Inkspell by Cornelia Funke is the second installment of the Young Adult Fantasy series of novels about Inkworld. While Inkheart deals with characters from Inkworld who have come into our world, the story of Inkspell actually takes place entirely in Inkworld.
All the major characters of Inkheart – Mo, Meggie, Dustfinger, Farid, are sent back into Inkworld, where they have to fight to save themselves from the villainous Adderhead. The villains Basta and Mortola return to Inkworld as well and make life difficult for Mo and co.
The book is an easy, though not quick read. It follows a similar pacing and narrative style to Inkheart. The book starts slowly, moves quickly through the middle, and then inexplicably (I really wanted a charged climax) slows down towards the end.
There are some places where I found Inkspell superior to Inkheart:
- The characterizations of Meggie, Mo, and Resa are a bit more detailed – they were pretty much caricatures in Inkheart. Basta and Mortola remain as one-sided as before though.
- The action moving to Inkworld provides good opportunities to describe the world of Inkworld. Although, I must say that there could have been better and more imaginative descriptions.
I did feel the book got bogged down in quite a few places. Also, Cornelia’s writing is very repetitive. Too many references to beating hearts, and too many forebodings of doom. The plot also seems to be too long drawn-out (same as Inkheart). Both these books could have been edited more thoroughly.
I also find it hard to imagine why Fenoglio (he is the creator of Inkworld) had to write such complicated scripts to resolve the situation, when much simpler options could have been possible. (Okay, this is very difficult to explain but Fenoglio can change the way events occur simply by writing a script, Meggie then reads it out loud to set the events into motion). Quite a bit of God-playing here!
There are some portions of the book (and these deal mainly with a love for books) that are simply so well-written…
Take a look at this excerpt:
But her old friends, the books Meggie had already owned before they had moved in with Elinor, still lived in the box, and when she opened the heavy lid it was almost as if half-forgotten voices met her ears and familiar faces were looking at her. How well worn they all were . . . “Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?” Mo had said when, on Meggie’s last birthday, they were looking at all her dear old books again. “As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells . . . and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower . . both strange and familiar.”
Very beautiful, no? I wish there had been more of the same.