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Welcome to a world inhabited by all of the characters, creatures and magical elements from the celebrated Grimm’s Fairy Tales. But don’t expect a happy ending.

Jacob and Will Reckless’s father disappeared seemingly overnight, and all that was left behind in his study were various books, artifacts, and a mysterious mirror that bears the inscription “the mirror will open only for he who cannot see himself.” By covering his face with his hand, Jacob ventured forth into a fantastical mirror world where new adventures awaited. He spent his time in this new world conquering strange beasts, recovering magical items, and trying to bury the pain of a lost father, a dead mother, and a younger brother, Will, who trusted Jacob with his life. After years of dividing his time between the two worlds, Jacob decided to bring Will through the mirror. Once was all it took for the dark magic to take hold.

The mirror world was at war between Goyls and their human counterparts, and the Goyl unwittingly attacked Will on his first visit. Long after the scars healed, Will discovered a startling side effect: he was growing Goyl skin --- a bright green Jade stone. Seeing no way to help him in the real world, Jacob brings Will back through the mirror to try and reverse the effects and return Will’s skin back to its original state. But they are not alone. Will manages to convince his girlfriend, Clara, to accompany them on their journey.

As Jacob searches for a cure for Will, someone else is looking for Will himself. Kami'en, the Goyl King, is deeply interested in capturing Will’s jade skin. A celebrated Goyl myth tells of a Goyl with jade skin who provides invincibility to the king he serves. As the Goyls continue to rage on in war with the rest of the mirror world, invincibility is exactly what Kami'en needs to gain ultimate control. He also has a fierce ally on his side: the Dark Fairy. The Dark Fairy is responsible for creating Will, and she alone can reverse the curse and restore Will. Confronting the Dark Fairy, though, is suicide, and Jacob has no other alternative if he hopes to save his brother.

As Jacob, Will and Clara race against time, the odds are stacked against them. Unicorns with a bloodthirsty streak, monsters with scissor hands, trees that attack, and other dangerous creatures surround them at every corner. Dispel any hope of a Disney magical twist to this story. The ending is going to be Grimm. 

If you’ve read any of Cornelia Funke’s books, then you’ll love RECKLESS. Funke has the ability to create worlds out of thin air that are believable and enchanting. Jacob and Will Reckless are heroes who exhibit noble characteristics of courage, bravery and fearlessness. Readers may be expecting a happy-go-lucky take on the fairy tale genre, but the author quickly sets her own dark tone. Some of the best moments in the book are when she incorporates parts of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and adds her own personal twist to classic stories. The main reason that RECKLESS is so successful, though, is that Funke draws the reader in with nothing more than good storytelling and unforgettable characters.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on September 14, 2010

by Cornelia Funke

  • Publication Date: September 5, 2011
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0316056073
  • ISBN-13: 9780316056076