Twelve-year-old Meggie’s dad Mo is a book doctor. She supposes the rest of the world calls him a “bookbinder,” but to her he’s a book doctor. He takes well-loved, well-worn, well-wrecked books and carefully restores them to even better than before. He’s got a magic touch, and every bookseller in Europe knows it. Meggie has spent her life traveling with him from bookshop to bookshop, repairing books. So she knows that he doesn’t just travel all over for the sake of it. There’s something he’s looking for, but he won’t tell her what.
And then a man named Dustfinger shows up at their door and tells Mo Capricorn is on his trail again. Nothing about this makes sense to Meggie, and it makes even less sense when they travel to Italy to stay with her Aunt Elinor and her massive library. Things continue to make very little sense when Mo is kidnapped, along with a strange book he brought. Meggie supposes she’ll just have to chase after him and make him explain everything. Too bad his explanation of “I read Dustfinger and Capricorn out of a book filled with fairies and trolls and magic into the real world” doesn’t make too much sense either.
I have spent a month searching for this series. I read it when I was a kid and it was absolutely foundational — I’m talking I read and re-read the second book probably twenty times over a few years. I love Cornelia Funke, I love her worlds, I love her writing, I love everything she’s ever put out (except Ignatius, I never got into that guy). I have been operating under the assumption that we all had this experience and held her work in the same breath as Harry Potter, or His Dark Materials, or the Chronicles of Narnia.
Imagine my surprise when I visited four different bookstores in a ~1.5 hour radius and couldn’t find any of her work! I ended up going to Wonder Books in Frederick, MD to sell some boxes of books and CDs my family had lying around and spent all $35 in store credit I got on Funke’s Inkworld series, Dragon Rider, and Thief Lord. I look forward to rereading everything.
Now, back to Inkheart. It holds up! It’s incredible! It still holds that magic for me. I love Dustfinger so much, that poor sweet coward. I love the world. I love the terror lurking under every plot point. I love Elinor. I love Meggie and Mo. I’m so excited to get into Inkspell and into Dustfinger’s homeworld.