Review of ‘The Petrified Flesh’

The Petrified Flesh draws inspiration from The Brothers Grimm, capturing their essence and bottling it up for readers to enjoy.

Excellent Storytelling

The Petrified Flesh

The Petrified Flesh
Cornelia Funke
Pushkin Children’s Books

The Petrified Flesh, first published back in 2010, in Funke’s return to writing after her bestselling Inkheart series. However, now in 2021, she has taken the extra step to re-write her series. Showing tremendous growth as a writer, she listened to what critics and readers had to say and considered when revising her story.

And it paid off. Having never read the original publication, I cannot honestly tell you what has changed since this novel was first published in the past decade. However, as a reader of her past works, I can say she has grown as an author and storyteller.

The Petrified Flesh is more for young adult readers, whereas her Inkheart series leans more towards juvenile readers. The main characters here are in their mid-twenties. The story is darker; it has a somber tone that did not take over her Inkheart series.

Funke’s ability to put together a story is impressive, switching between various notable characters; Funke keeps the pacing and tension rolling forward. The chapters are concise and to the point, but they still capture the dark magic and sinister edge of the Mirrorworld that Jacob has found himself in. Funke did a fantastic job of capturing that atmosphere of a classic fairy tale, weaving it together, and building up her own unique and creative narrative.

Nevertheless, there was one fault in the storytelling. It felt like something lost in translation, some bit of magic left behind in Germany that did not quite make it to the US edition.

There were bits and pieces of storytelling that felt stiff and dense, which kept me from losing myself entirely in the narrative.

Nevertheless, The Characters Persisted.

While it seemed as though some magic was lost, the tension between the characters keeps the reader engaged.

Jacob goes through quite the journey in this novel as he slowly realizes that he has been a terrible older brother. Sinking into the mirror world in hopes of finding his father, he left his brother alone with their heartbroken mother. Jacob left Will alone, visiting him, to tell him of his adventures, but not being there, being present to help watch over him.

Moreover, the one-time Will follows him into the Mirrorworld, he is cursed, his skin petrifying and turning to jade stone.

His journey forces him to realize how selfish he is. Not only with his brother, but also with Fox, his companion for all his journeys, and not he must face the challenges and rise to the occasion to be a better person.

Now Fox is by far the best character, a girl who can turn into a Fox, she has attitude, and without her, Jacob probably would have died long ago. Long ago, he saved her, and now they watch over one another; they care about each other. The reader sees the depth of their feelings, the growth of their love for one another as they journey to end Will’s curse takes them to dangerous places.

Furthermore, The Petrified Flesh goes between other characters to build up the novel’s scope, giving it the dimension and thoughtfulness it needs to capture the readers’ attention. No one is a side character here; they all have something to offer the plot as it develops.

Final Thoughts

The Petrified Flesh is perfect for fans of the Grimm fairy tales. Funke does a fantastic job with her world-building, building up the depth of her characters and giving readers an imaginative and unique read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: June 8, 2021Page Count: 352ppAge Range: 13 & Over
ISBN: 978-1-7826-9124-2Publisher: Pushkin Children’s BooksList Price: $14.95

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