Only suddenly it appears she can depend on neither of them. A mysterious stranger appears one stormy night, and Mo sends Meggie to bed with no explanation. Meggie of course creeps out of her room to eavesdrop, and she overhears them talking about someone named Capricorn who has discovered where they live. Before she knows it, they've packed up and are heading to her aunt's house, ostensibly so her father can repair books in her aunt's collection. Maggie tries to get Mo to tell her what is going on, what they are running from, but Mo refuses. Instead, she gets some information from the mysterious stranger, Dustfinger, who tells her that Capricorn is the blackest villain ever, and that he would do anything to get what he wants - in fact, he simply takes pleasure from terrifying people. And, for some mysterious reason, he's after Mo and Meggie.
It turns out that Mo has the ability, when he reads aloud, to read characters out of their books - they suddenly appear in the real world - but something from the real world disappears into the book, as a sort of way of keeping things equal on both sides. Mo doesn't know what will come out or what will go in. Capricorn wants him so he can use this ability to his own end.
I loved the concept of the book, and the fact that the characters (particularly Dustfinger and Aunt Elinor) are interesting and complex. I found that that plot meandered quite a bit, and I felt a bit frustrated with Maggie, Mo and Elinor as they bumbled here and there and never really pulled it together to come up with a way of fighting the bad guys. After all, they had the upper hand, possessing the power of reading characters from books, yet they seemed only to react to events initiated by Capricorn and his henchmen. It also seemed that, despite the talk of Capricorn being so horrific and evil, he was rather weak and ineffectual - his henchmen were not very bright, rarely managed to carry out an order, and as far as creepy bad guys go, Capricorn was simply not quite there for me.
However, despite the lack of a tightly-written, taut narrative, I found Maggie to be an endearing heroine, determined to the end to be strong and protect those she loved. Although this is the first volume of a trilogy, there is a satisfying conclusion to the book, with a few loose ends that, no doubt, will play a role in the second volume.
Books in the Inkheart trilogy:
- Inkdeath (forthcoming)
This book is #2 of 10 for Molly's Personal Reading Challenge.
Other blogger reviews:
A Striped Armchair
Not Enough Bookshelves
Word for Teens