Inkspell: Inkheart Trilogy, Book 2



Overlong but often exciting sequel, darker than first book.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking and drunkenness.

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. 

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Cornelia Funke
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:October 9, 2005
Number of pages:635
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14

This review of Inkspell: Inkheart Trilogy, Book 2 was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 10 and 14 year old Written byJeanHe March 11, 2010

Inkspell - - skip it!

Inkspell had several story lines going at one time - - much like a soap opera - - which was very hard to keep up with for our 9 year old son. It took a very long time for my son to get committed to it mentally and it moved very slow for the first 200 pages. There were significant episodes of swearing that didn't add anything to the book and it spoke often of a married man sleeping with a 13 year old. It was a huge disappointment for us after reading Inkheart and watching the movie. Very poor sequal.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byXfes October 29, 2010

It's brilliant!

I don't think she's copied anyone. It might take some people a while to get into, but a connection can quickly be established with the plot and characters. The language isn't really a problem ad while there is violence, it isn't to excessive levels. Inkheart, the prequel is my favourite book.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008


KNOW YOUR KID--- please look over the ENTIRE series before giving to a 8-9 yr. old. There are some cold scenes in some of the books. This is definately better than Harry Potter, if you are steadfast on reading the Harry Potter book, than squeeze this series in while you wait. It is something you'll thank me for later ( and the author)


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