I was 12 or 13 when I first found myself between the pages of Inkheart. I was taken directly into a world that was immediately believable, realistic, and completely original. I eagerly anticipated the release of Inkspell after hearing that Inkheart was the first in a trilogy, and I wasn't disappointed.
However, when I read Inkdeath, I found myself frustrated and annoyed with the direction that the storyline had gone. Although the first and second installments seemed to blend together almost perfectly, I felt as I was reading Inkdeath that it was less believable, realistic, and original. Firstly, I took me several chapters to get myself immersed into the events - I thought the initial few chapters were tedious, less flowing, almost as if the author had written the first two books in one single fluid sitting, but then had a long break before writing the third, and had forgotten what she had been writing about before. I felt that the frayed ends of Inkspell, the second book, had been clumsily, almost hastily glued onto the new threads of the third book Inkdeath.
I confess that although I did enjoy reading the book, I did not find it as pleasurable and ulitmately gripping as i found its two predecessors. I think it was a terrible mistake to eliminate Basta, as he's one of those charcters you love to hate. I didn't realise how much I missed him and his peppermint breath until I opened Inkdeath, and realised he was missing, missing, missing. It was like Silence of the Lambs without Hannibal, 1984 without Big Brother, Star Wars without Darth Vader. One of my main disappointments, however, concerned the Black Prince. In Inkspell, he was a charming, wondrous character with a personality as sharp as his throwing knives; but I was annoyed that in Inkdeath, he seemed to disappear completely, becoming nothing more than a dark figure in the distance, and less the prominent character he was in Inkspell. He barely featured at all in most chapters, other than to be relentlessly beaten and battered. And why even, would anyone in the story attempt to murder a character who seems to be weak in substance anyway? I got the impression that he was nothing more than a puppet figure, but with strings missing, or just a name on a page. I felt the same with Meggie too. In the first two books, she seemed to play the central role as a strong protagonist, similar to Lyra in "His Dark Materials" with that same mixture of vulnerability and strength, yet in this book it was her father, Mo, and his swinging sword that seemed to feature most.
I think most of my negative responses could be because I read Inkheart 4 years ago, but now I'm 16, and it did feel as if I was stepping into a children's book; this is probably why I criticised it so much when i was reading it because I think perhaps I've suddenly become to old for it. However, I do think it's a shame that either I have grown up too much to appreciate this book, or that somehow the original magic has been lost in the weaving of this final book. I'm more sad than annoyed that this book has happened. But to be honest, despite my age, or my opinions, I'd give anything for Cornelia Funke to rewrite this whole book again, take out the pointless subplots and the cliched, banal ending which I have read so many times before, and place more emphasis on already amazing existing characters rather than shoving in new ones. I'll give it a second chance if she does.
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