Ok Folks, I am going to try my hand at a book review today.
This review will cover the book called “Reckless, written by Cornelia Funke and Lionel Wigram.
Now, I know what you are thinking, “why pick up a book like that?!” It was however, recommended by a friend I know, and the whole “Don’t judge a book by its cover” adage came back to me.
A little backstory on the author, Cornelia Funke has written several best sellers, and is from Germany. She wrote this book with Lionel Wigram, who has worked in several Harry Potter videos. There is a dark feel throughout the book, which is extremely similar to the feel of what I have seen from Harry Potter in reviews and the movie previews.
This story takes place in another world. It was discovered by a guy named Jacob Reckless. It is a dangerous world. Full of Magic and where all the old fairy tales originated. Unfortunately, all is not as usually seen in fairytales of this world. Rather, this world is dark, dangerous, and full of evil creatures. There has been a war going on with the humans of that world and creatures called “goyls”Creatures made of various stones.
The trouble comes when Jacob’s younger brother, Will, comes into this strange land, and due to some magic… Is becoming a goyl himself.
Jacob has three days to save his brother from turning into this creature and losing his identity as a human completely… And the odds are definitely not in Jacob’s favor.
I would have to classify the genre of this book as a adventure and fantasy novel. There is a lot of magic and mystical creatures as expected in a different fictional world, but also the entire book is one of a quest to save a brother. Also in the mix is some thriller, romance, and a tinge of horror.
The style of writing in this book is abrupt. Simple words are used. Sentences are short and choppy. It doesn’t flow. Much like how I am writing now. This style. It gives a sense of unease. Uncertainty. It fits quite well with the style of the book.
But I didn’t like it.
Content and Themes
There is a lot of content in a book (of course) and it is virtually impossible to go over it all. Themes also, are a huge part of the story and flow throughout the entire tale. So, I will do my best to share with you the more important and notable things…
Theme #1: Family. In this book Jacob does everything in his power (and outside his power) to save his younger brother from a terrible fate. The relationship between younger and older brother is quite believable and commendable, and is one of the redeeming parts of the book.
Theme #2: Magic. This story weaves a tale based off our fairy tales of old. All things magical in our fairy tales exist in the world in which Jacob lives. However, all these things like fairies and such, have caused much more harm than good. Magic isn’t something that has made this world better, but something that has ripped it apart and made it a place dark and to be feared. A few times we see magic used in what the book would have you to think “Good” hands, but the items were always used to serve self.
Theme #3: The Conditions of Love. There is quite a bit of romantic relationships in Jacob’s past life. References are made with past fairies, maidgirls, and a girl that takes the shape of a fox (or vise versa). We read very little about emotional attachment until Will’s girlfriend steps into the pages. She continually chooses to love Will, even when he turns away from her. Her love is unconditional, until corrupted by magic. It is a mixed and messy picture. Kissing and more are done and implied by the characters in the book.
Theme #4: Violence. As in any fallen world (even fictional ones), there is going to be death. In this world, most of it is caused by evil and twisted beings whose only purpose in life is to kill. Jacob has to battle many of these creatures to save his brother. The battles are intense, and graphically described.
Theme #5: Of War and Politics. As if Will turning into a goyl wasn’t bad enough, Jacob also has to content with the entire land being against goyls, as they had been at war with them for quite some time. Peace finally has come with a marriage between the princess and the goyl king has been arranged. Of course, as with all politics, we read about backstabbing, manipulating, and more. All to gain the upper-hand so as to benefit from this arrangement.
Jacob, being the hero of this book, clearly has no moral code. There is no mention really of any “Morals” Everything we see him do is to serve himself. Yes, he almost dies several times to save his brother, but that is only because he couldn’t live with himself if his brother turned into a goyl. Even then, his focus is not on how much pain his brother must be in, but how much pain he is in, and how to relieve that.
Jacob never changes. He risks his life only if he thinks he will live in the end.
There are some good qualities we can take away from this book if we dig really deep. However, there being no redemption, no character change, and quite a bit of content that is not God honoring…
Honestly makes me wish I hadn’t been so reckless as to read this tale, and would advise you to do the same.