Megan shoved this book at me while I was trudging along with Sons and Lovers, and told me I "had" to read it. This isn't the first time she's done this with a Cornelia Funke novel - last year, she bought a copy of Dragon Rider with a bookstore gift certificate, and urged me to read it for months before I finally picked it up. I'm pleased to see that, in spite of her current manga obsession, Megan still has a knack for choosing well-told children's fantasy novels.
Inkheart is the story of Meggie, a twelve-year old bookworm, and her father, Mo, a book restorer. If you have ever wondered what it would be like if characters from a book came to life and tried to live in the real world, you'll want to read this book, as that is exactly what Meggie learns about during the course of this exciting story. In fact, Meggie discovers that her father has a very special book-related ability (aside from restoration) that affects the lives of quite a few people, both real and fictional.
I found this book quite as good as any adult fantasy novel. The story is fast-paced, the villians are evil and quick-witted, the protagonists are brave but real. The book was a bit slow to pick up - Megan felt that nothing really happened for the first hundred pages or so - and there are places where the storytelling is a little uneven, dragging on a bit too much and I felt that the writing could have been tightened up somewhat. The wording is sometimes a little "off" too and I wonder if this is related to the book having been originally written in German; sometimes I felt the descriptions didn't quite ring true and that the characters' motivation was not 100% believable. (To be honest, I felt that one of the major characters, Elinor, should have been cut from the book altogether... she really didn't do anything to move the plot forward!) However, these passages were more than compensated for by the storytelling, which Funke excels at. Besides, I loved reading a book about a family even more obsessed with books than I am.