Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hard as Stone

Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Coming out September 14th from Little Brown, this story is about Jacob Reckless and his brother Will. Jacob misses his father, he knows he is not supposed to go into his father's study but he doesn't understand why his father left him and his brother. In the study Jacob finds a mirror and when he touches it he is taken to another world. Many years later Jacob's younger brother Will is on a trip with him in this other world and Will gets hurt very badly. It is up to Jacob to try and save his brother. But in this world of magic there is danger at every turn and nothing comes without a price.

The tagline for this book is "If you're looking for happily ever after you've come to the wrong place" and nothing could be more true. I read this book over the course of a week and would get depressed and sad after every reading. To the point where my husband could not wait for me to finish so I would stop being in a bad mood. I think what upset me most was the lack of hope in the story. There is not real good or bad guy, no noble knight, no optimistic and honest young hero. In addition to that there is a sense that this other world of magic is slowly being destroyed by the inventions from our world. You get the sense that this is the end of an era, that magic will soon no longer exist in this world and that is a sad thing. Lastly there is no great love. There is the love of the two brothers but it is given begrudgingly and there is no romantic love story to fill that void.

The story is well written but much of it is told through a person's thoughts or intentions which just adds to the overall depressing feel of the book because so much between the characters is left unsaid. We are given a little background information about Jacob and Will but then we are thrust into the story with little more than their names. It takes awhile to get oriented in the story and figure out who we are supposed to be pulling for as the tale unfolds. There is a lot of adventure and fighting, and the fight scenes are very good but it felt like there was something missing. In the end I think that children will like this book. There is adventure and none of the mushy love stuff. I can appreciate the great story telling and that there is so much tension throughout the entire book that you just want to read it in one sitting so you can know how it ends. But it is true, there is no happily ever after, so beware if you pick it up that the ending will not give you a warm fuzzy feeling.


  1. I have to say I'm looking forward to reading this because it stays away from the "mushy love". And I'm not sure what it says about me - but I'm really okay with not-happy endings. :)

  2. Trisha,
    It was very good, you should be excited. And not needing the mushy love just says you are not a total sap, as I appear to be. :) I think it is something about summer though, it is warm out and I like to read something that is as upbeat as the weather makes me feel. Maybe if I read this in the winter I would not have needed a happier ending...maybe.

  3. Great review. Were they giving away arcs at BEA?

  4. Yes they were giving away ARCs at BEA, I got mine signed by Cornelia! I was very excited to meet her, she was very nice and gracious. There was a line of at least 200 people to get their ARC signed as well.