Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke, illustrated by Allen Williams
Published in America by Katherine Tegen on the 2nd July 2019. Based on del Toro's 2006 film, Pan's Labyrinth.

2019 New Release Challenge read, one of my 2019 COYER Summer Challenge reads, one of my WorldReads from Mexico and my Book Of The Month for July 2019

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This enthralling novel, inspired by the 2006 film, illustrates that fantasy is the sharpest tool to explore the terrors and miracles of the human heart

You shouldn't come in here. You could get lost. It has happened before. I'll tell you the story one day, if you want to hear it. 

In fairy tales, there are men and there are wolves, there are beasts and dead parents, there are girls and forests. 

Ofelia knows all this, like any young woman with a head full of stories. And she sees right away what the Capitán is, in his immaculate uniform, boots and gloves, smiling: a wolf.

But nothing can prepare her for the fevered reality of the Capitán's eerie house, in the midst of a dense forest which conceals many things: half-remembered stories of lost babies; renegade resistance fighters hiding from the army; a labyrinth; beasts and fairies.

There is no one to keep Ofelia safe as the labyrinth beckons her into her own story, where the monstrous and the human are inextricable, where myths pulse with living blood ...

I'm not a great fan of film versions of books so I wasn't sure how I would get on with a book version of a film. However I am such a fan of del Toro's work that, when I spotted Pan's Labyrinth on NetGalley, I knew I had to give this a try. I'm so glad I did because I absolutely loved losing myself in this story. The novelisation does, obviously, follow the film's storyline, but reading it never felt as though Funke was just recreating the film in prose. Instead this is a wonderfully dark adult fairytale creation in its own right. The melding of callous wartime violence with fantasy themes works brilliantly well. The most evil actions here are certainly carried out by humans although I don't think anyone can be said to be completely evil or completely good. I loved the emotional depth achieved which is unusual for a fairytale-style narrative, and the setting portrayals are superbly atmospheric. I don't know if I could say that I now prefer the book to the film, but Pan's Labyrinth will certainly be a contender for my Book of the Month!

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  1. I'm glad you got so much enjoyment out of this one!

    1. It was everything I had hoped it would be :-)