Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Book 32 of 2012: Inkdeath

I completed my read of the series of Inkworld books with Inkdeath, the third in the trilogy. This follows on from Inkspell and follows Meggie, Mo, Fenoglio and crew as they try to solve the troubles caused in the previous.
Resa is pregnant, difficult decisions must be made about whether they stay in this other world or go back, Elinor is pining for her family and longs to visit the Inkworld. Mo takes on the persona of the Bluejay and Dustfinger is brought back from the dead, Farid and Meggie have relationship issues and a new character is introduced.

I realise I'm skimming somewhat on the story, but I honestly can't remember that much of the details, it just wasn't that memorable a book. It was very much along the same lines of Inkspell which just seemed to go on and on without actually advancing the plot particularly. Considering the fact that it was only about three weeks ago when I read it (from the time when I actually wrote this review), I don't really remember that much of it.

I spent a good chunk of the story just feeling really annoyed with Fenoglio and Meggie for meddling so much. I think that was the main thing I took issue with, both with Inkdeath and Inkspell, the characters started interfering with something they should have left well enough alone. Unfortunately it made me kind of feel that way towards the books themselves; Inkheart was a wonderful, magical book, it was certainly open for sequels, but it didn't really need to be fiddled with, it was perfect without them.

Another aspect that I didn't like was the introduction of the shape-changing. If it had been mentioned in the past two books I might have felt a little happier about it being brought in, but because it suddenly appeared in this book, it just felt contrived. It was a very convenient way to get the characters where they needed to be, to keep them hidden, to keep other characters from realising who they were.

That said, I don't think I've mentioned one of my favourite things in the series before; the illustrations. Cornelia Funke did the illustrations in the book herself, which is pretty impressive. They are truly beautiful and fit in with the tone of the story perfectly. I think I was aware that she had done the chapter heading illustrations in The Thief Lord so I'm not sure why it surprised me that she had drawn these ones. I like it because you know you're seeing pictures which detail things in exactly the same way that the author herself pictured them.

This book began with a note explaining that Funke's husband had become seriously ill and died during the writing of Inkdeath which may have influenced it's darker tone. The darker tone might have worked well, but the characters annoyed me so much during this one that I don't think I paid it much attention. As much as I loved the whole series, the books themselves are wonderful, the chapter quotes are great and the idea is totally magical, I really don't think the sequels are as good as the original. Despite that, it's not put me off Funke as a writer, I've still picked up a copy of Dragon Rider which is happily housed on my bookshelf waiting for me to get around to reading it.

"Almost five months later a baby will be born at the lonely farm where the Black Prince once hid the Bluejay. It will be a boy, dark-haired like his father, but with his mother's and sister's eyes. He will think that every wood is full of fairies, that a glass man sleeps on every table - so long as there's some parchment on it - that books are written by hand, and the most famous illuminator paints with his left hand because his right hand is made of leather."Page 697

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