Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
While represented as a companion to Funke's earlier fantasy, Reckless, this book is much more a sequel to the earlier Fearless. For readers who attempt to read this as a stand-alone, there is a sense of catching up to plot and characters that have clearly established their lives in the earlier book. Nonetheless, Funke does her usual masterful job of creating a fantasy world as darkly intriguing and captivating as any that were created by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. The comparison is relevant because Funke is not writing pink cloud stories, here. Her tale of the adventurous treasure hunter and portal hopper, Jacob Fearless, is woven with classic fairy tale motifs. Jacob, in an effort to save his brother's life, has been cursed with a moth embedded in his chest that is progressively destroying his heart, and now he must use his treasure hunting skills to break his own spell. A trio of found objects is needed to break the curse by leading Jacob to a crossbow with the power to kill or cure. However, a competing treasure hunter is also searching for this weapon and the two race to find the artifact. Meanwhile, Jacob's paramour, Fox, a vixen-like shape-shifter, is kidnapped by a blue beard creating a "damsel in distress" scenario. The series will be an easy sell to fans of TV's Once Upon a Time because many of the themes are similar: the portal from a contemporary world to the fantasy world and the intrinsic vileness of many of the characters. Fox and Jacob are a magical pair, and this tale of curses and reverses will captivate lovers of the retold fairy tale genre. However, do read the books in order to assure a complete appreciation for a well-told tale. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
VOYA - Katie Mitchell
Having received a death curse from the Red Fairy, Jacob Reckless returns to Mirrorworld to try to defy his fate. With the help of his friend, Fox (a shape-shifting Vixen with a mysterious past), he goes in search of a magic crossbow that is capable of killing thousands or saving one. Their quest is not without challenge, however, as another treasure hunter named Bastard is also after the bow, which would finally give him the recognition he craves and allow his section of Goyls to gain ruling status. Various other villains and trials stand in the way of both treasure hunters, including an inept, scheming prince and a person of magic who has passed through the mirror to our world. Fans of Funke's intense narratives and detailed worlds will not be disappointed. Behind the mirror lies a parallel universe that is still governed by magic and fraught with mystery. Mirrorworld is a clever combination of nightmarish fairy tales and a dark alternate reality. Readers will cheer for Jacob and Fox while willing their relationship to move further. The end of the book does not signal the end of the quest but rather sets the stage for further adventures. Although not a stand-alone, this is a satisfying second volume in the Mirrorworld series. Reviewer: Katie Mitchell
With time running out, aptly named treasure hunter Jacob Reckless returns to Mirrorworld, desperately seeking a way to prevent his own death in this riveting sequel to Reckless (2010). To save his brother's life, Jacob cut a deal with the Red Fairy, who cursed him by embedding a deadly moth in his chest, designed to destroy him within the year. Since then, Jacob has exhausted every remedy in Mirrorworld, including the All-Healing Apple, the Well of Eternal Youth and a northern Djinn's blood. As the reality of his impending death sinks in, Jacob remembers Guismond the Witch Slayer's crossbow, which, if shot into the heart, can kill many or heal one. With Fox, his devoted, shape-shifting female companion, Jacob embarks on what could be his final hunt through Mirrorworld, with Nerron, a ruthless Goyl treasure hunter in pursuit. As he tries to outmaneuver Nerron and outwit death, introspective Jacob gradually realizes he fears losing Fox more than his life, adding a poignant love note to the overall tone of despair. Adroitly building on layers of European fairy tale, Funke's original, rapid-fire narrative fearlessly transports Jacob and a bevy of ominous, multifaceted fantastical characters through a dark, decaying landscape in which death waits and honor is rare. Provocative, harrowing, engrossing. (map) (Fantasy. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
Praise for Fearless:
* Adroitly building on layers of European fairy tale, Funke's original, rapid-fire narrative fearlessly transports Jacob and a bevy of ominous, multifaceted fantastical characters through a dark, decaying landscape in which death waits and honor is rare. Provocative, harrowing, engrossing."Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"
Fans of Funke's intense narratives and detailed worlds will not be disappointed... Mirrorworld is a clever combination of nightmarish fairy tales and a dark alternate reality."VOYA"
Recognizable fairy-tale lore such as poisoning by the "Snow White method" and intriguing characters like mysterious Norebo Earlking will keep readers waiting for the next book in the series. Recommended reading for fans of Reckless and for readers who like reimagined fairy tales set in a unique world."School Library Journal"
Fans of Reckless won't be disappointed in this action-packed sequel, which will leave them wanting even more from the Mirrorworld. "Library Media Connection
Library Media Connection
"Fans of Reckless won't be disappointed in this action-packed sequel, which will leave them wanting even more from the Mirrorworld. "
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—After saving his younger brother Will's life in Reckless (Little, Brown, 2010), Jacob Reckless now has to save his own. With only months to live after being cursed, he searches for the Witch Slayer's crossbow, rumored to give life instead of death when it's used out of love. He is competing for the crossbow against ruthless fellow treasure hunter Nerron; a stone onyx, Goyl, who's saddled with a spoiled prince; and other unwelcome companions on his quest. A map helps readers track Jacob and Fox, the lovely shape-shifting human/vixen who loves him, as they desperately search all around Mirrorworld while encountering such familiar fairy-tale characters as Bluebeard. The action lags a bit when it's interrupted by descriptions of this fantasy world's unique inhabitants and history, but it reads quickly because of its many short chapters. Jacob's and Fox's personalities remain a bit flat because the plot takes precedence, although more is revealed about Fox's background than in the previous book. Jacob's continued inability to express his love for her lends poignancy to their close relationship, which is in danger of being cut short. Recognizable fairy-tale lore such as poisoning by the "Snow White method" and intriguing characters like mysterious Norebo Earlking will keep readers waiting for the next book in the series. Recommended reading for fans of Reckless and for readers who like reimagined fairy tales set in a unique world.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton