I finally got around to starting Inkdeath. Whew. There are always so many books that need reading, especially those that have been loaned to me, and I was beginning to fear that I wouldn't get to Inkdeath this month which would have greatly depressed me. But the time has come, as the Walrus said, and so let us begin. I've never written about individual chapters before so don't be surprised if it takes me a few posts to find my stride.
There's no point in my even writing about individual chapters if I can't say there will be spoilers. So expect them, welcome them, and if you don't want spoilers about this final book in the Inkheart trilogy, sadly, you must forgo reading these posts.
HOW INKSPELL ENDED
Inkspell ended in a really bad place and I distinctly remember suffering intense anguish of mind having to wait for the final book. I never read the Harry Potter books as they were being released, so this type of suffering was quite new to me. I'm used to it now because it takes forever for Cornelia's books to be published in English.
All right, so, how did Inkspell end?
It ended with Farid getting killed and Dustfinger sacrificing his life so the White Women would take him instead of Farid. In a fit of despondency, Farid implores Fenoglio to write a paragraph that will bring Orpheus (another gifted reader) into the Inkworld in the hopes that he will be able to create the perfect combination of words that will bring Dustfinger back to life. Literally, the Inkworld is a complete and total wreck at this point, just as I was when my beloved Dustfinger died. So that's the end of the 2nd book in a nutshell, just to give some context.
Chapters 1 - 5 of Inkdeath
"She'd stood here so often over the last few weeks, surrounded by books that meant nothing to her; now she was once again alone with them. They didn't speak to her, just as if they knew that she'd have exchanged them all on the spot for the three people she had lost. Lost in a book."Keep in mind that at this point everyone except Elinor (Meggie's aunt) and Darius (another reader, only this one has a stutter) is in the Inkworld. And just so the reader doesn't forget them, the story opens with Elinor and Darius. Grateful to be rid of Orpheus and Mortola (the Magpie), Elinor now has her house to herself once again, well, herself and Darius. But it isn't the same because she knows that Mortimer, Resa, and her darling little Meggie have all been swallowed up by the Inkworld.
I can't even imagine being Elinor. Her only family has vanished into a book and she is left behind, and for her, being left behind is agonizing because books are her life. Or so she thought. But now her only desire is to see the people she loves most again. Books no longer have the same value to her, and she is left grieving and puzzling over a solution that refuses to present itself.
"Meggie, Resa . . . he hoped they'd still be asleep when he got back. How was he going to explain all the blood if they weren't? So much blood . . . Sometime, Mortimer, he thought, the nights will overshadow the days. Nights of blood. Peaceful days."Ahhh, Mo. When I first read Inkheart, Mo was my absolute favorite character. And a part of him still is. But the best characters must grow and change and alter, become more than they are, so too does Mo.
When we first meet Mo, he is gentle and kind, with almost never a harsh word for anyone. He is a bookbinder and so the tricks of his trade involve healing wounds and creating fantastical new bindings for old, damaged books.
But in the Inkworld, Mo is different. Fenoglio, the world's original author who is also trapped inside the pages of his own book, began messing around with his story. You see, Fenoglio didn't like what had happened to his story, and so he created a hero to change things. The only problem is that he based his Bluejay on Mo. And so, with Mo being in the story, he starts to become the Bluejay. He goes out every night with the Black Prince and his men, defending the helpless villagers from pillaging soldiers. He fights and he kills, and Meggie (his daughter) looks at him now with new eyes because she realizes that he is not the same Mo that she has known her whole life.
He is changing, but it's not him doing the changing. It's as if he's being rewritten, which is hard for me because I always loved Mo the way he was. Men like him, good, solid men, shouldn't ever change. Mo was always a hero in his own right. He doesn't need to become the Bluejay too.
"Now and then one of his creations would die after taking only a few breaths, or would turn out vicious (the Chunk often had bandaged hands), but that didn't bother Orpheus. Why would he might if a few dozen fire-elves died of starvation in the forest because they had no wings, or a handful of river-nymphs drifted dead in the water without their scales? He pulled thread after thread out of the fine fabric that Fenoglio had spun and wove patterns of his own, adding them to the old man's tapestry like brightly colored patches and growing rich on what his voice could entice out of another man's words."Poor Farid. Imagine your best friend sacrificing himself so you could live? That is Farid's fate, being alive while Dustfinger is dead. And that is why he serves Orpheus, a man he hates, all in the vain hope that someday Orpheus might just be able to read Dustfinger to life again.
One of the reasons I always struggled liking Farid is his blatant honesty in how he's feeling. His emotions are so very raw and . . . authentic. You know when he hates someone or when he pities someone or when he loves someone. Farid never does feelings by half, and because of his obsessive openness, he always made me uncomfortable.
The grief he feels over Dustfinger is very real in this chapter. There is no other explanation behind him serving Orpheus, a man he despises. Everything in Farid's mind now is about bringing Dustfinger back. He is overwhelmed with that obsession, his guilt and his shame encompassing him, even to the point of keeping him away from Meggie, the girl he also loves. It's just that at this point in his life, it is more important for him to bring Dustfinger back than to be a besotted boy
As for Orpheus, one emotion that Farid and I agree on is that we both hate him. PASSIONATELY. Every sentence I read where he plays a part is like little needles dancing along my nerves. So self-centered and self-righteous, playing in another man's written world as if it were his own! Ooh, he just infuriates me.
I wish I could remember Orpheus' demise, but I don't at this moment.
"Meggie looked around, saw the table, the tools, the feather - and Mo's black clothes. Wasn't all this made of words? Fenoglio's words. The house, the farmyard, the sky above them, the trees, the rocks, the rain, the sun, and the moon. Yes, what about us? Meggie thought. What are we made of - Resa, me, Mo, and the baby on its way? She didn't know the answer anymore. Had she ever known it?"Meggie. Mo's little girl who isn't that little anymore. She's a teenager now, growing up slowly, falling in love, and realizing that her father is changing, not because he wants to, but because the story he's in is forcing the change.
This chapter helps Meggie realize that she and Mo has traded places. In Inkspell, she was desperate to visit the Inkworld. Now all she really wants to do is go home, and Mo is the one who wants to stay. This bit really is a look at Mo and Meggie as they're changing, and Meggie's profound fear that her father isn't telling her the whole truth, and that he will eventually be caught and executed as the Bluejay.
Even though Meggie suspects Mo has more planned, she insists on accompanying him on a foolhardy trip into Ombra to look at some hand-illuminated books in the Milksop's possession. And on their way, Mo intends to visit Fenoglio, the man who started it all.
"Was there any more wretched existence than the life of a writer who had run out of words? Was there a worse fate than having to watch someone else twist your own words, adding colorful touches - in very bad taste - to the world you made?"And now we have Fenoglio, the story's "author." He's indulging in a pity party right now because Orpheus has taken his world and turned it topsy turvy. Although to be fair, Fenoglio himself did his world a bit of a disservice in the last book. Now he's reaping the consequences of his poor writing choices, which include the country being terrorized by the Adderhead (villain) and his brother-in-law the Milksop (villain).
But is Fenoglio doing anything substantial to help? Nope. He's simply drinking himself into a stupor every day and sending his glass man, Rosenquartz on spying missions to Orpheus' house. He's really quite pathetic at this point in the story, but I'm hoping that he'll get mad enough soon that he'll begin writing again and take back what Orpheus has stolen from him. This is, after all, Fenoglio's story, however unworthy he might be as a writer to possess it. If he'd only stop whining and drinking, he'd be so much better off.