Monday, 25 July 2011

Review: Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Reckless (Reckless #1) by Cornelia Funke
Publisher: Chicken House
Released: July 4th 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

For years, Jacob Reckless has been secretly disappearing to another world, a world behind a mirror, a world for which his father abandoned his family. The mirror world is Jacob's escape from reality. It's a place for treasure hunts and magnificent quests. A world where witches haunt the forests and giants and dwarfs roam. A world locked in a deadly war.

Jacob's secret seems safe, until one day his younger brother Will follows him, with disastrous consequence. Faced with a curse that is quickly turning Will to stone, the Reckless brothers are thrust into a race against time to find a cure before Will is lost forever.

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, master storyteller Cornelia Funke introduces a lush, enchanting world where fantasy meets reality.Reckless is a thrilling adventure, a tale of heroism and loyalty, filled with danger, mystery, and magic--with fairy tales and legends re-imagined as never before.
(from Goodreads)

When Jacob Reckless is twelve years old, he discovers that the mirror in his father’s office is not just a mirror – it is the entrance to the strange and mysterious Mirrorworld, a world that is completely different to our own, and one in which Jacob’s father has disappeared into forever. Twelve years later, Jacob is spending more time behind the mirror than in his own world, and one day his younger brother Will follows him through the glass and everything changes. Now it’s up to Jacob to save Will before it’s too late – because Will is transforming into a Goyl, a stone creature with no compassion for humans. With the help of Clara, Will’s girlfriend, and Fox, Jacob’s most trusted friend, Jacob must trek through the most dangerous parts of the Mirrorworld, bargain with untrustworthy dwarves and return to a place he turned his back on in order to save his brother, before Will forgets about everyone he loves all together.

Reckless was what I call an engrossing read – I was sucked into the story almost immediately, and I was fascinated by the descriptions of the Mirrorworld – I felt like I was really a part of this new and magical world, and I loved the way Cornelia Funke incorporated all the different fairytales into the story (the scene with the Gingerbread House was fantastic).  One of my favourite parts was learning about all the treasure hunts Jacob had gone on in the past to find mystical objects such as the golden tree and Rapunzel’s hair. It was so interesting to read about Jacob in the Mirrorworld, because he was very well-known there, and it appeared that he felt more at home in the Mirrorworld than in the place he actually grew up.

Jacob was an intriguing character. He seemed to love his brother, but their relationship was very strained because Jacob would disappear for months at a time into the Mirrorworld, leaving Will all alone. So when Will was attacked, I was very curious to see how far Jacob would be willing to go for his brother – and far he went indeed. He wasn’t very good at showing his feelings, but he did go through a lot to save Will; even when everyone else had given up, Jacob refused to let his brother go, even though he was tempted to. Jacob was, however, quite a reserved character, and he wasn’t very likeable – don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike him, but he seemed very cut off and didn’t show a lot of emotion, so I had trouble connecting with him. I loved all his scenes with Fox though; Fox was so devoted to him and so afraid that he would get hurt that she got angry or upset whenever he considered doing anything dangerous. I took an immediate liking to her; it was clear that she liked Jacob as more than friends, and I could easily sympathise with her whenever she got jealous or sad. I wish we had found out more about Fox’s background – there were little snippets here and there that I really enjoyed reading about, but most of her past was left a mystery. Hopefully this will be explored more in the next book, Restless.

Clara was another very interesting character. She loved Will, but unlike him, she was very aware of her surroundings, and picked up on a lot of things that Will missed.  She seemed to be strong, smart and self-sufficient, but she knew how much danger they were all in, and had to rely on Jacob a lot to protect them all, which forged a bond between them that created a lot of confused feelings and awkward moments. Like Jacob, however, Clara was willing to go through anything for Will, and became increasingly distraught as Will slowly lost his humanity. The only problem I had was that I found Clara and Will’s relationship to be a bit forced because we got no information on either of the two characters before they entered the Mirrorworld – all we found out about them was that they met at the hospital Clara worked at. Will’s character was very lacking because we never discovered anything about him when he was human – we only got to see him as he was transforming into a Goyl and even then we barely found out anything about his past or personality, which made him very difficult to relate to. Nevertheless, I was curious enough about the story to over look this, and I did really enjoy the book, especially the ending which I thought was done very, very well.

Overall, Reckless was a fascinating read that captured my interest very early on in the story, and despite the characters, who were a little hard to connect to, I really enjoyed the novel and I’m also looking forward to the sequel, Restless. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy and fairytales, or to anyone who likes reading about an escape into a magical world.


  1. Colour me intrigued! I'm curious to see what lay in this Mirrorworld, it sounds fascinating. And this was inspired by the Brother's Grimm? Um, even more interested now! I think I've actually seen this in some local shops, so I might have to pick myself up a copy!

  2. Hi Liz,

    Great review as always! Very thorough, balanced and thoughtful...

    Much of this first book in the series is based around many of the Grimm tales. The next book takes in a lot of French and English tales and will reveal (slowly, slowly) more about the characters (why they are as they are) and more about the Mirrorworld itself.

    You can join Cornelia as she continues to write book 2 over on her facebook page:

  3. I struggled with Reckless, but I'm so glad to see you enjoyed it! Great, informative review :)

  4. Great review! Unfortunately I couldn't get into Reckless, but I might give it another ago when I have a chance.

  5. I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds really intriguing. Thanks for review.

  6. How have I not heard of this one before??? It sounds good. Sorry you couldn't really connect with the characters though. Thanks for sharing your review!

  7. This sounds awesome! I'm a little wary about the issues you had with the characters though. Still, I'll hopefully be able to find it at my library :) Great review!

  8. I really enjoy Cornelia Funke's stories and this one sounds great! I like the concept of a world being through a mirror and it sounds like she carries the story well. Think I'll have to check it out -- thanks for a great review!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  9. brilliant review! I really want to get a hold of this one but I keep telling myself I need to read the Inkheart books first (I like to read in pub'd order!)

  10. This sounds very interesting. Definitely an interesting concept - the story sounds very complex and other-worldly. I like that she didn't sacrifice interesting characters for a big plot. Sounds like there are both.


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