.

Title: Inkheart
Author: Cornelia Funke
Rating: 5 stars

One cruel night, Meggie's father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART-- and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.

Cornelia Funke is definitely a master at storytelling. Her words can draw you in and make you feel as if your veins are nothing but the ink her books are printed with. I love the idea of a person who can read characters out of books (uhm, can I have Hentzau, please? Or just be sent to his world. Either works.)

Most people love Dustfinger, and I will admit, he was great, but I loved the young heroine Meggie. Cornelia Funke has always written her female characters beautifully (I’ve read a lot of books where the writer tries to make the female strong and they just come across as obnoxious.) The relationship with Meggie and Mo came off the page very well, and it made me wish that I actually had grown up with a father figure like Mo.

Her villians are always spot on as well. I don’t know if I feared Capricorn or Basta more! I'm pretty sure the Shadow gave some people nightmares as well, though!

 I loved, loved, loved Elinor. She was the greatest sassy, old bookworm I’ve ever read. I’m afraid I’m going to end up like her…except without the gorgeous library (because mine will just be filled with copies of the Mirrorworld series! With my two sets of the Inkheart Trilogy as well, of course.)

The plot was crazy fast, and you won’t want to put it down. You’ll be dying to jump into the next book…because, trust me, they only get more amazing.