It’s weird, I’ve been to a Guillermo del Toro museum exhibit and found it really cool but still haven’t seen one of his movies. So why did I pick this book up?? A) it has an amazing cover, B) I like the premise, just haven’t gotten around to seeing the movie, and C) I love fairytales of all kinds. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting, but I liked it!
Oscar winning writer-director Guillermo del Toro and New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke have come together to transform del Toro’s hit movie Pan’s Labyrinth into an epic and dark fantasy novel for readers of all ages, complete with haunting illustrations and enchanting short stories that flesh out the folklore of this fascinating world.
This spellbinding tale takes readers to a sinister, magical, and war-torn world filled with richly drawn characters like trickster fauns, murderous soldiers, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family.
A brilliant collaboration between masterful storytellers that’s not to be missed.
It’s weird trying to write a review for a movie adaptation when you haven’t seen the movie, but here I am trying my hand at it anyway!
First I want to talk about something not related to the story itself: that cover!! The colors, the placement of everything, the symbolism of everything, and the creepy vibes are almost too much for my fragile little heart. I love it so much.
This was an impulse checkout at the library and I had to renew it because the first time I picked it up I just wasn’t into it. It isn’t that the story was bad, it just wasn’t grabbing me. Once I picked it up the second time though I was in a better headspace for it and finished it quickly.
Everything in this book was new to me since I hadn’t seen the movie. I knew the very, very basics of the story: pretty much there’s a faun and that’s it. I had no idea where it was set, when it was set, or any of the conflicts. With that in mind, please go easy on me when I say there were plot twists and I loved them. Yeah, they happened 12 years ago in the movie, but whatever.
Vidal was a cruel man and I really enjoyed his character. The snippets from his POV were really interesting because I could really feel his self-control slipping and the insanity inside him. Ofelia’s character had a really rough time and, as much as I felt for her, she seemed a bit flat to me. Actually, everyone who wasn’t Vidal felt kind of flat. I empathized with their stories and love how their personal conflicts and motivations interacted with everyone else but I couldn’t really connect with them. When reading from Vidal’s POV I really felt his character and I just wasn’t getting that from the other characters.
The book is told in two alternating parts: the story we’re reading and the fairytale counterpart. The fairytale chapters complemented everyone’s storylines so nicely and made the book more magical in a very sinister way. The illustrations at the beginning of these chapters were great and I wish there had been more of them. The writing itself is pretty simplistic but gets the point across. Maybe a different style would have made me connect with more of the characters, but I think Funke’s style went along with the story nicely.
By the end of the book I was a bit confused and had so many conflicting emotions, not necessarily in a bad way. I felt like I didn’t know who or what to trust and that was definitely something I’m not all that used to in a book. I liked this element, even if I’m left with more questions than answers. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in dark, historical, and magical stories. I personally couldn’t read many books like this because I like to feel more engaged with the characters and their stories, but this was definitely unique.