Fantasy

Review: Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro & Cornelia Funke @CorneliaFunke @BloomsburyBooks

Pan’s Labyrinth

Author:  Guillermo Del Toro & Cornelia Funke

Date of Publication:  July 2nd 2019

Genre:  Fantasy

Pages:  272

Publisher:  Bloomsbury

Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Book Depository |Waterstones| Wordery|


Fans of dark fairy-tales like The Hazel Wood and The Cruel Princewill relish this atmospheric and absorbing book based on Guillermo del Toro’s critically acclaimed movie.

Oscar winning writer-director Guillermo del Toro and New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke have come together to transform del Toro’s hit movie Pan’s Labyrinth into an epic and dark fantasy novel for readers of all ages, complete with haunting illustrations and enchanting short stories that flesh out the folklore of this fascinating world.

This spellbinding tale takes readers to a sinister, magical, and war-torn world filled with richly drawn characters like trickster fauns, murderous soldiers, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family.

A brilliant collaboration between masterful storytellers that’s not to be missed.

The magic and wonder of Pan’s Labyrinth somehow escaped me the first time it came out and I have no idea how?!  If you think that this is a perfect, child friendly happy ever after fairy tale you are in for a rather nasty shock.  I think it’s always a risky business turning film into novel, but this dark fantasy ticks all my gothic needs in one full swoop.  Ophelia is a heroine that gives us all the feels, she is a character that we can relate to in one way or another.  She has that childhood naivety that we all had only to have it crushed from blow after blow, loss after loss. 

Pan’s Labyrinth is a Dark story of Fascism, Magic, Beasts and Horror.  Funke has multi-faceted the deep penetrating layers of childhood wants and fears with enough symbolism to create terror and hope.  The creatures and characters have been created beautifully and the illustrations and descriptions can manifest within even the most lacklustre imagination.  Whether or not you enjoyed the masterpiece that is the film original, you will love the magic that the novelisation has brought.  The book opens and immediately introduces us to Ophelia a girl suffering and struggling with the events that led us to the death of her ever-loving father.  Those two had the kind of bond that all daughters wish they had with their fathers.  The love was pure, and nothing could touch it.  Ophelia’s mother was to remarry – the man was described as a wolf, but a snake is it what he was.  Her mother is dreadfully ill with the pregnancy she runs into the forest to find a source of water – she meets a fairy.  Now, this is not your run in the mill fairy – this is not your average fairy tale, kids!  Cornelia has the descriptions flowing off the pages…the illustration of these beings is so perfect. 

Can I just highlight just how amazing Funke is at making the reader have a deeper understanding of her power of lyrical mastery?  She talks about how evil shows itself.

“Little more than a whisper, a betrayal and then it grows and takes root.” 

Evil isn’t the big nasty, its obviousness there from the start, it’s there picking bit by bit until there is a festering open wound, where everyone can see how bad it gone.

The story reminds of the humanity of characters and how even in the worst situations there can always be lightness within the deepest depths of despair.  Mercedes is one such character.  She is described as an enchantress.  Her beauty is unfounded, she’s caring, and she would do anything to protect the innocents that the evil in this world don’t deserve to break.  She’s an amazing character, one with incredible strength and resilience and family is the most important thing to her…its worth protecting and cherishing.  Nothing means more. 

Ophelia discovers the Labyrinth.  On first sight it’s this big dangerous, carnivorous being, but the fairies give her strength and determination and whilst living in a world of uncertainty and fear, this is the safest place she’s ever experienced.  Ophelia meets Pan – Wow, the illustrations and descriptions of this half goat half tree creature are outstanding.  He reveals a pretty massive secret about her and how she must return to claim her birth right.  Ophelia is steeped in history and ancestry.  She is a girl born again through prophecy. 

The writing from Funke is outstanding – flows beautifully and the symbolism brings a 3D layer to the usual fairy tales.  It’s more believable – life is full of demons and wolfs in sheep’s clothing.  I will read anything that Funke writes from this moment on, she is a master of the skill of storytelling and an inspiration to a generation. 

We meet a manner of beasts and mythical creatures.  Some awe inspiring some pretty terrifying.  One thing that rings true is that the good will mostly win out.  The bad will always get them commence and morals will always fare well in love and family. 

Pan’s Labyrinth isn’t a run in the mill fairy-tale.  There is no knight in shining Armor to save the day.  This is a feminist dream and a story to last the generations.  An utter masterpiece.

7 thoughts on “Review: Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro & Cornelia Funke @CorneliaFunke @BloomsburyBooks

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