Two brothers, a girlfriend, and a part-time fox set up what will certainly be a multi-volume, another-world adventure from internationally bestselling Cornelia Funke, creator of Inkworld, her last alternate universe series. While definitely filled with swash-buckling fun and heart-thumping adventure, Reckless aims at an older audience from Funke’s other titles: her hero Jacob Reckless ages from 12 to 24 in the first two chapters, not to mention the year of sexual enchantment (entrapment?) with a somewhat explicitly beguiling fairy from whom he must escape. That said, compared to what teenagers could be reading, this remains relatively tame.
Jacob Reckless’s father has gone missing. At 12, Jacob discovers a magic mirror in his father’s off-limits office, and enters Mirrorworld, where incomparable experiences await to distract him, challenge him, strengthen him … and, most of all, detach him from the ‘real’ world where his brokenhearted mother and timid brother live frightened lives. Jacob is his father’s son, fully deserving of his father’s name.
Fast forward a dozen years, when Jacob is somewhat of a legend in Mirrorworld, accompanied by Fox who is part vixen, part young woman, but always Jacob’s shadow. Jacob’s younger, abandoned brother Will discovers the magic portal and, with their mother now gone, tracks down the enigmatic, usually missing Jacob in Mirrorworld. Will’s girlfriend Clara manages to follow, just in time to see her beloved begin to morph from human to goyl: poisoned, Will’s human flesh will soon turn into smooth jade, making him an invincible man-monster devoid of all emotion and attachment.
Jacob will go to any length to save his brother, even after his brother no longer wants to be saved. Amidst a brutal ongoing war between humans and goyls, Jacob must hunt down the Dark Fairy who originally created the curse; only she will be able to reverse it … but will she?
As with Funke’s other multi-tiered, many-layered stories, Reckless also features a long cast of characters – some cleverly recycled from familiar fairy tales; their challenges are many, especially since the lines between right and wrong are often blurred. The pages undoubtedly fly by, driven by pure adrenaline. Funke fans certainly wouldn’t have it any other way!
Readers: Young Adult