Reckless Abandon: Living Shadows Book Review

Blurb for Reckless II: Living Shadows by Cornelia Funke

Jacob has saved his brother from the Mirrorworld, but now he will pay a terrible price. A fairy’s curse is burning in his heart, and to break the spell he must embark upon a perilous journey – with his trusty friend Fox by his side – to seek out the only treasure that could save him.

Jacob’s search for the golden crossbow will lead him across hundreds of miles by land and sea, to an invisible, enchanted palace within the Dead City. It will bring him face to face with vicious beasts, bloodthirsty giants, and a deadly stone­faced rival.

It will test his courage like never before.

My Review

I have been looking forward to reading this book for over two years and I finally got it! I loved the first one, Reckless, later released as Reckless I: The Petrified Flesh, and picked up the third one at a thrift store but have been forcing myself to wait till I could read the second one. Shout out to my sister for borrowing it from the library for me!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Crossing a fairy costs you your life, and Jacob Reckless, as he says, managed to get on the wrong side of two of them. Suffice to say, he’s for sure going to die. It’s only a matter of time until the moth one of the fairies marked him with consumes his life and flies away with it. Jacob has been on the hunt for magical objects that are supposed to break curses, heal wounds, or prolong life ever since.

Reading this book just made me want to read the first one again. And then read this one again before reading the third one. This is portal fantasy and fractured fairy tales and an original fantasy world and parallel universes and alternate history all rolled into one. This is the more regal, matured distant cousin of Inkworld: Mirrorworld.

It’s a quest for a magical object with life in the balance. I love the worldbuilding, the characters, the stakes, the pacing. Jacob and his shapeshifting friend, Fox, traverse realms in search of the one thing that might save Jacob’s life. They encounter fairytale-esque monsters, unlikely allies, and repeatedly cheat death on their way to trying to make the reaper fold once and for all. But he’s not the only one trying to escape death. Nor is he the only one on the hunt for the object.

The way the narrative builds from being a quest for a magical object to save someone’s life, to being an elaborate plan for a long-dead ruler to come back to life, to being a revelation about the origins of not one but two magical entities is just *chef’s kiss*. Expectations are overturned at every corner, leading into deeper and more sinister complications for the next installment.

Another thing I like about how this book was written is the way references to the events of the first book came up—they came up naturally where you would expect them to, but without explanation beyond what was being discussed. There is no recap/plot synopsis/review period for what happened in the first book. You can read it yourself or simply get on with this story—because this story isn’t exclusively contingent on every event from the first book. There are a couple of pivotal points that stem from it, like Jacob being marked to die and the political marriage that joined one country to another—somewhat melodramatically but also fabulously called the Blood Wedding—but that’s about it.

The road is marked with adventure, political intrigue, magical objects, professional rivalry, and
people from a distant past. Also, a business card with the name Norebo Johann Earlking on it and nothing else. It will be important later.

View all my reviews

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