Reckless (Reckless Series #1)

Reckless (Reckless Series #1)


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Reckless (Reckless Series #1) by Cornelia Funke

Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father's abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He's also made many enemies and allies--most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.

But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl--a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.

Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell--before it's too late.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316056090
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 09/14/2010
Series: Reckless Series , #1
Pages: 394
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 16 Years

About the Author

Cornelia Funke is an internationally bestselling, multiple award-winning author, best known for writing theInkworldtrilogy, Dragon Rider, and The Thief Lord. Named by Time magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in the world today," Cornelia currently lives with her family in Los Angeles, California, in a house full of books.


Los Angeles, CA

Date of Birth:

December 10, 1958

Place of Birth:

Dorsten, Germany


University of Hamburg

Read an Excerpt


By Funke, Cornelia

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2010 Funke, Cornelia
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316056090


1. Once upon a Time

The night breathed through the apartment like a dark animal. The ticking of a clock. The groan of a floorboard as he slipped out of his room. All was drowned by its silence. But Jacob loved the night. He felt it on his skin like a promise. Like a cloak woven from freedom and danger.

Outside the stars were paled by the glaring lights of the city, and the large apartment was stale with his mother’s sorrow. She did not wake as Jacob stole into her room, even when he carefully opened the drawer of her nightstand. The key lay right next to the pills that let her sleep. Its cool metal nestled in his hand as he stepped back out into the dark corridor.

There was still a light burning in his brother’s room—Will was afraid of the dark—and Jacob made sure he was fast asleep before unlocking the door to their father’s study. Their mother had not entered there since his disappearance, but for Jacob this was not the first time he had snuck into the empty room to search for the answers she did not want to give.

It still looked as if John Reckless had last sat in his desk chair less than an hour ago, instead of more than a year. The sweater he had worn so often hung over the chair, and a used tea bag was desiccating on a plate next to his calendar, which still showed the weeks of a passed year.

Come back! Jacob wrote it with his finger on the fogged-up window, on the dusty desk, and on the glass panels of the cabinet that still held the old pistols his father had collected. But the room remained silent—and empty. He was twelve and no longer had a father. Jacob kicked at the drawers he had searched in vain for so many nights. In a silent rage, he yanked the books and magazines from the shelves, tore down the model airplanes that hung above the desk, ashamed at how proud he had once been when his father had allowed him to paint one with red varnish.

Come back! He wanted to scream it through the streets that cut their gleaming paths through the city blocks seven stories below, scream it at the thousand windows that punched squares of light into the night.

The sheet of paper slipped out of a book on airplane propulsion. Jacob only picked it up because he thought he recognized his father’s handwriting on it, though he quickly realized his error. Symbols and equations, a sketch of a peacock, a sun, two moons. None of it made any sense. Except for the one sentence he spotted on the reverse side:


Jacob turned around—and his glance was met by his own reflection.

The mirror. He still remembered very well the day his father had mounted it on the wall. It hung between the shelves like a shimmering eye, a glassy abyss that cast back a warped reflection of everything John Reckless had left behind: his desk, the old pistols, his books—and his elder son.

The glass was so uneven one could barely recognize one’s own reflection, and it was darker than other mirrors, but the rose tendrils winding across the silver frame looked so real they seemed ready to wilt at any moment.


Jacob closed his eyes.

He turned back to the mirror.

Felt behind the frame for some kind of lock or latch.


Only his reflection was looking him straight in the eye.

It took quite a while before Jacob understood.

His hand was barely large enough to cover the distorted reflection of his face. But the cool glass clung to his fingers as if it had been waiting for them, and suddenly the room he saw in the mirror was no longer his father’s study.

Jacob turned around.

Moonlight fell through two narrow windows onto gray walls, and his naked feet stood on wooden floorboards covered with acorn shells and the gnawed bones of birds. The room was bigger than his father’s study, and above him cobwebs hung like veils from the rafters of a roof.

Where was he? He stepped toward one of the windows, the moonlight painting patterns on his skin. The bloody feathers of a bird stuck to the rough ledge, and far below he saw scorched walls and black hills with a few lost lights glimmering in the distance. He was in a tower. Gone were the sea of houses, the bright streets—everything he knew was gone. And high among the stars were two moons, the smaller one as red as a rusty coin.

Jacob looked back at the mirror, and in it he saw the fear on his face. But fear was an emotion he had grown to like. It lured him to dark places, through forbidden doors, and away from himself, and even the yearning for his father could be drowned in it.

There was no door in the gray walls, just a trapdoor in the floor. When Jacob opened it, he saw the remains of a burnt staircase melting into the darkness below, and for a moment he thought he spotted a tiny figure climbing up the stones. But a sudden rasp made him wheel around.

Cobwebs fell down on him as something jumped onto his neck with a hoarse growl. It sounded like an animal, but the contorted face flashing its teeth at his throat looked as pale and wrinkled as an old man’s. It was much smaller than Jacob, and as spindly as an insect. Its clothes seemed to be made of cobwebs, its white hair hung down to its hips, and when Jacob grabbed for its thin neck, the creature sank its yellow teeth deep into his hand. Screaming, he punched the attacker off his shoulder and stumbled toward the mirror. The spidery creature got to its feet again, licking his blood from its lips, but before it could reach him Jacob was already pressing his hand on the reflection of his scared face. Immediately, the scrawny figure disappeared, together with the gray walls, and behind him Jacob could once again see his father’s desk.


His brother’s voice barely registered over the beating of his heart. Jacob gasped for air and backed away from the mirror.

“Jake? Are you in there?”

He pulled his sleeve over his mauled hand and quietly opened the door.

Will’s eyes were wide with fear. He’d had another bad dream. Little brother. Will always followed him like a puppy, and Jacob protected him in the schoolyard and in the park. Sometimes he even managed to forgive Will that their mother loved him more.

“Mom says we shouldn’t go in there.”

“Since when do I do what Mom says? If you tell on me, I won’t take you to the park ever again.”

Jacob thought he could feel the glass of the mirror like ice on the back of his neck. Will peered past him, but he quickly lowered his head as Jacob pulled the door shut behind them. Will. Careful where Jacob was rash, tender where he was short-tempered, and calm where he was restless. Jacob took his hand. Will noticed the blood on his fingers and gave him a quizzical look, but Jacob just quietly pushed him into his room.

What the mirror had shown him was his. His alone.


Excerpted from Reckless by Funke, Cornelia Copyright © 2010 by Funke, Cornelia. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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Reckless (Reckless Series #1) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 962 reviews.
ReadingTeen More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up at ALA 10 for my ten-year-old daughter. I got it signed for her and everything. She loved the Inkheart series and was really excited to start reading it, but after about 15 pages, she brought it to me and said, "I don't understand what's happening, this book makes no sense." So, I told her that I'd read it, and try to explain it to her. I am SO glad that I started this book....for two reasons. First, my ten-year-old is not ready for it. There was way too much bone-chilling creepiness, and there was also quite a lot of adult innuendo (the main character is 24) that she either wouldn't understand, or shouldn't be reading at ten. The second reason is that I REALLY liked it a lot!! Unfortunately, if she hadn't brought it to me, I don't know that I would have ever picked it up, which makes me sad because I'm afraid that people who would love it, won't read it because it's marked (presently anyway) for 9-12 year olds. So, why did I like this book so much? It was like The Lord of the Rings crossed with The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. I loved reading about the world behind the mirror! There were witches, and fairies, and dwarfs, and creepy stone creatures called Goyl. Then there were familiar fairy tale characters like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty (who was still sleeping because her prince never came for her). The story changes perspective several times as it is told by many different points of view, including Jacob, a loner who finds his place in this alternate world, Jacob's loyal female companion and shape-shifter, Fox, Jacob's brother, Will, who is rapidly turning into a Goyl, Will's fiery girlfriend, Clara, Hentzau, the captain of the evil Goyl King's army, and a few others. Though I think it might be confusing for younger readers, I thoroughly enjoyed reading from all these points of view. It was even interesting reading from the villain's outlook! The creepy-factor was big in this book, too. If you're a fan of the Brothers Grimm or Tim Burton type movies, you will definitely appreciate the bizarre, and eerily terrifying creatures in Reckless. Some of them seriously gave me chills. "The Tailor"....that's all I'm saying. I loved everything about this mystical world that Cornelia Funke twisted to make her own. I never knew what was going to happen next, or what creature they would encounter on their quest to free Will from the flesh-eating stone that was consuming him. The only complaint that I have is that I wish that we were able to get to know the characters a little better. I didn't feel like I got to know Jacob, or Will very well, which made it hard for me to care as much about what happened to them. Hopefully they will be fleshed out a little more in the next book which I can't wait to read! I hope that you won't let the age recommendation keep you from this book, and I hope you'll love it as much as I did. Reckless is an Epic adventure with a creepy twist on all the Fairytales we know and love. "If you're looking for happily ever after, you've come to the wrong place." Andye (
Antonio_S More than 1 year ago
Most of the other reviews are about the hardcopy edition (which will not come out until Sept. 14, 2010). They are talking about advance copies. Unfortunately the eBook only contains the first 7 chapters. Thirty three pages in all. The last page announces the release date of the full version. We have been tricked once more.
Corey Young More than 1 year ago
for the love of all that is holy, is it so hard to make samples say 'sample' plus arent samples useless since you can usually read the first chapter free anyways?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did anybody even read the book title before downloading it? It states "sneak preview" right in the title...
amethyst88 More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this and it was amazing. I stayed up reading until my eyes were sore and I had a headache, because I didn't want to put it down. I've always been a fan of the Grimm Brothers and when I found out Cornelia Funke was writing a book based on their stories reading it was a no-brainer. This may be even better than the Inkheart book and I'm saying this as a huge fan of that series. Admittedly it's not as complex as those books, but something about it was more captivating. The way Grimms Fairy Tales are interwoven with original ideas and creatures is pure magic. Do yourself a favor and read this book. The only downside is that now I have to endure the wait for the sequel. Another win for Cornelia Funke!
RavynKatt More than 1 year ago
Cornelia Funke has a very distinct writing style that works out well for this book. I bought this book because, like some of her other books, it is recommended for ages 9-12 but was reviewed and recommended for a more mature audience by readers. I have to agree. The subject matter and story of this book should best be left to teen or young adult readers. There is blood and violence, betrayal, and a complex emotional storyline that is more suitable for older readers. The characters are all very distinct, and through the course of this book, they grow and develop by addressing their emotions. The story moves quickly with teasing hints about the past of main character Jacob Reckless's adventures in Mirrorworld, and an ending that finishes the current story while setting up for more exciting adventures. I will definitely be following this series!
PlumPudding More than 1 year ago
When I first began this book, I didn't know what to think. Sometimes, I thought Funke tried to hard for beautiful, poetic writing and that everything was rushed and I was going to write a whole lot about the flaws of this book. And then I decided I didn't want to nitpick it anymore. Funke has a brilliant and beautiful imagination, and she poured all of it into this novel. The concept of the stone people was gorgeous to say the least, and her talent of bringing characters' emotions to the readers is her strongest point here. While some parts of the story did seem a bit random (oh look, I suddenly have this thing that turns me invisible, how convenient!), overall, I really, really liked this book. The atmosphere was engaging, the characters were well-painted and sympathetic, and the plethora of images and imaginative concepts kept me captivated. I only wish that there was a prequel to this story. Jacobs previous adventures were mentioned almost every other page, and I would have really liked to experience those as well. But anyways, a very imaginative and evoking read.
SFerraro26 More than 1 year ago
Just a reminder that we are supposed to be reviewing the book and not the publishers or barnes and nobles failure to advertise it correctly. I am sorry that this happened to you, but I can assure you that the book was well worth the money... I enjoyed this book alot. It kept me interested for hours on end. Didnt want to put it down. HIghly reccomended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I see this a lot when looking around for free ebooks. They use the words SNEAK PREVIEW to mean its only a sample of the book. If you own a Nook you should be aware by now that all the SNEAK PREVIEWS and SAMPLES are free. Your not getting tricked or anything because you didn't spend any money and it's your fault not theirs that you can't read the whole title.
Kate Schmiege More than 1 year ago
I read this book in class it was amazing! The darkest fairy tales really come alive. Do not read it unless you are prepared for a few bad words and pure scaryness. I recomend it for12 and up.
Katelyn Burdick More than 1 year ago
Im eleven and i absolutely loved it. But then again, i love the fantasy books like this, and i can comprehend a lot more than my friends... it felt like it was missing something though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a complex story if you like reading stories that you get scared this a great book and i am only 9
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters,plot,and pacing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the Inkheart series when I was younger and I am still impressed by Funke' s rich story telling. I am now 14 and the creepiness, mature story telling and fantasy elements incorporated was amazing. You also get fascinating different POV of different characters. The adventure of Jacob saving his brother from turning into a monster and watching the process was heart wrenching. You go through the emotions with the characters and I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved this book. It was darker then some of Cornelia Funke's other books,but still just as good! Its definitely worth reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book in the world!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will look for more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wha are you 5 as i recall he she said " baddest book ever " um well i dont mean to be mean but the correct way would be worst book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book last year and I did not know that it was the beginning of a series. I can't wait for the next book now! I admit it was hard for me to get into the book at first, but soon I was hooked. It was full of suspense and imagery and was told from the different characters points of view (like the Inkheart trilogy). I read the Inkheart trilogy, Dragon Rider, and The Book Thief before, (which I why I read this book because I like reading books from the same author) and I have to say that Cornelia Funke is a great author! Trust me on this please.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, but it kept me turning the pages!! It's worth the read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This really truely is a great read and one which spins a world of its own wich on can enjoy time and time again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was awesommmmmmmmmme!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a really good book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It hocks youu right in when you start the book. I am only on the second chapter but i love it so far.!!
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
I love Cornelia Funke! She brings fairy tales to life and mixes fantasy with reality. I seriously hope she is writing a sequel because I want to know what happens next to the Reckless family. Jacob Restless seems an unlikely hero in the beginning but soon proves the opposite. READ IT!!!!