Of Monsters and Men (Pan’s Labyrinth – A Book Review)

Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

Author: Guillermo del Toro, Cornelia Funke

Published: 2019

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated P for a princess persevering against all odds to go home.

“It is said that long, long ago, there lived a princess in an underground realm, where neither lies nor pain exist, who dreamt of the human world.”

Paired with the acclaimed film of the same name, Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke gave fans of dark fairy tales a companion book to Pan’s Labyrinth. With fresh tales amid haunting yet inviting artwork, this book takes you even further into the labyrinth.

This tale entails adventure for the reader as they dive into two separate worlds laying over top of each other. A war-torn country is only the background as an underworld of unimaginable, magical proportions unfolds. In the middle, a lost princess rises to the adventure that could lead her home.

More tea, Vicar? via Tumblr

This book dived into two different worlds. One entails a war-torn country in which rebels fight against murderous soldiers for their freedom. In the other were mystical creatures that held trickster, sinister and deadly intentions. This was a rich and fantastical world. I’m over the moon about the movie and even have the theme as one of my ringtones. Getting to dive back into it was thrilling.

The artwork and writing together were and are incredibly stunning. The turquoise/teal with the wooded silver and black is magical. It pulled together the magical and the sinister elements while the intertwining branches that led to the labyrinth ensnared the two stories together. Imaginative and grand. Had I never seen the movie before coming across this book, the cover alone would’ve swept me away.

play some well-tempered clavier, man via Tumblr

The creatures of this novel took my breath away. Though terrifying in their own ways, they were extraordinary. From the faun to the toad to the child eater. Just remarkable. From the creatures and then to the scenery, the imagery was a whole different world. Legendary.

I knew this companion wouldn’t be like other books that tie to their screen counterparts. More than following the intricately told tale you know from the movie, which by the way was rich and transforming, there were tales that linked Ofelia to her being the true lost princess of the mysterious fae kingdom. I was in total awe. If I ever wanted to be a princess, this would be it. Or at least a warrior. Or something, because this world is magnificent.

In addition to the added tales of the lost princess, the artwork was remarkable. It puts the reader in that world. I always have a strong appreciation for the books that pair artwork with their story. It’s exquisite and special. It gives further vision to the reader’s imagination.

Dark fairy tales/fantasy is more appealing to me because it doesn’t just keep to being cheery with an expected happy ending. There are trials and losses and risks and sacrifice all in the name of discovery and bravery. You never truly know what’s at the end of the tale and the twist is always shocking. There’s a different feeling and emotional outcome with this genre. This one still tears me up. Ofelia is so open and brave during a very point in history. With war all around her and her mother and yet-to-be-born brother in critical condition, she ventures to rediscover a lost piece of herself. At any moment she risked losing her life, but she didn’t let that stop her.

Overall

Outstanding. Truly.

Even if you’ve seen the movie, like me, read this. There’s more to it than what is in the movie. This book takes you deeper than it can. I know I fell right into this rabbit hole and it was phenomenal. Even if just to have it as a collectible on your shelves, it’s worth it.

Quotables:

“In consiliis nostris fatum nostrum est…in our choices lie our fate.” (p. 10)

“Secrets. They add to the darkness of the world but the also make you want to find out more…” (p. 18)

“We feel immortal when we are young. Or maybe we just don’t care that much about death yet?” (p. 134)

“What does the moon look like? Someone told me it hangs like a huge lantern in the sky. What about the sun? Is it true it’s a huge fireball swimming in an ocean of blue skies? And the stars…do they really resemble fireflies?” (p. 164)

More to come soon…                                                                                               

  -K.

Song Today? Pan’s Labyrinth Lullaby by Javier Navarrete.

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