By: Guillermo del Toro & Cornelia Funke
Ofelia is a thirteen-year-old girl who has seemingly lost everything. Her loving father passed away unexpectedly leaving her mother to raise Ofelia alone. However, her mother could not handle the loneliness and soon remarried a monster of a man, Vidal. Now pregnant with his child, Vidal has demanded his new wife and Ofelia move to the mill where he is trying to hunt and kill the rebels in the surrounding forest. Ofelia’s mother will do anything to please her new husband, even at the expense of her daughter and her own health.
An avid reader of the fairy tales her father gave her as a child, Ofelia still very much believes in magic. So when a fairy arrives one night to lead her into the local labyrinth, she is unsurprised to find the creature Pan waiting for her. While she is frightened, her hard is also full of adventure, and she must complete three tasks to find out who she really is.
I didn’t want this book to end. As a Guillermo del Toro fan, one would assume I had seen Pan’s Labyrinth already. However, while I own the movie, I have never watched it. Don’t ask me why because honestly, I don’t know. But when I saw the gorgeous book on the shelf at B&N, I knew I had to get it. I knew even more that I would soon read it. The dust jacket, cover, pages, and illustrations were all so perfectly done that this book should honestly be considered its own work of art. Absolutely incredible.
There were so many themes discussed in this fairy tale that I know the characters and story will stick with me for years to come. You will delve into the complex emotions of loss, loneliness, fear, mistrust, hatred, and pride. This novel is also about the fight against Fascism and standing up for what you believe in. It can be a bit heavy-handed, but I loved the story and message none the less.
Vidal is also a great villain in that you will actually hate him. There is nothing lovable about that man, and you will wish for his destruction through the whole story. I just honestly recommend reading this.
The mini-stories scattered throughout were my favorite. It’s all just so del Toro and Funke added her special flavor to the mix as well. That’s what made her one of my favorite childhood authors. She can write to any audience with great emotion and care.
Overall rating: 5