by Cornelia Funke (Goodreads Author)
I love this author’s writing! The plot is imaginative, full of dry humor and magic. There are wild and wondrous settings all over the world, full of fascinating creatures, both mythical and real.
The main characters (Firedrake, Ben, Sorrell, Twigleg, and Barnabas Greenbloom) are magnificently written, with backstories, deep motivations and fears, and hidden longings that push them forward in the story, shaping their decisions and interactions with others.
There are also far too many new characters introduced. I can barely keep straight all the old characters, and the new ones were almost impossible to remember. I was able to remember the more interesting of the new characters, such as the Pegasus father Anemos, the troll Hothbrodd, the griffins Shrii and Kraa, the tropical bird Me-Rah, and the dragon nicknamed Tattoo. Those characters were memorable with unique personalities.
However, there were a ton of monkey characters that I could never remember. It would have better to just have two important monkey characters, and the rest should have been unnamed monkeys in the background. Why do I need to know the names of eight monkeys who play minimal roles in the plot and have no personality? Or maybe some of them were birds. I can’t remember who is a monkey and who is a bird. That just shows you how unimportant they were to the story.
The plot really is wonderful, and I do love those main characters, but I feel like this could have been a much tighter story with a cleaner story-telling style. There are just too many details, too many characters, too much stuff distracting from the main story.
Still, I enjoyed it immensely! The writing made me feel like the characters are real; their anxieties and longings and love and joy became real to me in so many subtle ways.
Maybe I just expect so much from this author because I love so many of her books.