The Petrified Flesh

Reckless by Cornelia Funke is a fantastical tale of two brothers. Jacob Reckless must save his brother from a faerie and the petrified flesh.

While all quotes are from an advanced reader copy, this is a re-release and thus they may be similar to the published edition.

From Goodreads:

Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father’s abandoned study.

Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He’s also made many enemies and allies — most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.

But life in this other world is about to change.

Tragedy strikes when Jacob’s younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl — a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.

Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell — before it’s too late.

“Once upon a time, there was a boy who set out to learn the meaning of fear.”

Cornelia Funke is a master at writing dark, fantastical tales. She is the author who first got me, as a child, into dark fairytales. Reckless is like the Inkheart trilogy in that it is dark, with few happy endings. However, unlike the Inkheart trilogy, Funke throws you into the story with very little backstory building. I checked repeatedly to confirm that I had not missed previous stories, but this is simply the way the book is written. This made it a little awkward to get into, however, the world itself was unique and interesting.

“Woman and vixen- for one moment Fox was both.”

Because we are just thrown into the story, we aren’t given an opportunity to know Will before his transformation. Additionally, we don’t see any of the romance between Will and Clara bloom before this transformation. This hurt the characters in the story immensely. It causes you to inherently dislike Will, and to not understand the romantic motivations of Clara. I found myself longing for more stories of Fox and Jacob as they grew up, rather than the story that we got.

“Power. Like wine when you have it. Like poison when you lose it.”

While the writing was beautiful, the plot failed to maintain my interest. The stakes didn’t feel particularly high as we had no time to care for the characters. Clara and Fox were inherently more interesting than our two main boys as well. I wanted to like this book so much. The world seemed so interesting and dark, the way the magic worked fascinating. However, the lack of fleshing out of the characters really affected my ability to enjoy it fully.

“Love. Worst of all poisons.”

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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