The night breathed through the apartment like a dark animal. The ticking of a clock. The groan of a floorboard as he slipped out of his room. All was drowned by its silence. But Jacob loved the night. He felt it on his skin like a promise. Like a cloak woven from freedom and danger.
Reckless by Cornelia Funke is the first in a series of five books. Only the first three are out now, and there hasn’t been any information on when the fourth is coming out. It mainly follows Jacob, an expert treasure hunter in this mirrorworld he found when he was young trying to find clues as to why his father had left. He’s kept this magical, dark world a secret for years, but one day his brother finds out and quickly learns how dangerous this world is. Now Jacob has to find a way to save his brother while also keeping his brother’s girlfriend, Clara, safe.
This world is very creative. It has fairies, goyls, dwarves, vixens, and witches. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel all are real people in this world. It’s interesting and complex and surprised me at every turn. It drew me in, and kept me wanting more even as other parts of the book made me question if I was enjoying myself. I did come across this review talking about some the tropes in this book connecting to Jewish stereotypes if you want to take a look at it.
The action takes off and never really stops. The plot takes you into the deep end without showing the inciting incident which is a little jarring, but now that I’ve finished the book I kind of like that the story didn’t begin a little earlier. I think it might have ruined the flow of the story, and have the beginning be slowed down a lot. With how the world is and even with one the main characters being a fox shape shifter, it was a lot to take in, and I think it would have put me off of the whole book.
Talking about the characters, I’m very undecided about them. It’s mainly why my rating was brought down. Jacob is interesting and complex. Fox was cool but didn’t get as much attention. A side note, both of these characters were abused as children. It’s only mentioned in passing, and not brought up, but I figured I should mention it just in case. Clara and Will, Jacob’s brother, had an emotionally intense time as they navigated this world they both didn’t know about. Jacob and Will had a very interesting and strained relationship. The other characters equally had good motives. The problem with them all was that the emotion wasn’t there. I couldn’t feel the character’s pain, and trust me there was a lot of it, and I honestly wasn’t as connected as I want to be to them. If their life is in danger, I want to be on the edge of my seat, unable to stop reading until I know they were safe, not be fine with stopping to make Alfredo.
The writing I really liked. I don’t know if it is because this book is translated from German, or if its just how Funke writes, but I felt it was unique. Almost lyrical in some parts, and taking heavily from fairy tales. Even in parts of the story I didn’t like as much, the writing still made it a joy to read.
In the end, I had fun reading this, but I’m still unsure about it. I’ve heard the next book is better in all the things I’ve complained about, but I feel that people say that about all series of books. I do think I will pick up the next book because I do want to know what will happen to Jacob, but I don’t know when that will be.