Reckless was one of those books that I bought ages ago and for some reason didn’t pick up until now.  To be honest, I was intrigued enough to buy it, but didn’t have high expectations.  I read the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke, which I liked but didn’t love, so I had lukewarm feelings about trying another of her books.

I’m happy to report that this book was much better than I expected it to be!  I think Funke has lots of good ideas, but I’m not always a fan of her writing style.  I’m big on developing emotional connections with characters – I need to feel some empathy and connection.  I haven’t found that connection yet in any of the books by Funke I’ve read, and this is no exception.  I do think that the Reckless story suits the sort of emotionally detached (or maybe just in denial) Jacob, and it didn’t bother me as much in this book.  Maybe this detachment is a result of the book being translated from the original German?

Jacob Reckless discovers the Mirrorworld as a boy – and finds that this place where fairy tales are true (and more sinister) is a refuge from the real world.  Jacob escapes into the mirror whenever possible – escaping his ill mother and younger brother, Will, and forgetting that they were deserted by their father.  Jacob manages to keep the mirror a secret for years, until one day Will finds and follows him into the mirrorworld.  Unfortunately the mirrorworld is a dangerous place and Will falls under a sinister curse.  With his skin changing quickly to stone, Will is becoming a Goyl.  Aided by Will’s girlfriend Clara, and his loyal friend, Fox, Jacob races against time, trying to save his brother.  This desperate mission throws them against the dark and dangerous aspects of the mirrorworld and it’s inhabitants.  Jacob is determined to save his little brother, even when the task seems impossible.

I liked:

  • the action-packed story
  • the various fairy-tale type characters you meet (e.g. unicorns, fairies, goyl, dwarves)
  • the various objects that recall other fairy-tales (e.g. the golden ball, rapunzel hair, seven-league boots)
  • the dark / sinister view of fairy tales (which I feel is pretty true to the gory original stories)
  • the loyalty Jacob feels for his brother
  • that despite it ending on a little bit of unfinished business, it did have a conclusion.
  • that there is a sequel: Fearless.

I did not enjoy:

  • that it was hard to relate to the characters – they were emotionally distant for me (which was a bit surprising because they are clearly going through some very trying times).
  • that Jacob seems to treat the important people in his life … less than spectacularly.  He seems like a decent guy at heart, but he often seemed cold and brusque.
  • the twisty threads of the love stories.  I like a good love story, and there were some lines that were kind of blurred / crossed.  None of the relationships between characters felt deep, even though they were supposed to be.

All told, it was definitely well worth reading and I did quite enjoy the book.   4 / 5

I look forward to the next Reckless book (Fearless).


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Filed under Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult Books

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