I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about this book for a while now. I’ve been stuck because it suffers from middle book syndrome. It’s a lot darker than the first installment and doesn’t resolve enough to have a satisfying conclusion. At the same time, I know that the third book will resolve a lot of things, and that will change how I view the events in this book.
One of the big changes from the first book to this one is the setting. The majority of the book doesn’t take place in the ‘real world.’ That change alone makes it a very different experience from the first book. Generally in a series, every book has the same rules, but not with this series. The rules of the real world and the rules of the Inkworld are different and that disconnected the books for me. It’s not a bad thing, but it did take some getting used to.
The characters in Inkspell are better than they were in Inkheart. Everyone has more depth, even the villain, and that’s really what drove this book. Each character does what he/she thinks is best, and they do it consistently throughout the book. They all make mistakes, and they all learn and grow. It’s pretty rare to come across a book without any stagnant characters, but it happens here.
Despite the intriguing characters, it was hard for me to get through the book because the story just wasn’t good enough. There were some big, important events that took place, but it was a bit of a slog to get through all the intermediary action. I really think that about a third of the book could have been cut without feeling any loss.
Until I’ve read the last book, I have to stay neutral on this one. It wasn’t bad, but I can’t claim it was good either. I’m really hoping that the third book puts this one into perspective, but I don’t know how soon I’ll get around to reading that one because this book just didn’t do anything for me.