After his father disappeared, twelve-year-old Jacob sneaked into his study searching for answers. Instead he found a magic mirror. For twelve years, Jacob journeyed back and forth from his own world to the Mirrorworld, a parallel dimension where dark fairy tales became real: questers can sell magical objects on the black market, dangerous fairies seek human lovers, and sleeping princesses decay in eternal sleep, waiting for princes who never arrive.
For Jacob, the Mirrorworld is an escape from everything that he does not want to face in his own world. But when his younger brother, Will, follows him and is wounded by a stone Goyl, everything changes. As Will begins to turn to jade stone, Jacob and the fox-girl who loves him have to guide Will and Will’s fiancee, Clara, through his dangerous world, hoping to find a cure, though he is fairly sure none exists. Meanwhile Goyl army, led by the Dark Fairy, race to find the jade Goyl who has been prophesied to protect their king and lead them to victorious dominion over the human empire.
Based in a German fairy tale tradition that is already fairly dark, Funke’s Mirrorworld is chilling and grotesque. The book is marketed for teens, and will certainly appeal especially to an older teen audience, although adults who enjoy these kinds of twisted fairy tale fantasies will find the characters very accessible as well. I enjoyed reading this book very much.
If you liked Reckless, you might like Dreamwood by Heather Mackey or Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (both for a slightly younger audience).