Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke (Book Review)

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Page Count
: 320

It seems that I am making a habit of not reading book-to-movie adaptations, but rather the other way round, where books were specifically written AFTER their other-media-format successor became popular. Admittedly, it has been a long time since I watched the Pan’s Labyrinth movie, but to me, it makes sense to want to expand on the story a little bit.

To start with, let’s show you the trailer and then I will also talk about the plot a little bit. Usually, I don’t add my own summary in my review, because mostly Goodreads takes care of that and then I just use it in my graphic, but this time I found it too ambiguous. So, here is the trailer for the movie for starters (from a time when trailers still had overly dramatic voice-overs):

As stated in the brief summary above, the book follows the tale of the film, which is about a young girl by the name of Ofelia, whose mother remarried a cruel officer after the father died during the war. They move to a cold and cursed abandoned mill in the Spanish mountains, where rebels are trying to fight for their cause. Things get truly interesting when Ofelia, a girl who is mainly interested in books and still grieving her father, finds a fairy that leads her on dangerous adventures with the promise of becoming the Princess of the Underground world. This truly follows the film quite faithfully, sometimes word for word in terms of dialogue, but it also adds immensely to the world building by including short stories about objects and past events that happened at the very place the people are now.

Ofelia didn’t remind her mother that for her, there was nothing better than a book. Her mother wouldn’t understand. She didn’t make books her shelter or allow them to take her to another world. She could only see this world, and then, Ofelia thought, only sometimes. It was part of her mother’s sadness to be earthbound. Books could have told her so much about this world and about places far away, about animals and plants, about the stars! They could be the windows and doors, paper wings to help her fly away. Maybe her mother had just forgotten how to fly. Ir maybe she’d never learned.

Ofelia’s mother didn’t know it, but she also believed in a fairy tale. Carmen Cardoso believed the most dangerous tale of all: the one of the prince who would save her.

When I was younger, I gobbled up Cornelia Funke’s books like they were magic itself and could take me to foreign places. The Inkworld trilogy and the Thief Lord are still among my all time favourite books, however, I had never read her stories in English before. So, I don’t know how much of it all was Guillermo del Toro and how much of it was her. Either way, they managed to recreate the darkness and fantastic visuals from the movie with simple language and added background story and thoughts.

He abruptly dropped his hand, summoning the mask of confidence that had become his second face, merciless, determined. Death is a lover to be feared and there was only one way to overcome that fear – by being her executioner.

Death sighed. She was used to men begging for another few years or months, sometimes even hours. There was always something unfinished, something undone, unlived. Mortals don’t understand life is not a book you close only after you read the last page. There is no last page in the Book of Life, for thelast one is always the first page of another story.

One thing I am not sure about is the claim that this book is made for readers of all ages. The first chapter/the prologue is literally about a young girl dying by stepping into the world and forgetting who she was before. As I’ve also mentioned a couple times now, it’s quite a dark story and the happy end is debatable (as is tradition with old folklore, if you ask me). So, I could see a child who is dealing with matters such as death and grief themselves to maybe find solace in this book, but I wouldn’t give it to someone who was never exposed to it or gets easily frightened. Just like I definitely wouldn’t show the movie to a kid.

A groan echoed through the floor, the moaning of a hungry bloodstained mouth, and when she stepped back, she felt the Pale Man pushing against the floorboards. The worst fears are always underneath us, hidden, shaking the ground we wish to be firm and safe.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! I really enjoyed this, although I am not sure if it will stay with me forever.

Have you read Pan’s Labyrinth? Have you watched the movie? Let’s chat!

My Life in Books! Book Tag

I’ve seen the My Life in Books! Tag float around the bloggosphere lately and since both Cristina @My Tiny Obsessions as well as Ashley @Socially Awkward Bookworm tagged everyone, I decided to take them up on the offer and just do the tag! But just as I was working on this tag, it turned out I even got personally tagged by #lovebooks, so thank you!

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1. FIND A BOOK FOR EACH OF YOUR INITIALS.

Both my initials are K. Trying to find a book starting with K on my shelf was close to impossible. I had to ignore all the “A”s and”The”s and still only found one. So, I decided to go with another that I want to read at some point  but don’t own yet.

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The Kite Runner & The Kiss of Deception

2. COUNT YOUR AGE ALONG YOUR BOOKSHELF – WHICH BOOK IS IT?

I’m 22 and that landed us at: The One by Kiera Cass

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3. PICK A BOOK SET IN YOUR CITY/STATE/COUNTRY.

I live in Vienna and one my favourite books is Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer which is coincidentally set there.

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4. PICK A BOOK THAT REPRESENTS A DESTINATION YOU WOULD LOVE TO TRAVEL TO.

I’ve recently been obsessed with wanting to visit Chicago, so I’ll go with The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, because apparently it is set there. Also, I quite liked the book.

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5. PICK A BOOK THAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COLOR.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell! I like colours that aren’t all up in your face and I like shades of green and blue.

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6. WHICH BOOK DO YOU HAVE THE FONDEST MEMORIES OF?

This one is really hard. There are so many books that I love, but I think I’ll go with Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. That story was everything to me as a kid. It perfectly portrayed my love for books.

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7. WHICH BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE MOST DIFFICULTY READING?

There were a couple of books that were difficult for me to get through. I think one of the more difficult ones was Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I watched the movie and while it was really cheesy, I loved it. The book just didn’t convey the same charm to me. I tried really hard but at some point I just put it aside. I am not sure I’ll ever finish it or that I even want to.

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8. WHICH BOOK IN YOUR TBR PILE WILL YOU GIVE THE BIGGEST SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT WHEN YOU FINISH IT?

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon! I love the story and the show, but reading this is exhausting. I don’t get anywhere, which is really a shame. I’ll be really glad when I’m finally done with it.

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I’ve done a lot of tags and awards lately, so I am going to TAG EVERYONE! Yes, you right there! If you haven’t done it and want to, you can consider yourself officially tagged by me. Link back here and I’ll gladly take a look at your answers!

The Fireworks Book Tag

It’s a slow day, so I’m getting to this super fast. I’ve just been tagged by Cristina @MyTinyObsessions to do the Fireworks Book Tag. So let’s light the fuse!

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SCREAMERS – a book that made you want to scream! (in a good or bad way)

I often make those little squeals of happiness while reading a good book, but I wanted to pick something where I was more frustrated. Therefore I choose Geek Girl by Holly Smale. It’s about a geek girl that wants to get rid of her bad rep and turns into a model just to realise that it’s not bad to be a geek … I was so annoyed with her! WHY WERE YOU OFFENDED ABOUT BEING CALLED A GEEK!? IT’S NOTHING BAD!!!

Geek Girl (Geek Girl, #1)

BOMBERS – a book that you read before it “exploded” in the book community

I’m afraid I don’t know how to answer that. I have checked up on the book community for a while now, but it’s also where I get my book-buying inspiration from. So …

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BANGER – a banned book you’ve read

Again, this is really hard to answer. There’s only one book banned in my country and that’s Mein Kampf by Hitler … so, nope, I don’t even want to read that!

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PEONY – a book/author you think everyone needs to read

Cornelia Funke and Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler are responsible for some of my best childhood-book-memories so I’m going to go with them. There are so many more authors and books that I’ve loved ever since, the list would be endless if I continued.

      

CROSSETTE – a book/series with a complicated plot

I wanted to say Game of Thrones, but Cristina already beat me to that (but know that that would’ve been my first answer. SO many names to remember!) … so, I’ll take Angelology by Danielle Trussoni instead! From what I remember it’s quite a lenghty book and includes different POV’s in different time periods. It’s been a while since I read it and I was quite fascinated with it, but it was just too much for me, so I didn’t pick up the sequel.

Angelology (Angelology, #1)

DIADEM – a book/series with an amazing set of central characters

The Dark Reflections Trilogy!!! The books are written by Kai Meyer, a German author, so I also read them in German. I don’t even know all the English titles and I prefer the German covers, that’s why I chose them to be portrayed below.
I was SO in love with the book series, even though I never owned them, but borrowed them from my cousin. It takes place in a sort of mirrored magical version of Venice (that was totally my thing as a kid – magic Venice!) I liked almost every character that existed in the book, because they were all so intriguing and magical. I was devastated in the end …

MATCHES – light your own fireworks by tagging 5 people!

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: DAY 1

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I have been nominated to do the 3 Days, 3 Quotes Book Tag or Challenge by My Tiny Obsessions. She nominated me a while back, before I went to Wales. I really like those sort of things, so thank you very much! You should check out her blog! She’s always up to date on everything cool that’s book, TV and movie related.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
  3. Nominate three new bloggers each day.

The first quote is from one of my favourite “childhood” books – Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I feel like it’s very simple but very true, because each book I’ve read contained its own unique world that needed exploring and that grew on me with every page.

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And my nominees are:

I hope you have fun with it for a couple of days, like I will :)!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the BookishI’ve never participated so far, but since this week’s motto is Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From, I thought it’d be the perfect time to join in the meme-craziness. Let’s do this!

There are actually a couple of authors of whom I have several books, just because I have a 3-strike-rule with authors. After reading one of their books and liking it, they have two more chances to prove to me that they are not just a one-hit-wonder. That way I end up knowing if their future books are an insta-buy or not. Still, 3 is not that big a number and we’ll see how many people actually made it on the list with more than that!

  1. Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler (16 books)
    I devoured the Series of Unfortunate Events books (13 books in total) when I was younger and couldn’t resist additionally buying a collection of poems called Horseradish, The Beatrice Letters and The Unauthorized Autobiography.
  2. Charlaine Harris (13 books)
    I don’t know how many books she’s written in total, but I barely made it through the entire Sookie Stackhouse Series, so I decided not to read another series of hers. It’s not that the Sookie Stackhouse books are bad, but they do tend to get repetitive after a while.
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  3. Cassandra Clare (9 books)
    I’ve read the entire Mortal Instruments Series as well as the Infernal Devices Series and I loved them. I intend to get to the companion novellas and short stories at some point as well!
  4. Nicholas Sparks (7 books)
    I like cheesy romance … SO WHAT? I read The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven, The Lucky One, The Last Song, Dear John and A Walk to Remember. This pretty much means that I read most of the movie adaptations. I also own a copy of the Notebook, Message in a Bottle and Three Weeks with my Brother, but I haven’t gotten to those yet.
  5. David Levithan (6 books)
    Okay, so three of the books were co-written with Rachel Cohn, but nonetheless, I really like his books. The co-written ones were more fun to be honest and consist of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares. The books I’ve read that were written by Levithan alone were still good books, but didn’t excite me as much: Every Day, The Realm of Possibility and Wide Awake.
  6. Cornelia Funke (5 books)
    I adored her books! I will never get over the awesomeness that is the Thief Lord and the Inkheart Trilogy was basically a book series about fictional characters coming to life. (Dustfinger will always be my hero!) I also read Potilla, but that book was rather forgettable.
  7. Stephenie Meyer (5 books)
    Read the Twilight Series as well as The Host. I liked the books at the time, but I am not sure how I feel about them now. I remember that it took me forever to get into The Host, but I actually remember more about it than I do about the Twilight books. There are supposed to sequels to the Host, but I’m not sure I’d read them now. I think it’s been too long.
  8. Tahereh Mafi (4 books)
    I very much enjoyed the Shatter Me series, so I also read the companion novella Unite Me.
  9. John Green (4 books)
    I have read pretty much the standard books: The Fault In Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines.
  10. Eden Maguire (4 books)
    Eden Maguire’s series the Beautiful Dead is rather unknown as far as I know and I think the ratings aren’t that high from what I can remember. Still, I loved reading it at the time and like thinking back to it. Click here to read the Goodreads synopsis!

Turns out there are a lot more people of whom I’ve read 4 books, such as Georgia Byng, George R.R. Martin, Kiera Cass, L. J. Smith and many more. This list would go on for a while though if I continued like this. By clicking on the author’s pictures, you’ll be redirected to their Goodreads page where you’ll be able to see their entire bibliography. What are some of your most read authors? Any recommendations?

The Book Courtship Tag

Every now and then I tend to throw in a book tag to change up things on my blog. I actually read a lot, but I often don’t get around to posting about it and I’ll admit with shame that I let my Goodreads reviews slide as well. But I’m making up for it now! I forgot who created it originally, but I saw the Book Courtship Tag on jessethereader‘s channel on YouTube and it sounded like fun! The questions are structured according to the different phases of courtship, so here we go!

Phase 1 – Initial Attraction: A book that you bought because of the cover?
We’ve been over this before: I pretty much buy all my books because of their covers. Most recent acquiries include Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, The 100: Day 21 by Kass Morgan and Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins. Don’t they look just lovely!!

Phase 2 – First Impressions: A book that you got because of the summary?
That’s actually a little bit of a tough one. Very often, I buy books because someone recommended them to me or it just has a general buzz going on. It’s been a while since I’ve read this book, but I was really intrigued when I read the cover description of the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! I think it’s because I like vague descriptions rather than full on explanations of the story and the Night Circus was definitely vague!

Phase 3 – Sweet Talk: A book with great writing?
Uuuuh, I like that one! Although I love the writing in Red Queen and the Shatter Me Series, those seem like my go-to answers, so I want to say something different. Is it weird to say Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare at this point? It’s nothing like the books I mentioned before, but I found the writing hilarious! Maybe that’s because I completely and utterly associate it with the performance of Katherine Tate and David Tennant though … (click here to see the Trailer on YouTube!). Also, there’s a Joss Whedon version out there (again, click here for the Trailer) which I liked.

Phase 4 – First Date: A first book of a series which made you want to pick up the rest of the series?
If I start a series, the book has to be really, really terrible in order for me not to want to read on. (I stuck with the 100 series and that means something …). Yet, I do know of a book that I loved so much and still love to this day: The Bad Beginning from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket! I love that series to bits, even though I think it’s quite dark and frustrating for children.

Phase 5 – Late Night Phone Calls: A book that kept you up all night?
Many a book has managed to do that. Nowadays it just happens so often that I can’t remember at what time of the day I’ve read a book. However, when I was little that was a special thing to do (and a real honor for the book). I remember loving the City of Beasts series by Isabel Allende and it being so suspenseful that I just couldn’t put the books away!

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Phase 6 – Always on my mind: A book you couldn’t stop thinking about?
There are two books that’ve stayed with me a while after I was finished with reading them: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff and Every Day by David Levithan. And here’s why:

  • For me, war is a very disturbing but vague concept. I’ve grown up in a safe environment and I wouldn’t wish for it to be any different, but How I Live Now allowed me a glimpse at how warfare would look like in developed countries nowadays and that just kept me thinking for a while. We are used to so many things these days, the world would go down in a whole different kind of chaos without the communication systems we have now.
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  • David Levithan is one of my all time favourite authors, but he managed something completely new with Every Day. The main protagonist switches body every single day, not willingly, it’s more like a curse. That led to the problem that A never had a gender identity. Try to imagine a character without those typical female or male voices, without a face to go with. It’s really weird. I can’t wait for the rest of the series!
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Phase 7 – Getting Physical: A book which you love the way it feels?
You’re going to have to trust me on this one, because I have no way of proving it, but I love the way The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney feels like. It’s as if the book is bound in leather or something and that just feels sooo nice. The book has been turned into a movie with Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander, Julianne Moore and Kit Harington. I haven’t seen it yet, so if you have, tell me if it’s worth checking out!

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Phase 8 – Meeting the parents: A book you would recommend to your family and friends?
I’m not sure I would recommend it to all my friends (because let’s face it, the tastes vary a lot), but I recommended it to my mum and she liked it: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It was a change from the usual sci-fi/fantasy/YA stuff I normally read and the old man’s POV just broke my heart. Also, I love stories that take place in a circus.

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Phase 9 – Thinking about the future: A book or series you know you will re-read many times in the future?
I’m not huge on re-reading, but I like to take a look at the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke and everything written by John Green every now and then.

Phase 10 – Share the love: Who do you tag?
I don’t usually tag people with this, so whoever wants to do it – GO AHEAD! Spread the looove!

Hope you enjoyed this little excursion into my bookshelf-life. Don’t hesitate to comment and discuss below! I’d love to hear what you think.
Read you soon!

My Top 5 Childhood/Young Adult Books

Seen as I have written a lot about TV shows lately, I thought I’d change it up a little and do a post on my favourite childhood/teen books and book series. I absolutely adored (and still do love) all of the following stories and compared everything I read afterwards with them. Before I get all nostalgic, here my list:

  1. The Thief Lord (Cornelia Funke)
    The brothers Bo and Prosper are supposed to get seperated after their mother’s death, but Prosper won’t part with his little brother. Together they flee to Venice where they meet the mysterious Lord of Thief who offers them food and shelter. At the same time they have to hide from the private investigator their aunt and uncle hired to find them.
    I love the book as well as the movie that came out in 2006. The film included actors and actresses such as: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jim Carter, Rollo Weeks, George MacKay, Alice Connor, Caroline Goodall, …
    While reading the book I fell in love with Venice, which only made it so much more devastating when the real Venice wasn’t as fascinating and magical as it appeared in the book, but I don’t blame the story for that.
  2. City of Beasts (Isabel Allende)
    City of Beasts is the first installement of a trilogy, the sequels are called Kingdom of the Golden Dragon and Forest of the Pygmies. It revolves around Alex, who has to spend his vacations with his grandmother, an International Geographic reporter. While they are in the Amazon region he meets Nadia, a girl a few years younger than him. They soon discover that they have certain animalistic powers and that is pretty much how they are able to deal with the difficult situations they are confronted with in all three books.
    I especially loved how every book took place on a different continent and how the friendship between Alex and Nadia developed into something more.
  3. Inkheart Trilogy (Cornelia Funke)
    Since I was a child that absolutely loved reading, there couldn’t have been anything more exciting than a book about people who can read characters out of another book. Books all over the place! I think Inkheart was the first book, where I really and wholeheartedly cared about the fate of a fictional character (Dustfinger – for all of you, who know the story). It’s magical and beautiful and I still think it’s one of the best young adult book series out there.
    The first book was made into a movie, featuring Brendan Fraser, Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany, Eliza Bennett, Andy Serkis, Sienna Guillory and many more, but I didn’t like the adaptation at all.
  4. A Series of Unfortunate Events (Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler)
    This was probably one of the most depressing and frustrating book series I have ever read, nonetheless it is one I will always remember and charish. The story focuses on the life of the three Baudelaire siblings. After their parents died, they get sent from one strange relative to the next, while making sure they are not killed for their heritage by the evil Count Olaf. The first three books were also made into a fairly decent movie starring Jim Carrey, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning, Catherine O’Hara, Billy Connolly, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Coolidge, Jude Law, …
    I guess the story could be considered quite dark for children, but I still loved it!
  5. Molly Moon’s Incredible Book on Hypnotism (Georgia Byng)
    The first book of the Molly Moon series was published in 2002 and I have to admit I only read four of the existing six, because I kind of grew out of the story by the time the newer ones were published … and I am afraid the stories also weren’t as good as the first ones. Still, I definitely love the first book! It’s about Molly, an orphan, who’s life drastically changes when she masters the art of hypnosis.
    It’s certainly an exciting adventure that also let’s you appreciate what you have in life.

After re-reading the list, I just noticed how many books revolve around the life of orphans. Did you read some of the same books when you were little? Did you like them or would they be on the bottom of the list of your childhood reads?