Reckless by Cornelia Funke

December is Best of...
So I was going to do some of the best books of 2010, but I fell in love with Summerland (and was shocked I had never read it before), and felt the need to include it. The rest are new titles from 2010, including a new author. There are adventures, action, romance, magic, and grief...a little bit like my 2010. What were some of your favorites from this year?

Jacob Reckless is lost after his father disappears. He doesn't understand why his father would leave, and frequently visits his study, full of his father's things. One night, he is drawn to a mirror that hangs there, with an inscription that reads “the mirror will open only for he who cannot see himself.” He discovers the mirror's secret, and enters the Mirrorworld.

It's a magical land, filled with fairy tales come to life, witches, dwarfs, goblins. Jacob is enchanted with the world, and spends more and more time there. He leaves behind his mother, and his brother Will, whose devotion to his brother is unflagging. Over the years, Jacob spends less and less time in our world, choosing instead to live his life inside the mirror. He befriends a shapeshifting girl-fox, whose enchanted dress allows her to shift between human and fox. He works for an abusive treasure hunter, and gains favor with the Empress. He watches as the humans begin to lose the war to the Goyl, the warriors made of stone, after a spell from the Black Fairy begins to turn human soldiers into Goyl.

It is this last development which causes him the most pain. One day, shortly after his mother's death, Jacob brings Will into the Mirrorworld...and Will falls victim to the Goyl curse. Will's girlfriend follow him into the mirror as well, and soon the four of them - Jacob, Fox, Will, and Clara - are off searching for a cure to save Will, whose skin is slowly, unmistakably becoming jade.

Jacob knows there is no known cure for the Goyl curse, but he is determined to make up for his mistake in allowing Will to enter the mirror. They brave the Gingerbread House, and the Tailor, the Enchanted Forest, and Sleeping Beauty's Castle. They enter the realm of the fairies, and the Goyl fortress, they sneak into the Empress's castle...all looking for a cure.

Meanwhile, the king of the Goyl Kami'en searches for the jade Goyl...the legend says that he who possesses the jade Goyl will be invincible. Can Jacob find a cure before the Goyl find Will? Is there even a cure possible?

This is a masterful blend of fairy tales and modern fantasy, with Funke's traditionally enchanting writing. Each chapter opens with a illustration, and each character draws you in. Highly recommended for middle school through high school.
"Clara's scent was the same one Fox smelled on herself whenever she lost her fur. Girl. Woman. So much more vulnerable. Strong and yet weak. A heart that knew no armor. The scent told Fox all about the things she feared and from which the fur proteced her. Clara's hasty steps wrote them onto the dark soil, and Fox didn't need her nose to know why Clara was running. She herself had tried to run from pain before," (Funke pg. 136, 2010).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Funke, Cornelia. (2010). Reckless. New York, NY: Little, Brown.

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