Cover art © Cliff Nielson
Jacob Reckless doesn’t fit in in our world. His father disappeared years ago, his mother has died, and that leaves only he and his younger brother Will. Jacob has another world he can retreat to, though, through a magic mirror in his father’s old study. There all kinds of magical creatures and objects can be found, as well as grave peril. Jacob has learned his way around the magic world, made friends, and even found work as a treasure hunter. But his brother Will keeps drawing him back to our world, and Will finally learns the secret of Jacob’s travels and follows him through the mirror.
This turns out to be a disaster when Will is infected with a curse that will turn him into an evil creature unless Jacob and his ally Fox can manage to break the curse. That’s a nearly impossible task, especially when there’s a war on between two factions of the magic land. Jacob has knowledge and a few magic objects to help him, but it may not be enough, especially with Will’s time running out. And Will makes things more complicated by bringing his girlfriend from our world along.
I’ve enjoyed all the Cornelia Funke books I’ve read so far, and I liked this one pretty well, but it is rather gloomy. We don’t get all that much time to enjoy the magical wonders of the place we’re in because the characters are always struggling toward their goal, and have so many obstacles and evil creatures to overcome. The characters we meet are interesting and engaging, but most of them are schemers or villains of one sort or another. I would have liked a few more breathers from the gloom and tension.
Still, recommended. And I’ll probably try the next book in the series at some point.