Publisher: Little, Brown
Series: Book #1
Source: Won from http://www.lisaisbusynerding.com/. Thank you!
Rating: 4 stars
It's the mirror Jacob lost his father in, and the one he has been using to escape to the magical world Schwanstein ever since he was a child. It's a world of dangers, of magic, and of treasure, but most of all, it's his secret. That is, until twelve years later, when his brother steps through and starts to become a Goyl- a stone monster. Now it's up to Jacob to save his brother, with the help of Fox, his shape-shifting best friend, and Clara, his brother's human girl friend, and one untrustworthy dwarf. But it won't just be a race against time, but a war with the Goyls, and worst of all, the Dark Fairy.
This book was truly wonderful, and it made me realize how long it's been since I read a gold ol' fantasy book. The magic is simply enchanting, with a tinge of darkness, and the creatures who live in Schwanstein are haunting. Jacob makes his living as a treasure hunter, and the treasure found in this world is incredible and inventive. Jacob Reckless is the perfect protagonist, as well. He's tragic, messed up, and more than aptly named. But he's also fiercely loyal, wildly adventurous, and exceedingly determined. Will, his brother, is his opposite: a gentle sweetheart that you can't help but love. In turn, the Goyls are perfect enemies, with their ruthless rage and fearsome strength. Villians need to be complex, though, and Funke understands this. That's why the Goyls are also capable of love, and of loyalty so extreme it almost matches Jacob's. Another plus is Funke's imagery, which she is definitely the master of. Her descriptions will make you feel as if you've seen every place Jacob travels to in the books, and the chilling beauty of her world will pull you in.
However, at times, Schwanstein is so dark that it is disenchanting, and the magic Jacob has access to is too convenient. If there's a problem, all Jacob has to do is rummage in his pockets and pull out a solution. And if his magic doesn't work, he has Fox as a back up. I didn't love her as much as I loved Jacob, but I think that may be because her character will be developed more in the sequel.
Development was another issue, too. The book jumps twelve years ahead after the first chapter, which I was glad for, since I wanted to read from a more mature Jacob's viewpoint. This transition means that the reader gets to know a Jacob who knows Schwanstein inside and out without any of the tedious build up as a character gets acquainted with the world. At the same time, though, I couldn't decide if this makes the story more interesting or if it makes the reader feel more disconnected. A lot of the background information seems as if it was just thrown onto the page.
Overall, Reckless is definitely up there among good books, even if it isn't necessarily a great one. The ending will leave you craving the sequel to see what will happen to the Reckless brothers next! And in Cornelia Funke's stories, you never can guess what will....
Other Books By This Author: The Inkheart Trilogy, The Thief Lord, Dragon Riders
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