I have to admit, I read the first book in this series (Inkheart) a couple years ago. It seemed a bit juvenile, so I never picked up the second. Then a friend handed me her copy and told me how much better it was.
I decided to give it a try. She was right. I liked this one much better.
Cornelia Funke writes beautiful descriptions. She does a fabulous job of using all the senses in her writing, to the point that you can taste her words. "Farid picked a berry, round and blue-black, sniffed it, and put it in his mouth. 'I once knew and old man,' he said, wiping the juice from his lips . . . "
I love how she mingles description with action. I love the words, "round and blue-black." They, among others, seem to paint the colors and smells. Her word choice is so rich and delicious.
She also has beautiful metaphors and similes. For instance:
"The Wayless Wood deserved its name. It seemed to have no end and no beginnings, like a green sea where you could drown as easily as in the wet and salty waves of its sister the ocean." Here's another: "He had only gone a few paces before the forest swallowed him up like a frog swallowing a fly . . ." See how the metaphor brings a feeling along with it? Despite the beauty with which she describes The Wayless Wood, we certainly get a sense that it's a dangerous place. After all, the forest swallows people as easily as a frog swallows a defenseless fly. (I read passages like this and think, "Now why couldn't I be that clever?")
As writers, we're often warned about being overly descriptive. Beautiful as this writing was, it was too heavy. I found myself skipping some of the description because I just had to know what happened to the characters.
I love books that I devour just as quickly as my kids. Inkspell certainly fits the mold. There were a few swear words (~under 10). So be aware in case you hand it over to your 9 year old.