This epic work of the imagination has captured the hearts of millions of readers worldwide since it was first published more than a decade ago. Its special story within a story is an irresistible invitation for readers to become part of the book itself. And now this modern classic and bibliophile's dream is available in hardcover again.
The story begins with a lonely
boy named Bastian and the strange book that draws him into the beautiful
but doomed world of Fantastica. Only a human can save this enchanted
place--by giving its ruler, the Childlike Empress, a new name. But the
journey to her tower leads through lands of dragons, giants, monsters,
and magic--and once Bastian begins his quest, he may never return. As he
is drawn deeper into Fantastica, he must find the courage to face
unspeakable foes and the mysteries of his own heart.
Readers, too, can travel to the wondrous, unforgettable world of Fantastica if they will just turn the page.... (Summary and picture from goodreads.com)
My Review: Let's be honest, who hasn't seen that ridiculous 80s film? For me it
was a staple of childhood, even with the bad puppetry, poor acting,
choppy storyline, and screaming children. Revisiting the film a few
months back, I thought it was high time I actually read the book.
One of the first cool features of The Neverending Story is the book
itself--it alternates between red and green text depending on which
world we're experiencing, Bastian's or the land of Fantastica. There
are also cool illustrations at the beginning of each chapter (not to
mention each chapter's first letter is the alphabet, A-Z).
The first half of this book hooked me with its vivid, unique story. I
loved following Atreyu's quest, and watching how Bastian is unknowingly
being drawn--literally--into the world of Fantastica. The story itself
flows really well, the characters are simultaneously amusing and heartbreaking, and the
trials that Atreyu faces are faced vicariously by Bastian as well, not
to mention us as the reader, which plays a vital role for the first
climax of this book.
I won't lie, the second half was a little slower in my opinion, and the
excitement to hurry to my lunch break and read it lagged. While I see
the merit of it now having finished the entire book, it was a bit hard
to slog through after the intrigue and exciting nature of the first
half. It felt a little as if it had hit a brick wall and trickled down
like molasses until the finale. Mind, I'm not saying that stories have
to be fast paced every second to be good, the first half wasn't always
this way, the second half just felt like an entirely different story,
which, in a sense, I suppose it was.
What I do love about the second half is this: who doesn't want
to escape, literally escape, into the pages of a good book? Bastian is
able to do so through the power of the Auryn and the Childlike Empress,
where he actually becomes a character in the Neverending Story. Only,
as he grows in power (including making things happen and appear by
simply telling a story about it), he becomes a bit of a jerk and
Atreyu's foil, and there were times I just wanted to smack him.
Still, his friendship with Atreyu holds firm and comes full circle at
the end, and I liked how everything was sorted, and in hindsight, this
second half was important for the completion of the story and Bastian's growth.
There was also a trending theme throughout the book that I rather
loved. When Atreyu or Bastian would interact with a character, before
that character departed from the story, the author would give them a
short paragraph stating all the things they would go on to do, ending with, "But
that is another story and shall be told another time." We never hear
these stories, and it's a fascinating concept that they could be
happening somewhere else in some realm or other.
Any book lover should read The Neverending Story. It's as if this book
was written for anyone who's ever had the desire to actually escape into
a good book and become who they're meant to be. Because books really
can do that, even if you don't physically get to enter into their world.
My Rating: Four stars
For the sensitive reader: That scene with Artax in the film? Remember it? It's far more heartbreaking in the book. There are also fantastical monsters and beasts, along with peril, death and battles, but all tastefully done.