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Reckless—a book for all ages

Created date

October 26th, 2010

Anyone who has ever said fairytales are only for kids obviously hasn't read Cornelia Funke's novels. The bestselling author of The Thief Lord and the Inkworld trilogy has sold more than ten million books in 50 different languages, earning a balanced following of children and adults around the world. Her success is an achievement that's due in large part to her masterful blend of reality and fantasy, and she's pulled it off once again in her latest book Reckless (Little, Brown and Company, 2010). In collaboration with film producer Lionel Wigram (Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Funke deftly recycles familiar symbols of time-honored stories like Hansel and Gretel and weaves them into a fairytale of her own.

Parallel universe

A dark fusion of the Brothers Grimm with a dash of Tolkien'sLord of the Rings, Reckless tells the story of Jacob Reckless, a teenager who finds a magical looking glass hidden in his father's study. He soon learns that this mirror is actually a portal to a parallel world where witches inhabit forests, giants roam the hills, and dwarves with Herculean strength govern entire cities. Before long, the mirror becomes Jacob's escape from reality. He's just another kid in our world, yet beyond the looking glass he gains a reputation as a swashbuckling treasure hunter of sorts, digging up glass slippers and spinning wheels that turn straw into gold. But the real danger of death also lurks in this fantastic place a fact made all too clear when Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through the mirror only to suffer a life-threatening curse at the hands of an evil fairy.

Depth and dimension

This story, with the help of Funke's crisp, unpretentious writing, unfolds at a rapid pace and makes the nearly 400-page book a quick and enjoyable read. The German-born novelist has a gift for infusing her tales with depth and dimension, which some might argue are traits that the fantasy genre typically lacks. The characters inRecklessare thoughtful and emotionally complex, the narrative always lush with vivid details that make the book a visual experience. For a title that falls under the Young Adult category,Reckless is distinctly mature in style and subject matter, and proves that you don't need to condescend to an audience just because a portion of it is under 16. Funke's newest volume is sure to please all lovers of fantasy, no matter how old they are.