Book Review : Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Reckless (Reckless, #1)

Hardcover, 391 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Little Brown Books


Beyond the mirror, the darkest fairy tales come alive. . . .

For years, Jacob Reckless has enjoyed the Mirrorworld’s secrets and treasures.

Not anymore.

His younger brother has followed him.

Now dark magic will turn the boy to beast, break the heart of the girl he loves, and destroy everything Jacob holds most dear. . . .

Unless he can find a way to stop it.

My first book by Cornelia Funk, and probably my last.

I don't mean to sound critical, but Reckless really reads like a failed fairy-tale mash-up. Needless to say, I'm disappointed.

Characters Introduction:

Jacob really lives up to his last name. He disappears for weeks into the Mirrorworld for adventure and treasure hunting without thinking about the little brother he's left behind.

When Will Reckless follows him beyond the mirror, Jacob is thrust into a race against time before a curse will turn his brother to stone. Suddenly, Jacob knows how much Will means to him. But is it too little, too late?

Will has always believed in his brother, no matter what. But now he's followed Jacob into another world, and a fairy curse threatens to change everything about him. As the curse takes hold, Will burns with flashes of anger—at his brother. Is the curse turning Will into a monster? Or making him stronger?

Clara is studying to be a doctor. In the world beyond the mirror, she may be the only one who can lift Will's curse. But before they can live happily ever after, Clara must survive her trip to fairy tale land.

What's the problem with Reckless?

  1. An insubstantial opening. Basically, I really had no idea what is going on at the beginning of the novel and it took me moments to realize the identities of the characters. They felt boring but I forced myself to go through it, since I didn't want to give up so soon.
  2. Deeply flawed plot. The story started with Will turning into a Goyl and Jacob wanting to find a cure for his brother. There is no explanation as to why he is turning into one. It felt so strange that I couldn't help but wonder whether this was supposed to make the reader feel excited or bewildered.
  3. No chemistry between supposedly "in love" characters. The relationship between Will and Clara seemed so fake, if you get what I mean. I couldn't sense the love between the couple. They did not emanate the feeling that they were in love.
  4. Bad fairy-tale mash-up. This story is full of mythical creatures, but anything that is overboard is not good. This case applies for Reckless. Bits and pieces of fairy-tale is mashed up to form a story. Though the concept of Man-Goyl (man of stone skin) is new, but I didn't like it. I still don't. And perhaps I never will.
  5. Translation. I understand that this book was originally written in German and was then translated into other languages. This explains some of the strange sentence structures and certain weird phrases I encounter in the book.
While I didn't like reading this book, it doesn't mean that it is completely devoid of good elements. The themes of family love, friendship and courage are shown clearly in Reckless.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke was born and raised in Germany, just like Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. In German, “Funke” is pronounced “FOON-kuh” which means spark. Cornelia grew up in a small town which wasn't a very adventurous place so she became a book eater at the age of 5 and loved her walks with her father to the public library from which they both returned with piles of book treasure. Books were, as Cornelia says, her windows and doors to the world. They promised adventure and hundreds of interesting characters she couldn't find in the streets of her home town. Nevertheless she never imagined that one day she'd write books herself. She thought this to be quite a magical skill only performed by very mysterious beings who for sure were either very old or very dead.

Read more at Get Reckless

Here's a better cover of Reckless:

3 creative remarks:

Heather said...

The second cover is much better. The first cover and description makes me think middle grade, which is part of why I haven't read the book yet. Thank you for the honest review!

Amanda B. said...

I really liked this one, but I think it's more because I was expecting it to be like this. I agree about the beginning though. I almost put it back.

Her other books are a thousand times better than this one, though. You might want to give them a chance ;)

Amanda's Writings

Aik said...

Hi Heather, thanks for dropping by my blog. I wouldn't say Reckless is a good read, but if you like Cornelia Funke's previous books, you might want to give this a try.

Hi Amanda, thanks for the recommendation. I might want to check out the Inkworld trilogy someday.