“The mirror will open only for he who cannot see himself”
Reckless: The Petrified Flesh begins similar to one entering a dream. Rather than filling it with prologues, backstories, and character descriptions, Funke invites all who open this dark fairytale to dive down the rabbit hole and right into the action. The story opens on Jacob Reckless, a man who ventures from our world into the world beyond the mirror. He builds a reputation for himself as an enchanted treasure hunter, discovering fairytale riches to be sold to the highest bidder.
As the inked letters build the story, the reader learns that Jacob’s brother, Will, was cursed by a Fairy with the slow process of turning into a Goyl with stone skin.
You may be wondering, what is a Goyl? Well! A Goyl is a creature made of stone typically with a carnelian, jasper or moonstone gleam. These cave dwelling creatures were said to explore the deepest parts of the Lower World but now wish to conquer the land above. The leader of the Goyl, Kami’en, is hexxed by the Dark Fairy. This deadly enchantress charmes all of his stone soldiers with the ability to create more Goyl simply by cutting a creature’s skin.
“Fairy. Five letters, melting all the magic and all the terror of this world into one word.”
Along with the arrival of the Dark Fairy and her curses is the reminder of an old prophecy:
“But then the deep brought forth a King, and when there came a time of great peril for him, the Jade Goyl was summoned to come to his aid, born from glass and silver and a Fairy’s magic, and he protected the King from his enemies and made him invincible, even to death.”
Although one can fight the spread of Goyl, it is said that even the strongest cannot stop the transformation. Jacob, who is joined by Will’s girlfriend, Clara, and his sly shapeshifting companion, Fox, must travel through MirrorWorld in search of a cure to Will’s beastly malediction. And his skin is not just turning to plain stone, but that of Jade.
On a warm summer night, outside a Chicago coffee shop, I accepted Funke’s invitation and opened up Reckless: The Petrified Flesh. And as if I had also been spellbound, I didn’t leave that coffee shop until reaching the final page. Cornelia Funke’s story captivates her readers with a world filled with familiar fairytales nods and just the right amount of mystery to bewitch all to continue reading to the very end.
So of course, when I was offered to reread the newly published edition, I eagerly accepted! This beautiful republished version was created by Breathing Books, an independent publishing house co-founded by Cornelia Funke, herself! To find out more about Breathing Books click here.
And what a beautiful book it is!
Did you know that all of the illustrations in the book are done by Funke? Each chapter is enhanced by a beautifully sketched image that ensnares the viewer to linger just a bit longer on each picture, longing to use it to peer into MirrorWorld.
The illustrations are not the only thing captivating about this book. The cover art, with its muted greys and rich reds beckons to fantasy themes from fairytales such as Beauty and the Beast. The rose covered vines are pictured slowly falling off to reveal the thorny skeleton beneath, similar to the Fairy’s curse slowly transforming Will.
Another added feature that I love about the reprint is the bookmark. With the installment of an attached bookmark, the reader never has to worry about misplacing their removable page markers again! I don’t know about you, but I lose so many bookmarks!
I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book to add to your Funke collection. Actually, the first three books in the series are available in bookstores! For more information on Breathing Books and Cornelia Funke’s other works click here!
Thanks for reading!
Your Book-Loving Friend,