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Monday, September 5, 2011

"RECKLESS" Cornelia Funke's gorgeous book for all ages... 5 Stars

Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Hachette Publishing Group
Previously Released Hard Cover Copy: 2010

Published by: Little, Brown & Co.
Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 400
New Release: Sept. 5, 2011
Trade Paperback Edition

"Reckless" is written and illustrated throughout by the unbelievably gifted Cornelia Funke. She can be seen and heard live on video at her dedicated website: http://www.get-reckless.com

A Simple Summary:

Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father's abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He's also made many enemies and allies—most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.

But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl—a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.

Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell—before it's too late.

The Bookish Dame Humbly Reviews :

Like so many of you, I learned to read by fairy tales.

Weren't our minds caught up in visions of the beauty, the magic and the color of those dark tales...didn't we all understand that pain and horror had to come before the happily ever after? Fairy tales were my bread and butter reading; undoubtedly they laid some kind of subconscious footwork in my life.

Fairy tales and their illustrations were so much a part of developing our imaginations; they helped to lay the foundation of our creative minds. Teachng, love and loss, psychology, empathy, art, imagination....so important; archetypical, as our professors would say. Children don't read fairy tales like we used to.

Now comes Ms Cornelia Funke who has written and created illustrations for her painstakingly crafted book. Hers is a book grafted throughout with fairy tales. Her fingers seem tipped with fairy wings, overtaken by an enchantment in order to make such strikingly beautiful pictures to accompany her story.

Here is a treasure fit for a king's child. It's a heroic, charmingly dark, gothic and mystical book. It has a story to tell and a moral to the story. It's "Reckless."

Fairy tales do not wholly dominate the book, there are only elements of the twisted and familiar stories we grew up with in "Reckless." Some of those that frightened and enchanted us are included, but Funke revisits them from another, more adult perspective. Sleeping Beauty with parchment yellow-colored skin and brittle straw-like hair laying with unseeing eyes; while her prospective, unsuccessful "princes'" bodies hang garishly disemboweled by sword-like rose thorns, gave me a sad twinge! Shiver....

Cornelia Funke's use of imagery and wordsmithing is mastered by few others in this genre. She creates a plausible world that is fantastical at the same time. We are drawn in by the details and reactions of her characters, and, as we accompany them; we believe in the action moment by moment. It's nothing short of magical. Visually, I found myself wanting to look like 13 yr. old Nesser, the Fairy-cursed Goyl..."amethyst suffused" jasper stoned skin with golden eyes. Even if she wasn't on "our side." How did that happen?

Characters such as Jacob, Will and Fox are sure favorites. I admit to a partiality for Fox, a shapeshifting young girl who scampers around as a golden-eyed red fox most of the time. She's wise and strong, a lithe and brave little warrior whose loyalty and selflessness is unbendable. She's just the sort of role-model that's wonderful for young girls.

And, of course, Will's girlfriend; Clara, is a strong-minded combination of the professional, medical student-sweetheart any young man would want by his side. It's Clara's knowledge of medicine, her insights, and her support of Will that leads the small band along their journey.

I applaud the way Ms Funke creates independent and well-rounded young women in her book. And, I also appreciate how she's balanced her male figures in the same way. Both Jacob and Will are worthy warriors and well-rounded young men. There is a purpose for good in them. They rise above their troubles and go through their mystical journey learning the lessons of all great men, survivors and leaders. Love, endurance, single-mindedness, loyalty, self-respect and selflessness are some of those lessons learned for both sexes.

This balance of fully realized heroic figures in the young men and young women speaks to the Utopian quality in Ms. Funke's "Reckless," and it's greater outreach and vision. Much could be said on this point alone.

Ms Funke's German heritage is tapped openly in her book: the Germanic home and history of the Brothers Grimm's Fairy Tales; Schwanstein's Castle; i.e., Neuschwanstein, the "fairytale castle" of King Ludwig of Bavaria; the craggy glories of the Alps she perhaps grew up loving and seeing; and the songs and tales of Nordsmen, Vikings and mystical creatures as expressed in Wagner's operas. Germany is rich in folktales about the Black Forest and its dark creatures who haunt there; the caves, crystals and beautiful lakes that run from the mountains. All of these things, perhaps, lend themselves to the earthbound richness and beauty that fuels Ms Funke's literary achievements and art.

"Reckless" is not just a book for children and young adults, rather, it's a book for everyone. This series will go on my library bookcase along with the Harry Potter(s) and Alice in Wonderland.

5 Stars for an exceptional book and a collectible series.




I'm glad you enjoyed this so much. My sister's supposed to review it for me.

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