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Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

Meghan reviews a book more Y than A -- Reckless: Steinernes Fleisch by Cornelia Funke, which has romantic entanglements that mystify basic geometry.

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

BOOK REPORT for Reckless: Steinernes Fleisch (Mirrorworld Book 1) by Cornelia Funke, translated by Oliver Latsch

Cover Story: Deep Undercover
BFF Charm: Maybe
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Straight Up With a Fantasy Twist
Bonus Factor: Fairy Tales
Relationship Status: It Was Awkward At First, But Now We're Involved

Cover Story: Deep Undercover

This may be one of those times you want to invent a cover story of your own, in case you're seen in public reading this book. "It's for my kid!" or "I'm a teacher or librarian" work pretty well. Not that it's a bad cover -- for kiddie fantasy.

The Deal:

First, a disclaimer (this one's for you, Posh!): this is NOT a fairy book. It's a fairy TALE book, so yes, there are two fairies in it, but calling it a fairy book on that basis would be akin to calling Sleeping Beauty a fairy book. Not a fairy book.

Jacob Reckless is just a kid when he first steps through the mirror in his dad's study and leaves his mother and little brother Will behind. Although he comes back (unlike his dad), he spends more time in the mirror world than in his world. By the time he's grown, he's the best treasure hunter in the mirror world, favored by the Empress, but in the real world his mother's dead and he hardly knows his brother. But then Will - eager to see for himself the magical creatures Jacob used to tell him about - follows Jacob through the glass and ends up in mortal peril. He gets attacked by a Goyl, one of the race of stone men at war with the humans, and falls under the Goyl king's fairy lover's curse -- he starts to become a Goyl. And not just any Goyl -- the mythical Jade Goyl, who will make the King invincible. So Jacob -- accompanied by Will's girlfriend Clara and his trusty shadow, Fox -- is in a race to keep his brother human and keep him out of the Goyl's hands.

BFF Charm: Maybe

Mmm ... Jacob's quite the mysterious loner dude, disappearing for months at a time and deliberately not making any friends. I don't think he'd want my bff charm, and I'm kind of afraid to offer it because the only person to get remotely close to Jacob is Fox, a shapeshifter who'd probably scratch my eyes out for making a move. I would totally give Fox my charm, and not just because a talking fox would be nice to have around. She's tough and loyal, but she's also confused, trying to sort through the nasty business of becoming a grown-up human when being a fox is so much easier. Unfortunately, it's hard to really get much feel for any of the characters, but the story was action-packed enough for me not to care much, and I'm hoping they become more rounded in the rest of the series.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Because the characters are adults, there's the potential for some big-time swoon, but this is a book for children so you'll have to fill in most of the blanks yourself. Jacob has a girl (or fairy) in every port, and there's a sort of love flowchart (not to be confused with the more banal triangle) that I think will be useful for more swoon in the rest of the series. The best tingles are magically induced (aren't they all, girls, aren't they all) and will leave you wondering how THAT particular branch (path? Arrow? Analogy, why do you fail me?) of flowchart to be resolved.

Talky Talk: Straight Up With a Fantasy Twist

Don't get me wrong, Funke has her poetic moments -- "Jacob loved the night. He felt it on his skin like a promise. Like a cloak woven from freedom and danger," (who DOESN'T want a cloak woven from freedom and danger?!) -- but for the most part, it's just straight storytelling, woven with familiar fairytale elements.

Bonus Factor: Fairy Tales

These fairy tale creatures are not cute little sewing mice and birds. They're nasty man-eating Loreleis and witches who snack on children and a truly horrible Edward Scissorhands monster called the Tailor. In short, it's the stuff of delicious Grimm nightmares.

Casting Call:

Woohoo! I get to cast grownups! SO EASY.

Ben Barnes as Jacob Reckless

Karen Gillan as Fox

Sam Claflin as Will

Romola Garai as Clara

Relationship Status: It Was Awkward At First, But Now We're Involved

I went on a first date with this book's cousin Inkspell, and boy did it not do anything for me. It bored me through dinner AND was a lousy kisser. So I felt a little weird and guilty when its cousin caught my eye, but it convinced me to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did. It's much more exciting and grown up, and while this may not lead to happily ever after, we're totally involved -- at least as long as it takes to see what happens at the end of the series. I can't wait for our next date!

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.