Inkspell: Inkheart Trilogy, Book 2

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Inkspell: Inkheart Trilogy, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Overlong but often exciting sequel, darker than first book.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 49 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

As with the first book, the whole thing is tribute to books, authors, reading, and especially reading aloud. 

Positive Messages

Kids will pick up on the good against evil plot -- and also how exciting books and their characters can be.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Meggie is a smart, gifted protagonist who is loyal to her family and very brave.


Killing by sword and dagger (in some cases in cold blood) and fire, a shooting, fighting and battles, threats of torture and hanging, deaths of major characters, references to putting out eyes and cutting off hands, a mention of spousal abuse.


A few kisses, oblique references to affairs and cheating spouses.


Occasional mild to moderate swearing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking and drunkenness.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, in addition to the bloody violence depicted in this fantasy sequel, there are lots of references to violence in the past, and the threat of violence hangs over most of the book. There is an edge to the violence here as well: it is somehow more vicious, hate-filled, and senseless than in most fantasies. As with the first book, kids pick up on some positive messages as brave bibliophile Meggie fights for good against evil -- and to save her family. The whole series is tribute to books, authors, reading, and especially reading aloud. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCameron L. May 5, 2021

Not for Elementary students

Although the first book in the series was well written and great for experienced upper elementary readers, this second book unfortunately has swear words in it.... Continue reading
Adult Written byThe Books are magic March 19, 2014
Teen, 13 years old Written bynerdybirdy March 15, 2019

Not as good as the first book, honestly

A beautifully written story, but maybe a little too long. And that's coming from a person who's read the awfully long saga of Harry Potter. Yet the tr... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBrigidArmbrust May 4, 2018

What's the story?

Meggie shares with her father the perilous ability to read things and even characters out of books. In this sequel to Inkheart, Meggie discovers that she can also read people into books. After Dustfinger is sent back into Inkheart by Orpheus, another person with this ability, Meggie and Farid soon follow him, and Resa and Mo are sent by Orpheus, along with Mortola and Basta, the surviving villains from the first book. Mo is seriously wounded by Mortola, and Meggie finds Fenoglio, the author of the story, now living inside it. He agrees to try to help Mo by writing new sections of the book, but the story seems to be evolving in ways that he can't control. As kingdoms go to war and multiple villains team up for revenge and conquest, Meggie tries to rescue her parents while falling in love with Farid.

Is it any good?

Fantasy writer Cornelia Funke takes a page from J.K. Rowling's book, but she missed the most important lessons. Pacing is essential, and books don't get long by larding them up with lots of unnecessary description and pointless to-ing and fro-ing; characters should age gradually; there has to be some lightness in the dark, some humor, some occasional lifting of the miasma of misery; if you have lots of characters, you have to sharply delineate them or it's just confusing; and if you're going to kill off major characters, you have to involve readers emotionally with them first if you want them to care.

This isn't to say that Inkspell lacks excitement -- there's plenty to be had, scattered among the long, drawn-out scenes and descriptions. Fans of the first book will doubtless love this one as well: They have presumably learned to put up with the pacing and skip over the paragraphs that are unnecessary to the story. And the author has an intriguing premise and no shortage of imagination. But this could have been done so much better. Just ask J.K.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this sequel compares to the first book. Is the story as exciting as in the first book? What would you change, if anything? Are you going to read the third book, Inkdeath?

  • This book is fantasy but does feature some intense violence and threats. Is it easier to read about dark and disturbing things if it's in a work of fantasy? Does it make any difference to you?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy books

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate