The Chickenhouse UK, translated from the German by Anthea Bell, English translation copyright 2003. 543 pages.
Writing stories may be a kind of magic, but storytelling is also an entirely kind of skill and magic in itself. This is learned so by Meggie Folchart, a 12-year old booklover. Her father, Mortimer, is a book restorer, whose extraordinary talent in storytelling has involuntarily dragged out characters from the darkbook, “Inkheart” into the real world.
They soon find themselves abducted by Capricorn and his Black Jacket men–villain characters from “Inkheart” who are demanding to be read back into their ‘story world’.
But its not as simple as a group of bad guys who cannot read wanting to have their bedtime story. Capricorn (Boss BOSS of the bad guys) wants the darkest unmentionable character in the story to be brought out into the real world.
Also, if stories were not read properly, wrong characters would be drawn–that, or you get the right character, but they emerge with ‘defects’. On top of that, everytime you call out a character from a book, a person from the real world takes its place. (Which is what happened to Meggie’s mother).
With the help of an eccentric book collecter aunt, a mysterious and burly fire-eater, and a young Arab boy from ‘The Arabian Nights”, and Inkheart’s author–Meggie and Mortimer involuntarily enters an adventure–where a story within a story unfolds.
As a young adult book, “Inkheart” is very adventure packed (500+ pages of action) and has an undeniably ingenious and original concept.
I’m not entirely sure if tis a case of things being different or could be a case of things being lost in translation but the narration can sometimes be too dragging with its description and details. Also, a bit of discretion with the chapter titles could help so as not to give away the chapter plot. (for instance, a chapter titled “Meggie Disappears into the Night” takes away the exciting factor).
“Inkheart” is the first of the ‘INKWORLD’ trilogy (Inkspell and Inkdeath) and is also a major motion picture starring Brendan Fraser.
Author Cornelia Funke, touted as the German J.K Rowling (?)