03 July 2019

Review: Pan's Labyrinth - The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro & Cornelia Funke

Pan's Labyrinth - The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro & Cornelia Funke book cover
* Copy courtesy of Bloomsbury *

We're all familiar with book to movie adaptations (and each have our favourites) however we rarely see the reverse, the movie to book adaptation. Yet that's what we have here.

The 2006 film Pan's Labyrinth was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro and won 3 Academy Awards. Now he's teamed up with bestselling author and illustrator Cornelia Funke (Inkheart trilogy) to produce this dark fantasy novel Pan's Labyrinth - The Labyrinth of the Faun.

Set in 1940s Spain, Ofelia and her pregnant mother are forced to move in with her new husband Vidal, an evil man serving as a Captain in the Spanish Army. Vidal and his soldiers are charged with capturing the rebels in the forest intent on disrupting and undermining the Francoist dictatorship.

Ofelia is unhappy in her new surroundings and clings to her books for solace. She is obsessed with fairytales and the story takes off when she sees a real fairy in the forest and is given a set of tasks to do as part of a quest.

This is a dark fairytale for adults that is overflowing with fable, folklore and fairytale, including the following familiar tropes: the evil stepfather, the lost princess, a magical book, an enchanted forest, a quest, magical animals, a maze, good versus evil and more.

I immediately fell in love with Ofelia and really felt for her plight. My reading experience was further enhanced by the haunting illustrations that brought the magical realism of the story to life. And don't you just love that cover?

There is real violence here, although viewers of the movie and readers of the original Grimms' Fairy Tales won't be surprised. Despite this, Ofelia's bravery and heart shine through and the side stories of witches and curses were well placed and added further layers to the story.

I haven't seen the movie, but after enjoying the novel so much it's definitely going on my list.

Pan's Labyrinth - The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke is a spellbinding read and highly recommended!

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

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