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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A richly imagined, thrilling adventure, first in the highly anticipated new series by award-winning author Cornelia Funke. Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father's abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He's also made many enemies and allies--most imp…

Reckless

by Cornelia Funke

Overall Book Review:

Finding books that appeal to teenage boys is tricky, but Cornelia Funke provided a story densely packed with adventure that is sure to appeal to anyone in need of a diversion from the real world.

Young Adult fantasy has an undeniable trend towards young female protagonists, and romance and high emotions often take precedent over action. While this has led to many wonderful stories, a change from the norm can be refreshing, and Cornelia Funke goes completely against current trends with her choice of protagonist. The main character, Jacob, is a man in his early twenties who is experienced in the world he is dealing with and knows the repercussions of his actions. Action is prioritized over emotion – while emotion is not ignored – and the writing style is a perfect match for the story that is being told. The plot moves quickly without leaving the reader behind, and the worldbuilding is well-developed, combining semi-modern technology with elements of faeries, classic fantasy, and elements Cornelia Funke invented herself, combined into a gripping world with very real danger.

The downside of prioritizing adventure is that most of the characters are not very well developed. With most of the page time dedicated to action, there isn’t much room left for character development, and the relationships between the characters are not prioritized as much as is common in YA fantasy.

Overall, a fast-paced read that stands out from what is expected from YA fantasy, and an excellent choice for both teen boys and girls.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 3 mild profanities; 1 derogatory name.

Violence/Gore: Mention of a mentor beating his apprentice; mention of child-eating witches; character fights a monster that skins humans to make clothing in extended scene (3 pages) with some detail but little gore; men wear fingers of fantastical human-like creatures on their belts as trophies; men attack a group of characters and threaten to kill them; 2 incidents with brief fights with guns (2 pages each) in which several people are killed, little detail; characters fight; character is shot in the chest and dies; 2 incidents where soldiers injure an animal; 2 incidents where characters fight and kill evil fantastical creatures, little detail; report of a man beating his wife in front of a child; character is tortured (about 1 page) with some detail, a little gore; characters kill fantastical creatures similar to people, little detail; a cursed man attacks and attempts to kill a family member without realizing who he is fighting; a person is cursed and transformed; an assassination attempt leads to a skirmish with many deaths, later referenced as a massacre, little detail (about 7 pages); few second-hand reports of violence; blood is used in relation to magic, having to deal with colour and not the blood itself; a few instances of blood used in imagery.

Sex/Nudity: Few instances where characters kiss, touch, embrace; characters in a relationship share a bed, no detail, no innuendo; one character is another’s mistress, mentioned a few times; memory of sharing a bed with another character many times; characters spend the night together, implied sex, no detail; character kisses a character in a relationship with someone else due to influence of magic; character’s former lovers are mentioned; mention of a man’s nightly visits to a girl.

Mature Subject Matter:

War, death and disappearance of parents, torture, arranged marriage.

Alcohol/Drug Use:

Mention of a man being a drunk.

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
3
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
5
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
3
10

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About the Reviewer

I was homeschooled from kindergarten to grade 10, which gave me a love for reading. Growing up books were an integral part of my life, and I’ve always been able to make time to read. I’m most widely read in YA fiction, but fantasy is becoming my favorite genre. My free time not spent reading is mostly spent outdoors camping, riding a bicycle, or otherwise enjoying nature. I’m also a science nerd with a special interest in entomology.