Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

I love Cornelia Funke. This love affair started with The Thief Lord, which I found on a "what to read while waiting for the next Harry Potter book" list and really enjoyed the imagery and imagination. I wanted to be with those kids, hiding from evil aunts, etc. Next came Inkheart which to this day is my favorite book. I've since read all the books that she has published (at least in English), including two picture books. She is one of the few authors that I will buy on site, even if I haven't heard anything about the book.

Igraine the Brave is a book aimed at a slightly younger crowd than Inkheart and Thief Lord, but I found it very enjoyable. Igraine is the 12 year old daughter of a couple of powerful magicians. Her older brother is also training to be a magician, but Igraine wants to be a knight. Not just any knight, but the kind of knight that wins competitions and that people will remember for generations.

Shortly after the story begins, Igraine and her family are warned by a friend that their castle will soon be under attack by an evil nephew of a neighbor. Igraine's parents decide to wait until after Igraine's birthday to worry about him though. Unfortunately,they turn themselves into pigs while finishing Igraine's birthday present. In order to reverse the spell, the magicians need some hair from the head of a giant, which they are all out of. Igraine volunteers to fetch the hairs, and the adventure begins!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found Igraine an engaging heroine. She could really stand on her own and her friends only added to the fun. The addition of the Sorrowful Knight was a great way of including things that all honorable knights should know in an unpretentious manner. Everything just fits well together, and the silliness of the story doesn't necessarily feel silly. Somehow, it just works. Cornelia Funke has a way with words that always makes the the story feel so real for me. Also, I believe she sketched the artwork that appears throughout the book.

Recommended for Readers 10 and up, though it would make a good read aloud for ages 6 and up.


  1. This was an amusing book, but my middle schoolers (12-14)thought that it looked way too young for them.

  2. Interesting. Thanks for sharing your perspective with us.

  3. I am currently reading this out loud to my 7 and 9 year old. They are enjoying it. It has been a pleasure to find and read your blog.

  4. Love this book! Endearing and adorable!

  5. I know this is an older post, so I'm not sure you'll see my comment. I have a question. My daughter was given a copy of Inkheart from the library for completing the summer reading program. I haven't read it yet. I read the cover and saw that it was for ages 10 and up. Since she is 8, I told her to wait a bit, but wonder if you think it would be an o.k. book for an 8 year old. I'm sure she won't have trouble reading it, I just didn't want it to be too scary for her!

    my e-mail: cindimartineau@gmail.com