Fearless Review: A treasure hunt through the Mirrorworld uncovers more questions than answers

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Fearless2Jacob Reckless is going to die. And an entire magical world at his disposal hasn’t managed to yield anything to change that…until now. A tomb has been uncovered, and rumors have it that it hold both the body of the Witchslayer and his magical crossbow. The legends say the crossbow comes with three arrows. The first, fired at an enemy in hatred, had slain ten thousand men. The second, fired at his son in love, had brought him back from death’s door. Jacob sets out to recover this one last hope with a worried Fox at his heels. But an Onyx Goyl treasure hunter has his eyes on the same goal.

I’m still not sure what to make of the Mirrorworld books. There’s a certain amount of “naturally I like them, they’re written by Cornelia Funke.” And I did really enjoy Fearless. I loved all the emotional conflict poor Fox went through this book. Being told upfront that her job is to shoot Jacob with the bow that may or may not cure him and is most likely to unleash death on ten thousand people is a lot for anyone. Fox is still dealing with the fallout from the first book though and is seeking closure and answers, only to be handed more emotional trauma. The ending also was spectacular. It was the sort of conclusion you’d never guess at the beginning of the book, but steadily creeps up on you throughout the story.

But I still haven’t decided what the series is really going to be about. Is this a collection of stories about a man who goes through a mirror to a magic world and has adventures? It’s possible. While both Reckless and Fearless are connected by characters, locations, and events, in many ways each is very self contained. Sure there are loose ends in both, and one is about the consequences of the other, but each has a clear denouement.

However, I’m starting to suspect that there is a substantially larger story taking place that we’re only starting to catch glimpses of in Fearless. All through the first book and through much of the second I dismissed the mirror as a storytelling device. Just another wardrobe/book/telephone box. But the end of Fearless leaves me wondering if the mirror itself is what the series will be about and that the real story has just now started. If that’s the case, I think it’s going to be a difficult series to reconcile, and I’m afraid that Reckless and maybe Fearless will end up outside of the main series as prequel books people go back to after reading the main set. And that would be a shame. However, if you set Inkheart next to Inkdeath without Inkspell to bridge the gap, there is a huge disparity in the stories. So for now, I’m going to bet on the extraordinary talents of the author and hope my concerns are unfounded.

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