Sunday, February 01, 2004

Gail's on the Cutting Edge

I've just finished reading a book that is so new that the issue of The Horn Book on sale now carries a review. I am always the last to read stuff, just as I'm always the last to see movies. I see most movies on video and read an awful lot of books after they've been released in paper.

Not the case with Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I was the first at my library to get the book (which is now two days overdue, of course). The book has a very clever basic story and the plot twists came as surprises to me, though they were surprises that worked. However, the story moved unbelieveably slowly. The chapters were short, fortunately, but occasionally I'd finish one and feel that absolutely nothing had happened. I wasn't aware of what was actually going on in the story, since I didn't see the review until I was more then half done and evidently I didn't read much of the cover notes. (I heard about this book at Readerville). So I didn't "get it" until around page 152. Now, it's terrific to have to "get" a book on your own without spoilers from reviews and publicity people. But not until page 152 of a 500+ page book? And I did feel the ending fell apart a bit.

Here is what The Horn Book had to say: "Thanks to Harry P., kids may not be scared off by this volume's heft, though they may wish the pacing wasn't quite so leisurely--even the novel's many chases and hostagetakings are related in a deliberate fashion. But bibliophiles will delight in a story that celebrates books (each chapter begins with a literary passage ranging from Shakespeare to Sendak), and the conclusion is especially satisfying."

So the reviewer liked the ending.

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