Title: The Golden Yarn (Mirrorworld, Book 3)
Author: Cornelia Funke
Date completed: 18 April 2017
Goodreads rating: 5 stars
Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father’s abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and friends, from his brother, Will to the shape-shifting vixen, Fox, are on a collision course as the two worlds become connected. Who is driving these two worlds together and why is he always a step ahead?
This new force isn’t limiting its influence to just Jacob s efforts it has broadened the horizon within MirrorWorld. Jacob, Will and Fox travel east and into the Russian folklore, to the land of the Baba Yaga, pursued by a new type of being that knows our world all to well.
I will preface this review by saying two things. Firstly, this review won’t be super in depth or long, because as the third book in a series there’s quite a lot that could be spoilers, and I don’t want to spoil any of this for anyone. Secondly, Cornelia Funke is my favourite author, and as a result I’m somewhat biased in that I love literally everything of hers I read. Because she’s amazing.
I read the first book of the Mirrorworld series a long time ago, when it was called Reckless, and it’s sequel was Fearless. Now, for some unknown reason, these books have been rebranded as Reckless: The Petrified Flesh and Reckless: Living Shadows. This annoys me slightly, because I thought that Reckless and Fearless were cooler names. I’m also a bit annoyed that the English edition covers aren’t quite as beautiful as the German covers (this seems to be a theme). Seriously, look how beautiful they are!
Anyway, onto The Golden Yarn. I actually picked up my edition as part of the Dymocks free book boxes they sometimes have in store, where you can pick up books that have been damaged/lost the dust jacket/are ARCs for free if you have a student card or dymocks card. As a result, my copy of The Golden Yarn is actually an uncorrected proof copy. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest, particularly as (because of the various cover/branding changes that have occurred), I’m going to need to repurchase book 1 anyway, and I only have book 2 on audiobook. I brought it back to Edinburgh with me from Adelaide to read on the train up from London, which is exactly what I did.
The Mirrorworld series is set, unsurprisingly, in a world called the Mirrorworld. The Mirrorworld is quite similar to our world, however a few centuries behind. By this point in the series, the Mirrorworld has entered the industrial revolution, and horses, carriages, and candles mingle with trains, automobiles, and the beginnings of electricity. The Mirrorworld is also filled with magic and magical creatures: witches, nymphs, faeries, and elves. The Mirrorworld is actually one of my favourite fantasy worlds I’ve ever encountered in literature. I like that it’s not your bulk standard medieval alternative world that often appears in fantasy. I like that it’s a bit gritty and dark. And I actually really enjoy that its geography mirrors that of our world, just with slightly different names. I enjoy that I don’t need to constantly flick back and forth to a map in the front to know where my characters are.
All three of the Mirrorworld novels so far as essentially quest stories that follow our main character, Jacob Reckless. Jacob Reckless is from our world, but has been able to travel to the Mirrorworld through a mirror in his house since he was a teenager. Like all of the characters in this series, Jacob is wonderfully developed. He isn’t the typical loveable flawless hero, but he also isn’t the classic anti-hero. He’s a mix of both, and as a result he comes across as an actual person, someone you could imagine meeting. Because the Mirrorworld series is not strictly YA, the characters are given much more scope to be developed and behave in realistic, complicated, conflicting ways, rather than being bound by classic YA tropes. Jacob isn’t always likeable, in fact sometimes he’s downright infuriating, but that just adds to his charm and developed-ness.
In The Golden Yarn, we get to explore a bit more of the Mirrorworld, and its various magical creatures (often based in the myths of the European countries they’re set in). We also got to experience the story from multiple points of view. I’m a huge fan of utilising MPVs, but only if it’s done well. Funke manages to make sure all the characters have a distinct voice and personality, and this comes through into their chapters.
In general, Funke is such an incredible author, and her translator Oliver Latsch does an amazing job of carrying this through into English. The writing flows so well, and it makes the books really easy to read without feeling undeveloped. The Golden Yarn is no different. The beautiful writing style, which is quite simple, just adds to the experience of reading such a wonderful work of fantasy.
If you’ve never read any of Funke’s work, I would almost recommend starting here, rather than her more popular Inkworld series. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the Inkworld series, but I just feel that the Mirrorworld is a bit different and a really wonderful place for adult readers to begin their Cornelia Funke experience.
It’s always a good sign for me when I don’t want to finish a book because I’m enjoying it so much, and that’s what I had with The Golden Yarn. I didn’t want to leave the Mirrorworld, its wonderful characters, its beautiful worldbuilding, and its stunning story. If I had the first book here with me in Edinburgh, I would have picked it up and started reading it again straight away. And I can’t really give a book series a higher praise than that.