This enthralling novel, inspired by the 2006 film, illustrates that fantasy is the sharpest tool to explore the terrors and miracles of the human heart
You shouldn’t come in here. You could get lost. It has happened before. I’ll tell you the story one day, if you want to hear it.
In fairy tales, there are men and there are wolves, there are beasts and dead parents, there are girls and forests.
Ofelia knows all this, like any young woman with a head full of stories. And she sees right away what the Capitán is, in his immaculate uniform, boots and gloves, smiling: a wolf.
But nothing can prepare her for the fevered reality of the Capitán’s eerie house, in the midst of a dense forest which conceals many things: half-remembered stories of lost babies; renegade resistance fighters hiding from the army; a labyrinth; beasts and fairies.
There is no one to keep Ofelia safe as the labyrinth beckons her into her own story, where the monstrous and the human are inextricable, where myths pulse with living blood …
by Guillermo del Toro
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEWS
Loved that this is the book of the film rather than the film of the book, in this perfect pairing of Guillermo Del Toro and Cornelia Funke. It is a dark and twisted tale that seems to have all the goodness sucked right out of it, with characters that are selfish, cruel and greedy. The only glimmer of light is that of Ofelia.
The story begins in Spain in 1944 with Ofelia and her pregnant mother going to live with Vidal, an officer in Franco’s army. The house is very isolated but from where Ofelia can explore deeper into the woods. She meets Pan, a faun, who sets her a number of tasks to complete.
The story dances between the two realities of Ofelia, both equally full of danger and cruelty as seen through her child eyes.
Vidal is a sadist who uses the excuse of war to bathe in the torture of captured soldiers openly. These scenes are brutal. Ofelia’s mother only wanted somewhere safe for her daughter and unborn child, but Vidal has no compassion for her or Ofelia, his only goal is to have the baby. She is just a vessel to keep the baby safe until he is born.
The book has pictures to accompany the story which enhance it further. A super read but only a fair tale by name, definitely not for children.
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Guillermo Del Toro has enjoyed huge critical and commercial success as a film director in both his native Mexico and Hollywood. His works include Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade II, and Hellboy. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.
Cornelia Funke is the hugely successful author of the Inkheart Trilogy, The Thief Lord and a whole host of other popular children’s novels and picture books. She was born in 1958 in the German town of Dorsten. After finishing her studies, Cornelia worked for three years as a social worker. For a while, she illustrated books, but soon began writing her own stories, inspired by the tales that had appealed to the children she had worked with.
During the late 1980s and the 1990s, she established herself in Germany with two children’s series, namely the fantasy-oriented Gespensterjäger (Ghosthunters) and the Wilde Hühner (Wild Chicks) line of books. Her international breakthrough came with the fantasy novel Dragon Rider (1996), which stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 78 weeks, and was continued with The Thief Lord (2000, translated into English in 2002), which immediately climbed to the #2 position of the New York Times bestseller list, stayed there for 19 weeks and sold 1.5 million copies.
Her follow-up novel was Inkheart (2003), which won the 2004 BookSense Book of the Year Children’s Literature award. Inkheart was the first part of a trilogy which continued with Inkspell (2005), which won Cornelia her second BookSense Book of the Year Children’s Literature award (2006). The trilogy concluded with Inkdeath (published in Germany in 2007, England in Spring 2008, USA Autumn 2008).
Inkheart the movie was also released in 2008 and starred Brendan Fraser, Helen Mirren, and Paul Bettany.