An enjoyable read but can be very dark at times and has sexual content.
Jacob Reckless has been wandering in and out of a magical world for years. Trying to escape from a rough home life, Jacob has sought solace behind a world whose only entrance is through a mirror in his father's study.
However, one fateful day Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through. Will becomes the victim of a strange men-like creatures that are made of living stone. Jacob must find the cure to save his brother from slowly and painfully turning into stone.
This is a fairy-tale so themes like brotherly love and pure love are discussed throughout. Jacob learns that he must do what ever he can to protect and save his younger brother. William is accompanied by his girlfriend, Clara. Clara vows to stay with Will even though he is becoming unrecognizable through the stone.
However, while it is great that he will do anything to save Will, Jacob does some pretty shady things on his mission against time. Other characters are hardly any better. Most are ruthless people that are out only to protect themselves.
Magic is a huge element of the story. Several Fairies in the story are very powerful and are not afraid to toy with lesser beings as they see fit. This means that some pretty cruel things are done along with the good.
A marriage in a church is planed for one of the characters. There are bad witches in the book as well as good.
There is a lot of violence in this novel though it is never described in graphic detail. There are many battles. Several characters get hurt and several others die. The story starts right after a war ends. Most troubling is a massacre that happens in a church. Many people are injured or worse because of it.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Jacob rents a room above a tavern where we see several people drunk.
Unlike other books by Cornelia Funke, this one is pretty adult. Nothing is ever described in graphic details but Jacob has certainly had a promiscuous life. He spends the night with a fairy who might be helpful in saving his brother. One character also remembers some other past flings that Jacob has had. Jacob also falls in love with Clara. Another character is pining for Jacob.
Another character has several wives and a mistress. The same character is planning another wedding as well.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
There is cursing like d*** and such. There are also made up curses. Many characters are pretty crude as most are out to serve their own purposes.
I did enjoy the read, and thought the characters were well developed even though many were flawed. I also like the descriptions of the fantastical world. It is loosely based on fairy-tales so it was fun to pick out various references in the book. However, I found the sexual content and some of the violence very troubling. Cornelia Funke is best known as a children's book author so people familiar with her work should be cautious about giving this to younger readers.