This is the second book in Cornelia Funke’s Reckless series. Jacob Reckless has a portal into another world, one filled with difficult magic, dangerous people, and deadly curses. In the first book we saw how Jacob learned to navigate this world and become a treasure hunter in it, but one of those deadly curses was laid upon him. In this second book he is trying desperately to find a way to lift the curse and survive, along with his companion and friend Fox, a shape-shifter, and helped by a greedy dwarf, Valiant. Jacob wants to find a treasure that may help him, and that involves tracing and recovering several body parts of a long-dead sorcerer. Another treasure hunter is on the same trail, and has no compunctions about killing Jacob and his friends to get there first, and there are plenty of other roadblocks and perils along the way.

I wanted to like this series as much as Funke’s brilliant “Inkheart” one of some years ago, but I didn’t. Jacob is not a likable character for one thing. He’s manipulative, sneaky and self-centered. I did find his companion Fox more appealing, but that wasn’t enough to make the series work. The first book had more character development, this one seemed plot-driven and action-adventure took precedence over character. I doubt I will bother to read later books in the series. Mildly recommended for creative magic and world-building.

Reckless Living Shadows by Cornelia Funke

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