Monday, May 23, 2011

REVIEW: Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Beyond the mirror, the darkest fairy tales come alive. . . .

For years, Jacob Reckless has enjoyed the Mirrorworld’s secrets and treasures.

Not anymore.

His younger brother has followed him.

Now dark magic will turn the boy to beast, break the heart of the girl he loves, and destroy everything Jacob holds most dear. . . .

Unless he can find a way to stop it.

A review of this book was originally posted at Mostly Reading YA's blog for Translation month in April though I have made some alterations to it in order to highlight the book's fairy tale elements.

I have to admit, I've had Reckless by Cornelia Funke on my shelves unread since I bought it new and in hardback just after it was published. I heard that Cornelia Funke would be speaking at the Bath Children's Literary Festival last year and I wanted to have a copy for myself to read. Hearing her speak about her characters, some of her aims for the book and a bit about her writing process really had me excited to read the book. She spoke of reading the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and how her characters Jacob and Will are named after the Grimm brothers, which is something that I found quite interesting.

At the event in Bath, Cornelia Funke came out wearing this beautiful dress. She said that a costume designer had made is especially for her after reading an early draft of Reckless. It was made very intricately with lace and different fabrics in order to convey the magical atmosphere of Mirrorworld. Cornelia Funke spoke quite a bit about the 'flavour' of Mirrorworld that she was hoping to convey within the pages of Reckless, and after reading the book, I can say that the dress was absolutely perfect. There's something very grim and sinister about Mirrorworld.

Reckless by Cornelia Funke is the story of two brothers, Jacob and Will Reckless. After their father dies, Jacob, the older of the two brothers, discovers a magical world hidden behind a mirror in his father's office. This world is a place of magic, and mythical creatures. The fairy tales that we all know and love are real in this world, though very sinister and darker than you'd imagine them to be. For years, Jacob has travelled to this Mirrorworld, leaving behind his family and his fears for longer and longer stretches of time, instead choosing to live in this world of fantasy. That is, until one day Will follows him and is cursed by the Black Fairy. This curse is slowly turning into Will into goyl, his skin hardening into stone.

Jacob, together with the vixen, Fox, and Clara, the girl who is in love with Will, travel on this dangerous race-against-time in order to save Will from transforming into stone forever. This journey will take them into the forest, where a hideous Tailor, dressed in the skin of his victims hunts them and to Sleeping Beauty's castle where the princess still lies waiting for her true love's kiss. Mirrorworld is in a perilous time, a war brewing between fairies and goyl and Will as the Jade Goyl plays a pivotal role.

Though Reckless is a little slow to begin and it may be hard to find your feet immediately within its pages, it is quite an exciting read. With Will slowing losing his humanity and Jacob taking greater and greater risks in order to save his little brother, I felt like there was great urgency moving the story along. I think the gloomy atmosphere of Mirrorworld that is created through the dark aspects of the magic that lives there is balanced nicely with the love of Clara for Will and the devotion of Fox. By the end of the novel, I began to really feel emotionally invested in these main characters despite there not being much development as you would expect for the first book in the series.

I'm really quite glad I read Reckless and I look forward to where Cornelia Funke will take this story next.


  1. This sounds like a great read, I love books about brothers.

  2. This sounds fantastic! I'll be looking out for it at the library.

  3. I enjoyed this too and I agree with you that it was a bit slow to start with but it sure did feel like a fairytale story. Whilst I preferred her Inkheart triolgy I'm still looking forward to seeing what happens to Will and Jacob :)

    Great review and interesting to hear she connected it to the Grimm brothers!

  4. Jenni - Oh I adore books about brothers as well, especially having two sons of my own.

    Cliona - It is really good, I really enjoy Cornelia Funke's books!

    TLO - Oh I think I preferred the Inkheart books as well, but I'm absolutely intrigued to see where the story will go with Will and Jacob! And Fox!


HI! Thank you for leaving a comment, you've just become my new best friend :)