Title: Reckless I: The Putrified Flesh
Author: Cornelia Funke
Series: Mirrorworld #1
Format: Digital ARC, 391 pages
Publication Details: Sept 29th 2016 by Puskin Press
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.
Enter the magical world behind the Mirrors…
Jacob has uncovered the doorway to another world, hidden behind a mirror. It is a place of dark magic and enchanted objects, scheming dwarves and fearsome ogres, fairies born from water and men born from stone.
Here, he hunts for treasure and seeks adventure in the company of Fox – a beautiful, shape-shifting girl, who guides and guards him.
But now Jacob’s younger brother has followed him into the mirrored world, and all that was freedom has turned to fear. Because a deadly curse has been spoken; and Jacob must risk his life to reverse it, before his brother is turned to stone forever…
Revised and updated by Cornelia Funke, The Petrified Flesh is the first book in the thrilling Reckless series.
I don’t know where to start with this review to be honest. I was so looking forward to this book after loving Funke’s Inkheart Trilogy and standalones. The synopsis sounded typical Funke – a beautiful fantastical world full of potential adventures and mild peril!
Jacob’s father left him when he was just a little boy, and since then Jacob has discovered a secret world which he can enter through the huge grand mirror in his father’s study. Is this why his father left him? Will he find him in the mirror world?
Jacob spends years in and out of the mirror world, living two lives. But when his little brother follows him there and becomes cursed, Jacob’s separate lives collide and he’s in danger of losing the one person he can’t bear to.
Sounds great, right? Sigh. I wish it was. But I had so many issues with this book. First of all, there is very little backstory or fleshing out at the start of this story. It’s like Jacob is just plonked into this mirror world which he seems to know all about, but we as readers do not, and are not told anything. I was literally checking the last sentence on each page to see if it matched up to the next one because it seemed to flit from one thing to the next and it was totally confusing.
I found myself going back and rereading a lot to squeeze out all the clues of what was happening. I don’t know whether it’s the fault of the translation, or it’s just written really badly – which isn’t something I’d expect of Funke at all.
She has amazing ideas, and creates darkly delicious, original worlds, and Reckless is no exception. I loved the Narnia-esque secret world and all the characters could have been so interesting but the execution was just bad. There was no world-building or descriptions of any kind. There are creatures and different races with strange names – and those names are the only thing we have to go on. WHO/WHAT ARE THESE THINGS?
Don’t get me wrong, I like having to make your own mind up about a place or how a character looks. I don’t like being fed all the information, but this went too far the other way. I just couldn’t picture it and was completely lost most of the time. Sad face.
I really don’t think this is representative of Funke’s work and would recommend giving it a wide berth in favour of Inkheart. I’m truly baffled that a story with such great potential fell so flat. 2 Witches Hats is perhaps too generous. IJDK.