by Abi Hernandez
The smell of the old books bring Meggie comfort in her library, by the big window, covered with little water droplets. The letters on the pages speak to her, taking her on a journey with an untold future.
“Inkheart,” by Cornelia Funke, is the story of a “book doctor” named Mo and his 12-year-old daughter, Meggie, whose normal lives take an unusual turn. Mo has a special gift that allows him to be able to read animals, objects, people, or sometimes magical things, out of books.
One day, when Meggie was still a baby, Mo was reading to his wife Resa, and all of a sudden Resa disappeared. When a character from a book is read into the real world, the book takes a human being, which is what happened to Resa.
The book Mo read from is called “Inkheart,” and he reads a malicious character out named Capricorn. Since that night, Mo said he would never read aloud ever again. Years pass by, and Capricorn is still on the hunt for Mo so he can read Capricorn’s evil monster out of the book to do his dirty work.
One day, Meggie and Mo go book searching at an old bookstore. While Mo is inside the store, Meggie is confronted by Dustfinger, a character who was read out of “Inkheart,” who supposedly was there to warn Mo about the bad guys waiting for him to get home. Dustfinger also asks Mo to read him back into the book, so he can go home to his wife. But Mo refuses and runs away.
So they flee to the house of Meggie’s great aunt to seek shelter. Dustfinger follows them to the house and brings Capricorn’s men to help him get Mo, Meggie, and her aunt Elinor. They grab the three and take them to Capricorn’s castle in the middle of nowhere.
Capricorn first introduces Darius, another gifted reader who is not that good because he has a stuttering problem and only half reads them out of the character’s story. So he forces Mo to read out gold from the book “Treasure Island,” and he accidentally reads out Farid. Capricorn then throws the last copy of the book in the fire. Dustfinger tries to pull it out of the flames, but he is unsuccessful and burns his hands. Then they are all held hostage in the dungeon.
Dustfinger then goes to get his burns treated from trying to grab the book from the fire, by a servant girl, his friend Resa, who cannot talk because when she was read out, the book took her voice. He is talking to her, and she shows him a picture of her family. He quickly realizes that Mo and Meggie are her family. He figured out that Mo read her into the story, and Darius read her out the second time, but it cost Resa her voice.
Meggie and the others are discussing a plan to go find the writer of the book, because he has the last copy of it. Dustfinger then surprisingly helps them escape, because Capricorn lied to him about helping him go home. They all go to track down the writer, Fenoglio, and he accidentally tells Dustfinger how he dies at the end of the story. Then they find the original transcript. Just when Mo was about to read Resa, his wife, out of the book, Dustfinger tells Mo the truth about her being at Capricorn’s village. Mo then promises he will read Dustfinger back into the book once he has Resa back.
While Mo and Dustfinger are gone rescuing Resa, Fenoglio has to “babysit” Meggie and Farid. As Fenoglio falls asleep, Meggie goes to her room and starts reading aloud from the book, “The Wizard of Oz”, and reads out Toto, the little black dog. She then realizes she has the same reading gift as her father. During this, one of Capricorn’s best men, Basta, and another come and steal Meggie and Fenoglio, taking them to the village.
They are all taken hostage, except for Mo and Farid. Meggie finally meets her mother after so many years. Capricorn is going to make Meggie read out “The Shadow” monster from the book, or he is going to kill her mother. So Meggie and Fenoglio plot and write up a different story so the Shadow will kill Capricon, all the characters will go back in the book where they belong, and Dustfinger will return to his family.
At the ceremony, when she reads out the Shadow monster, she pulls the paper from her sleeve and reads the new version. It works, then Elinor comes in to save Meggie from being eaten.
All of Capricorn’s men disappear, all the creatures go back to their books, Fenoglio gets read into his own book, Capricorn then gets eaten by the Shadow monster, Resa gets her voice back, and Meggie is reunited with her family.
For a fiction story, I would give “Inkheart” a 10 out of 10.