PAN’S LABYRINTH: The Labyrinth of the Faun
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke
Published by Katherine Tegen Books, July 2, 2019
My star rating – 4 stars
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. Find it on Goodreads
I remembered hearing about the movie a while back. So when I saw the book was just being published now, I thought it was quite interesting…… usually book before movie…. not the other way around! That alone had me interested. And then another thing happened – I looked at the design of this book…… it’s GORGEOUS!!! The illustrations were so creepy and beautiful! They added atmosphere and a bit of an ominous feel. All of these aside though, I had no clue what this book was about. It had sold me on all the other points so, at this point, it didn’t matter. I was hooked.
Almost immediately, I knew that I was going to love this book. The writing was so rich and deep. It gave you a sense that this was going to hit you in the emotions while simultaneously taking you somewhere whimsical. And that’s exactly what happened! I never imagined that this book would have so many layers and dimensions! The story itself takes place in Spain in the middle of the second world war. A young girl is travelling with her mother and younger brother, to live with her mothers new husband. Her father had died, and now they were being sent to live in the country with a captain of the war that seemed like an awful man right from the start. This poor girl was so afraid, alone, and knew that she was living with a monster. The story at its core was so dark and sad. Not only do we see this girl try to find a purpose, but we get to see a few people who were a part of a rebellion, sending a spark of hope into the sky that things might end soon. Regardless of that tiny spark, it was so grim and bleak.
Right along with the darkness comes a beautiful world filled with wonder, beauty and love. Basically everything that the “real world” didn’t have. This coincided with the real world and brought in whimsy and connection. It reminded me A LOT of Alice in Wonderland actually with all its riddles and rules, and a fairy type land hidden within a labyrinth that wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I was impressed by how much of this story was told in such a small amount of time. I LOVED this world so much that I wish the book was longer or focused on this world some more.
As much as I loved this book, it just wasn’t long enough. With these two worlds side by side there just wasn’t enough time to do it all. Everything was there structurally, and it still managed to suck me in completely (including my emotions), but it still didn’t feel complete to me. I wanted more detail and more time spent in each place so I could feel a little more attached. As much as I enjoyed (or hated, depending) the characters, a little more time spent with each one would have helped me feel connected to them.
I absolutely loved this book! And I’m really glad that I went into it blindly. I think that going into it with no expectations helped me be caught off guard by the emotions and the magical seemed all the more magical. In the end, this was a fantastic read that I wasn’t expecting! If you’re in the mood for some magic with a side of emotional breakdown, this is the one for you!
Until next time, happy reading!