===About the Book=== Just a few chapters into ''Inkspell'', Mo (a.k.a. "Silvertongue") sagely says to his daughter, "Stories never really end, Meggie, even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don't end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page." A fitting meta-observation for this, the unplanned second installment in Cornelia Funke's beloved now-trilogy. Of course, it's that sort of earnest, almost gushing veneration of books and book-loving that made the absorbing suspense-fantasy ''Inkheart'' so wonderful in the first place, with that lit-affection getting woven integrally into the plot (''Inkheart'' being both Funke's first book in the series, and the fictitious book within that book, authored by the frustrated Fenoglio, now trapped within the book, er, within the book. Fenoglio, perhaps not surprisingly, self-referentially wishes in ''Inkspell'' that he had written a sequel to ''Inkheart''.) ''Inkspell'' should serve as a special treat for fans of the first book, as characters from ''Inkheart'' who have found themselves in the "real world" (if there is such a thing) find themselves read back into their own mythic, word-spun world--along with some of our favorite "real-world" characters. As with the previous book, Funke's greatest accomplishment here is telling such a rich and involving (and fun!) story, while still managing sweet, subtle commentary on the nature of words and meaning. Expect a tantalizing finale, too--as Funke says, "No reader will forgive me the ending, though, without a part three." ''(Ages 8 and up) --Paul Hughes''
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