I regret to announce loud and clear that this book will never live up to its predecessor. Even though I can hardly remember the details of where this story began in Inkheart, what I can say for absolute certainty is that I never had mixed feelings about its quality. Regrettably, I can't say the same for Inkspell.
There is one thing I will take the time to say in praise of Ms. Funke, however: that she knows how to write characters. In fact, I think that she knows how to write them so well that it becomes unnerving in there somewhere. And, like how her own Fenoglio always laments that he can only write sad or cruel characters, the ones that Funke writes the best are the ones you wish you could reach through the pages to strangle yourself, being too impatient to wait for the other characters to do it for you. In considering the possibility, it could be that I am only so angry about this story at the moment because of these characters and their sheer abundance: yes, a few of the cruel ones have gotten their comeuppance, but what of the ones who are left? I don't want to use names for fear of spoilers, but what of those who are not cruel and simple, but the ones who are proud, obstinate, who seem to willfully fill themselves with ignorance?
And that exactly is what I'm talking about. Funke is a truly effective writer because normally characters don't make me half so angry.
As I stated before, Inkspell struggles to hold its own against Inkheart - and frankly, how could it not, with sheer nostalgia on the side of the latter? But there are other things as well. It took me longer to be drawn in to Inkspell - it took me two summers to force my way through it, which is uncommonly odd. The plot doesn't start picking up and getting really exciting until the middle of the book at least, and it leaves off in the least conclusive place a book can.
Naturally, this is to guarantee that fools such as I will go out and buy Inkdeath. Which of course I will, probably tomorrow.
So, business as usual, Cornelia Funke is fabulous, though I sincerely hope that Inkdeath holds more promise than this last chapter in the tale of the Inkworld, for the sake of not only my love of her work, but also to spare you another angry post.
Goodnight, all, and for those of you who observe, Happy Almost-Fourth of July.