I first met Jacob Reckless in the Mirrorworld created by German author Cornelia Funke’s novel, Reckless. In the first novel of the Mirrorworld series, Jacob, a treasure hunter, was desperately seeking a cure for his brother Will who was being turned into a Goyl, a stone-skinned creature. Jacob seeks assistance from the Red Fairy which is probably not the best idea since she had loved him and he had dumped her. She does help, but the “cure” she gives comes with a great price, Jacob’s life.
Fearless opens with Jacob desperately seeking a magical object that will cure him, or at least postpone his death. After trying everything he can think of, Jacob and his constant companion, Fox, set out in search of a legend that may not even exist, Guismond the Witch Slayer’s crossbow. The crossbow is said to have the power to kill entire armies when used on the army’s leader, but there is also a rumor that says that the crossbow can heal when shot through a person’s heart by one who loves that person best. To make the search even more difficult a treasure hunting Goyl is also seeking the crossbow and is willing to do whatever necessary to beat Jacob to the treasure. Will Jacob find the crossbow before the Fairy’s revenge takes his life? Will the crossbow be his salvation, or will it just kill him faster than the curse?
I was introduced to Cornelia Funke when I discovered her Inkheart series (one of my favorites), so I was super excited a few years ago when I found Reckless. I quickly devoured it and excitedly recommended it to teachers and students who were fantasy fans. Then, while working on a book order, I found a blurb for the follow-up, Fearless. I was thrilled when it came in, so, naturally, it was one of the first titles I took home to read. I will admit that it took me a while to get into it because it had been so long since I had read Reckless. In fact, I finally got online to read a summary of Reckless so that I could refresh my memory about what had happened in Reckless. The refresher helped, and it wasn’t long until I had become completely absorbed in the story.
One of the things that I love about the fantasy genre is that it is unpredictable. You can never “know” what is going to happen because the writer creates his/her own world and anything is possible in that world. I kept telling myself, “She (Funke) can’t let Jacob die, can she?” knowing the whole time that main characters die all the time (have you read the Divergent series?). The story was full of twists and turns that kept me hooked until the satisfying end of the story. Several of the plot twists remain unresolved (Who is Earlking and what is his price for helping Jacob? Where is Jacob’s dad? Will Jacob tell Fox how he feels?), but the final chapter convinces us that we have not seen the end of the Mirrorworld, and can’t wait to see it again. (For more on the Mirrorworld you can check out http://mirrorworldnovels.com/).