- Grades: 6–8
“Readers who enjoyed Funke’s Inkheart are in for a treat…a book lover’s book.” – Booklist, starred review
“More than enough action, romance, tragedy, villainy, and emotion to keep readers turning the pages.” – Kirkus Reviews
Some stories can’t be contained within the pages and the covers of a book. This is one of those stories.
This time it started with Orpheus, Orpheus with his beautiful voice and skillful writing. Orpheus, who could unlock the door that would let Dustfinger back into Inkheart, back to his own world, the world he’s missed for ten long years. Orpheus has written a new passage into the book, a scene Dustfinger described to him, a scene in the Wayless Woods, with a serene pond, surrounded by flowering oleander and with the nests of the fire-elves in the nearby trees. The fire-eater is finally going home, and he is taking Farid, the boy Silvertongue read out of The Tales of the Arabian Nights, with him, because Farid is also part of the new passage.
But Orpheus betrays both of them. He leaves out Farid’s part of the scene, and Dustfinger disappears into Inkheart alone, leaving Farid, his horned marten Gwin, and the only copy of Inkheart behind him. He’d handed it to Farid for safekeeping, and the minute Dustfinger disappears, it’s snatched out of Farid’s hands, as he feels a knife at his throat and an all-too-familiar voice in his ear—Basta! Orpheus and Basta had worked together to get their hands on Inkheart! Farid manages to escape, but to save his life, he has to leave the book behind. He knows Dustfinger is in terrible danger, because Orpheus could read Basta back into the book at any time, and Farid has no way to warn him, no way to get back into the book. Only two people can help him—Silvertongue and his daughter Meggie. Farid knows where they live. It’s a long journey, but he knows he must get there as fast as he can.
It’s been a year since Meggie, Mo and Resa came to live with Mo’s sister Elinor and her librarian, Darius, and Meggie has spent much of the time transcribing her mother’s stories of her time in the Inkworld. Resa can no longer speak, but she uses sign language and draws what her fingers cannot describe. But Mo objects to Meggie’s fascination with the notebooks of stories, and they frequently quarrel about it. The day Farid arrives, they have had yet another disagreement, and for the first time, Mo has left on a book-mending trip without making peace between him and Meggie.
But the fight is forgotten when Farid arrives late that afternoon, and Meggie, Resa, Elinor and Darius hear his story, including the threat that was the last thing Basta shouted at him—“You can run but I’ll get you yet, do you hear? You, the fire-eater, Silvertongue and his hoity toity daughter and that old man who wrote those accursed words! I’ll kill you all! One by one! I’ll kill you all!” That evening, Meggie calls her father to tell him what’s happened, and he promises to return immediately, arriving the next morning. Meanwhile, they are to bar the doors and windows, draw the curtains, set the burglar alarm, call the police, and wait. They will be safe as long as they don’t leave the house.
Farid, however, isn’t content to wait. He has other plans. Basta may have the book, but Farid has the paper with the new scene on it, the scene that drew Dustfinger back into Inkworld. He wants Meggie to read it, including the parts about a boy who goes with Dustfinger, and send him into the book so he can warn Dustfinger. But Meggie refuses. She wants to see the world she’s heard so much about, and won’t read anything unless she is also included. That night, she copies Orpheus’s words onto another piece of paper, changing only one thing. She adds three words to the part that mentions the boy—“and the girl.” She is determined to see Inkworld for herself. Mo once told her, “Stories never really end, even if books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don’t end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.” Meggie wants the whole story.
So now open the book, read the first page, and let Inkspell draw you and Meggie back into the story of the Inkworld.
This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart