Funke, Cornelia. 2010. Reckless. New York: Little Brown. (Translation by Oliver Latsch)
We don't know the difficulties encountered by Jacob Reckless when he first entered the mysterious Mirrorworld from a portal in his father's study. By the time we meet Jacob Reckless, he is to the Mirrorworld as Aragorn is to Middle Earth - a master of local lore, people, plants and magic, easily navigating the dangerous, primitive and magical world - a world where the more evil elements of our fairy tales still reside. The gingerbread houses of witches who eat children, the thorns that put one into deathly sleep, the Lorelei who lure boaters to their deaths - these and worse can still be found. In the Mirrorworld Jacob is a treasure hunter, and more comfortable in the primitive world of Fairies, Dwarves and Goyl than in his own. But he is not invulnerable, even with the help and adoration of the shape-shifter, Fox, that protects him.
In the modern world of humans, his mother, sad and withdrawn since his father's disappearance, has little hold upon Jacob. But his brother, who has looked up to him as the father he doesn't even remember, his brother is Jacob's link to the world of his birth. Will is the reason that Jacob continually returns to the modern world.
But this time is different, it is not Jacob who has returned to Will, but Will who has traveled through the mirror, into a world where he doesn't know how to protect himself - a world where one moment, one mistake can be fatal; close behind him, his girlfriend Clara follows. And now, it's up to Jacob to save him, to save them all.
He picked the rose, and Clara heard the wood stem snap. One of its thorns pricked his finger, and Will looked in surprise at the pale amber blood oozing from his petrified skin.
He dropped the rose and rubbed his forehead. "What's this? he said, faltering and looking at his brother. "What have you done?"
Clara reached out to him, but Will flinched away from her, stumbling over one of the skeletons. The bones cracked like rotten wood under his boots.
"Will, listen!" Jacob grabbed his arm. "You have to sleep. I need more time. When you wake up, all this will be over. I promise."
But Will shoved him away with such violence that Jacob staggered back, out of the shelter of the trees into the open expanse of the autumnal meadow.
"Jacob!" Fox yelped. "Come back under the trees!"
The image would stay with Clara forever. Jacob, looking back. And then the gunshot.
Reckless is the first of a planned series about the Mirrorworld. As she did with the Inkworld, Cornelia Funke creates a dark and believable fantasy setting with a plot as thick and twisted as a path through the dark wood. Jacob Reckless is a flawed, but likable, even admirable character. Though this is only the first book, the conclusion is definitely satisfying. Fans of the Inkheart series, older readers and fantasy fans will love it! Highly recommended.
As it reads on the dust cover,
"If you're looking for happily ever after, you've come to the wrong place."
Watch and listen to Cornelia Funke read from Chapter 1. She's great!