When Fenoglio created the Bluejay, a character modeled after the bookbinder Mo, he only thought he was writing poems about a brave outlaw who fought against injustice, a thrilling story for the Inkworld in which he was trapped. But in the Inkworld, words are more powerful than anyone knows.
By the time Mo entered the Inkworld with his wife and daughter, the stories had already spread, blurring fact and fiction. The Bluejay who stands up to the cruel Adderhead, who snatches people from the gallows, who saves women and children from the Adderhead's soldiers, the invulnerable Bluejay, the man who cheats death....
Without quite knowing how, Mo finds himself fighting under the name of the Bluejay. But the Adderhead has put a heavy price on his head and is prepared to resort to the cruellest, most terrible measures to bring the Bluejay to his knees.
In a lot of modern fiction the power of a traditional hero's sacrifice is diminished due to a lack of consequences. This is especially the case in stories where the hero is a trained fighter or a tough warrior. But Inkdeath's Mo is just a regular modern father, a kind bookbinder, a man not made for conflict and danger, but a man willing to endure it in order to do the right thing. He's a man with a wife and a teenage daughter, and what he undergoes is made more poignant by their grief.
The darkness and sadness that pervades the book is drawn mainly from this situation, of ordinary people suffering terrible things at the hand of great evil, and that's what makes it the darkest book of the Inkheart trilogy. But its also filled with the kind of hope that makes even the saddest parts of the book worth reading. For these people don't suffer by themselves; they don't cast off everyone else to try to take the darkness alone. They hang onto and are supported by love.
That's what the Inkheart trilogy is about. Ordinary people, people who love books, are thrown into situations where they are forced to live out the ideals portrayed by the fictional heroes they admire. And in the middle of it, they come to the significant realization that:
"A longing for books was nothing compared with what you could feel for human beings. The books told you about that feeling. The books spoke of love, and it was wonderful to listen to them, but they were no substitute for love itself."
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here
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