A Magic Book about Love and Death

Cornelia Funke: Tintenblut (English title: Ink Blood) ISBN 978-3791504674 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Volume 2 of the “Tintenherz”-trilogy proved to be no less captivating than the first volume which I have presented in an earlier post. Again, the focus lies on the power of books and of reading. Books are dangerous, let it be known. They can suck in the readers and spew out the personae dramatis, leading to all kind of troubles in two parallel worlds, the real one and the imagined one.

The main characters – Meggie, her father Mo and “Dust Finger” have been introduced already in that earlier post about the first volume, but several new and interesting figures play a pivotal role in the second book. There is the “Black Prince”, the leader of a band of artists that occasionally turn into robbers, furthermore a dark ruler of the name of “Asp Head” and finally several lovely and courageous and some not so lovely and not so courageous ladies who in the end decide the fate of Maggie, her father and young Farid.

“Ink Blood” goes beyond a mere sequel of a fantasy novel. Meggie’s psyche is explored in greater detail, a fact that brings additional tension to the plot. There’s a lot of love at play, old love, young love, impossible love. The corollary is death, and yes, there are many occasions to die in this volume as Meggie and her friends have set out to fight and overcome evil. Mo’s character becomes more interesting too: Under the right circumstances, a bookbinder can turn into a fearless warrior. Who would have suspected that?

Another element makes this volume even more thrilling to read: As Meggie enters the fictive world of a book (THE book actually!), she is caught in a trap. The fantasy world is wild and dangerous and luring, so luring that it becomes difficult for her to imagine leaving it. But however fascinating a book is, you cannot stay in a fantasy world forever. Or can you? Would you? Should you? As I said, books are dangerous.

I really, really do not want to spoil your reading pleasure, so I will say no more about the plot itself. I liked the second volume of Funke’s trilogy so much that I read it over a weekend. 700 pages, 48 hours – that’s very close to beating my own record. And it speaks for itself: The book is a delight, a pleasure, a real thrill. Now for the music, this one is easy. Love and death are the main themes of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, and around 1870 Pyotr Tchaikovsky composed a wonderful overture about the same subject:

Passionate Love vs. Implacable Hate

A Magic Book about the Magic of Books

Cornelia Funke: Tintenherz (English title: Ink Heart) ISBN 978-3-79150465-0 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My daughter loves books, and this makes me extremely happy. I am so glad she shares the reading passion of both her parents. The world of books is such a fascinating one. It stimulates our fantasy, it touches our emotional side, it keeps us thinking and we may even learn something new while having fun. Occasionally, my daughter brings home a book I adore right after the first pages. “Tintenherz” is such a novel.

“Ink Heart” narrates the moving adventure of a girl named Meggie. Meggie loves books just like her parents. Her mother has disappeared when she was very young and her father Mo is a bookbinder. They often change places and it feels like a flight. Is it? You will find out. One night a strange guy in ragged clothes shows up: He addresses Mo’s father as “Magic Tongue” while Mo calls him “Dust Finger”. Meggie is baffled. She was not supposed to eavesdrop on her father and now she discovers one of his secrets. Are the two men part of some secret conspiration? You will find out.

The two men talk about a book, and the following day Mo and Meggie leave the house and seek refuge in the house of Meggie’s aunt Elinor, a famous and only slightly excentric book collector living in Italy. But things turn out differently as imagined. Meggie is to stay with Elinor while Mo intends to bring a certain book to a man named “Capricorn”, the very book he wanted to hide from “Capricorn”. Right from the beginning you know this man is evil. He is as evil as a writer can invent him. And he has been looking for Mo’s book for a long time as it holds the secret that links Mo, Meggie and most of the other characters of the novel. A thrilling adventure with a surprising end is about to begin, an adventure that shows all the magic of the world of books.

This is a great novel not only for children, but also for adults. It’s fun, it’s emotional, it let’s adults dive back into childhood, which is not always as innocent as it may appear retrospectively. And while you discover the magic of books, you may as well discover the music of magic in Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé”:

Dancing with the Nymphs on Lesbos