Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
The plot of Inkheart is such an obviously brilliant idea that I never saw it coming. Characters of a book coming to life? Creating havoc, confusion, disaster? Worlds colliding? The book’s author meeting his own characters? It’s great. I enjoyed the suspense of it all, the anticipation of the characters wondering exactly how things were going to go awry in new ways as the book world and real world collided. I say real world but which is the real one?
The idea of a person living characters and worlds enough to make them real was interesting. It’s an extension of the fact that we all make our own realities in the end. For those of us who read fiction books, the worlds and characters in books are alive for us. Yet we would not want the grim realities of those worlds to be the reality we are living in. Or would we?
The only drawback was that I never got really attached to the characters. I liked the young woman but didn’t feel her exactly. They all felt like stock characters, and the plot was the main thing. Evil was evil and good was good, and there wasn’t murkiness except with the author, who created both good and evil.
I’m not sure I’ll read the rest of the series. I prefer the book to stay as I remember, a stand-alone, with pieces unresolved by the interactions between the worlds.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows has been a very fun book to read, good enough that I’m taking a break from my reading challenges to read the rest of the “Grishaverse” books.
This is exactly the type of book I like to read. Underdog characters, not heroes, with murky morals but their own code of ethics winning against impossible odds. I like Kaz’s pragmatism and secrets. I like Matthias’s conflicted loyalties and emotions. I like how strong and yet vulnerable Inej is. Nona, Wyatt, and Jesper are less developed but entertaining in their own ways. At the end of the day, characters are what I read for more than plot, which is why I like this book more then Inkheart, and want to read more.
I like challenges to wealth and power also, being as anti-authority as I am, and this book delivered that. I think the following books will deliver even more of that. Some of the things they did were slightly unbelievable (tanks & incinerators come to mind) but it was still entertaining. The Grisha powers Nina wielded occasionally felt too deus ex machina but I recovered my suspension of disbelief.
The settings were also good. I have a good feel for the grittiness and greed of half-Venetian, half-Amsterdam Ketterdam. The northern Russian-sequel countries felt less developed as ideas but still compelling. I’m curious about what the country Ravka is like, given how it looms large for the characters, even though the events in the book never occurred there.
These books were a couple of great additions to my reading list, overall!