Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
DNF, but it’s not this book’s fault. Translation or no translation, Cornelia Funke is no Diana Wynne Jones. This book has its charms–but it is not charming. Also, I was hoping for some great twist, like: Capricorn is actually the hero of his story, warped by his forced entry into a different world. Anyhow. My fault for not reading it properly.
Rated: Is the movie better than the book?
The Decoy Princess – Dawn Cook
Now this one, I actually quite liked. No, it isn’t brilliant, and yes, it has its share of cliches–but it draws its lines competently, has a deft share of humor, likeable and self-aware characters (if your hero is in danger of Mary Suedom: first person perspective helps tremendously) whom the author is not afraid to take down a peg or two, and a briskly-paced plot. Also, the hot guy: shirtless scene ratio is nicely unbalanced.
Plot: Tess has been raised her entire life as the Princess. She’s not: she’s actually a decoy (that’s not a spoiler, it’s the title of the book). What might constitute a slight spoiler is the fact that her mentor, bodyguard, and surrogate father, the Chancellor Kavenlow a) is actually a magician, b) is actually the power behind the throne, c) has been clandestinely training her as his apprentice, currently just a piece on the board but potentially his replacement in the game.
Given the amount of plot that happens in the first few chapters, Tess is going to need all the skills she has, and more besides to avenge the King and Queen (oops, spoiler), save the true Princess, defeat the evil Prince, and checkmate the hot enemy wizard.
Guess whether or not she succeeds. Go on, guess. I dare you.
It might be the sleep deprivation talking, but I really quite liked this book. Also, I really liked the description of Tess’s bullwhip as “eight lovely feet of keep-away-from-me.” Oh, and there’s a dog! He’s a plot-relevant and useful dog, and he gets a bone, because he is a good boy! That’s what I call quality writing.
Rated: four poison darts out of four.
Update: the sequel isn’t nearly as good. Too much blubbering.