Reckless by Cornelia Funke
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Length: 394 pages
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by: Honeysuckle
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 important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.
But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob’s younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl—a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.
Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell—before it’s too late.
How far would Jacob go to save his brother, to get back what once belonged to him alone? Deep underground, into the witch’s forest, back into the lair of the Red Fairy who trapped held him prisoner for more than a year. The price? Everything.
Similar to Alice, Jacob Reckless discovered a whole new world when he walked through the looking glass in his father’s study. This was his escape from reality. From a world where his father disappeared when he and his brother were so young and his mother never recovered from the grief.
Jacob is very aptly surnamed. He is reckless in a lot of ways but for so long it was only his neck on the line when he went off on one of his adventures into Mirrorworld. Then there was the time that his younger brother, Will, followed. It changed everything. Jacob also carries a lot of guilt on his shoulders and his coping mechanism for so long was to simply stay longer and longer periods of time in the land beyond the mirror. It may have felt like he was living one adventure after another but even I could see he was really just hiding.
Mirrorworld is an interesting new world by this very talented international storyteller. The stories that we all grew up hearing as bedtime stories are real beyond the mirror but they didn’t always have a happy ending. Prince Charming didn’t always show up to save the day. Child-eating witches still lived in the forest as well as all sorts of other evil to fuel your nightmares. Ms. Funke has a very vivid imagination.
I understood, for the sake of moving the story along, the story goes from Jacob entering the glass the first time to a more present day, many years and many adventures later where he’s in a race against time to save his brother’s life but, I feel like I missed a whole other book. I met people for the first time that Jacob has known for years. He has a stash of amazing relics that he acquired over time that I would have loved to have been able to witness him retrieving. There’s a war going on that I literally felt dumped into. Ms. Funke does a superb job of creating a feeling of tension and anxiety in the residence of Mirrorworld and the reader. The Goyl are on the move and want to destroy, change or posses those who live above ground. Where Jacob had only had himself and Fox to worry about, he now had responsibility in the form of his infected brother and Clara.
I could imagine Jacob felt very worldly and grown up because of what all he had done and see in Mirrorworld but he never had to truly grow up until he was suddenly faced with the prospect of losing his brother to the Goyl. He had to choose to put himself in the path of danger for someone else as opposed to the times he did it to acquire a new trinket or item for the Empress. Then’s there this whole side story where his father has left his influence all over Mirrorworld but know one knows where he’s gone to. I have a feeling I’ll be seeing him soon.
The story flows pretty fast. I was halfway through the book, and still anxious to see if he’d find the cure for Will, before I knew it. The secondary characters are all vividly depicted. I was intrigued by the relationship, if there was one, between Jacob and Fox. They seemed close but I couldn’t decide if they were best friend close or if it had potential to become more. Fox was a protective vixen shifter but she had the ability to transform back into a human as needed. If it didn’t happen in this book, I was hoping that she would be back with him in the next two books and then, who knows?
Reckless is the first book in the Reckless series with Fearless and The Golden Yarn rounding out the trilogy. If those books are as exciting and tension filled as the first, I know I’ll easily get sucked backed into Mirrorworld as Jacob did the first time he placed his hand on the mirror. I can’t wait to find out.