Review: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Every reader at some point wishes that they had the ability to read a favorite character to life. Unfortunately for Mortimer, this ability is all too real, and his and his daughter Meggie’s lives are drastically changed when he accidentally reads characters out of the epic fantasy drama Inkheart. Though Mortimer tries to shelter Meggie from the truth of what happened that night nine years ago, it all comes back to haunt him when one of the characters shows up in the middle of the night with a warning and a secret.

Inkheart is full of intriguing and unique characters, from the cranky bookworm Elinor to Dustfinger the fire-eater to the somewhat narcissistic author of Inkheart, Fenoglio. Most of the story follows Meggie, a twelve-year-old girl who loves books almost as much as she loves her father, who is forced to uncover the secrets her father has been keeping from her. Though her father’s ability to read characters off of a page is the cause of their troubles, Inkheart teems with enough magic and wonder that the reader will wish they possessed the ability as well.

The magnificence of Inkheart comes from the relationships and complexity of each character. Meggie quickly learns that no one is completely good, everyone keeps secrets, and magic always has consequences. But even when it seems that everything she thinks she knows is wrong, there will always be people she can depend on to set things right again.


Inkheart contains mild swearing and violence. At around 150,000 words (a length somewhere between the third and fourth Harry Potter books), Inkheart is larger than most children’s books, but the story is so well-written that it is still doable for many kids. My first experience with this book was when I was nine years old and my mother read it aloud to me and my brother; if you have the time to read this book to your kid(s), I highly recommend it. It was, and still is, my all-time favorite book.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (translated from German by Anthea Bell)