Author: Cornelia Funke
Publisher: Breathing Books
Length: 464 pages
Source: ARC from Author
Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father's abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and friends, from his brother, Will to the shape-shifting vixen, Fox, are on a collision course as the two worlds become connected. Who is driving these two worlds together and why is he always a step ahead?
This new force isn't limiting its influence to just Jacob’s efforts – it has broadened the horizon within MirrorWorld. Jacob, Will and Fox travel east and into the Russian folklore, to the land of the Baba Yaga, pursued by a new type of being that knows our world all to well.
Protagonists: Jacob Reckless is back after nearly dying for the umpteenth time. This adventure is a bit different from the previous two, mainly because if I told you what it is I'd feel like I was spoiling it, let's just say that Jacob and Fox follow Will to the east of the Mirrorworld where folktales from the Middle-East and Russia roam. This book really gets a good chance to expand on Will's character a lot, he's confused since his time behind the Mirror and in this book he really tries to find a sense of self. However, while there is quite a bit of character development with Will, there is still much of himself for him to explore by the end of the book. Jacob and Fox, who are both fierce, loyal, and independent, but tied together by more than just fate, do have development in this book, but that's more something for the romance section.
Romance: So just as Jacob and Fox's romance seems prime to launch there's a giant wrench thrown in it. The drama that ensues is torturous and sometimes painful to watch. Two people who want nothing more than to be together, but can't due to unfortunate circumstances. Because of aforementioned wrench there is a bit of a love triangle in this book, and because of Funke's non-formulaic writing style I had next to no choice but to take it seriously. This is a series where anything can happen, and because of that a lot of emotions were stirred up because of this love triangle, though it's something that I felt kind of needed to happen.
World-Building: There is a lot of information thrown into this book, something that I at times find very annoying, but there was a minimum of info-dumping in this book, but there were still a few moments that were hard t fully absorb. In this book we get another, quite different look at the Mirrorworld, traveling east we leave most of the places we've known from this series and new ones steeped in different folklore and traditions. This world seems to be ever growing and I was happy to discover new and unexpected places. There is also a great deal revealed in this book, scenes that I'm sure fans have waited years to see and while not everything goes the way I'm sure people would want, it is real and very entertaining, and we have two more books left in this series so much more left to explore.
Predictability: I've said this before and I'll say it again, since Cornelia Funke writes in such a non-formulaic way, it's very hard to see where things are going. In fact, I don't think there was a single thing, other than the very basic formulaic things that I called and even they were at times tenuous. Every twist and every turn felt not only real, but very well planned and executed.
Ending: So I have to say that I really didn't expect this book to end the way it did, I expected something a bit more enclosed like the previous two books were, even though I know they weren't, like, standalone level enclosed, they did have this weird sense of accomplishment to them, an adventure gone on and completed that leads into something else, this time however things feel very unfinished. The very end of the book isn't a huge cliffhanger, while I do want to continue this series, I'm not chomping at the bit to continue.
So this is the book that truly redeems this series for me, I mean the previous installment laid a lot of the groundwork, but this is where I really got invested in the world, the characters, and what's going to happen next. I can't wait to continue!