For one thing, it was about a hundred pages too long. By page 450, I stopped caring very much about the outcome. (Sadly, I had seen the movie and knew how it would all turn out.)
Secondly, even with the magic qualities of literature woven into the story, Mo never comes across as an appealing protagonist. Meggie, his daughter, and Elinor, an aunt, add interest to the story, but fail to carry it.
Third, the villains are too stereotypical : Rotten to the core with no subtleties of character.
In spite of all this, there were some marvelous quotes:
If you take a book with you on a journey, an odd thing happens; the book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it.. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it . . . yes, books are like flypapers. Memories cling the printed page better than anything else. (p. 21)
There was another reason why Meggie took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange - familiar voices, friends that never quarrelled with her, clever, powerful friends, daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventures who had travelled far and wide. (p. 21)
Books have to be heavy because the world´s inside them. (p. 25)
Her curiosity was too much for her. She felt almost as if she could hear the books whispering on the other side of the half-open door. They were promising her a thousand unknown stories, a thousand doors into worlds she had never seen before. (p. 44)
So, even though the story never really grabbed me, I enjoyed the great quotes and the good writing. Funke´s book was translated from German into English by Anthea Bell who hails from the U.K., which gave the book a nice British feel.
Has anyone else read it? What did you think?