“The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Fantasy, Classic
Summary from Goodreads:
The story begins with a lonely boy named Bastian and the strange book that draws him into the beautiful but doomed world of Fantastica. Only a human can save this enchanted place – by giving its ruler, the Childlike Empress, a new name. But the journey to her tower leads through lands of dragons, giants, monsters, and magic – and once Bastian begins his quest, he may never return. As he is drawn deeper into Fantastica, he must find the mysteries of his own heart.
Confession time: I’ve never seen The NeverEnding Story. I wasn’t born when the movie came out and the clips I’ve seen of the movie freaked me out as a kid because of the weird monster/dog thing [Ahhh, it’s a luckdragon]. By extension, I never really had any interest in reading the book. After my co-workers discovered I hadn’t read the book, they persuaded me to give it a try. I decided to bite the bullet and give it a shot PLUS it’s another box I can check off of my challenge.
Children’s fantasy can be a bit difficult for me. I love it when it’s done right. It’s easy to get wrong for me though. I want something fantastical but not so fantastical that I lose touch with the story. I think that’s what happened in the NeverEnding Story for me. Initially Fantastica is a wonderful land to read about. It’s different than any land I’ve read about! It’s not just one thing. There were so many aspects of the place. There were deserts, forests, a Fog Sea, and many other places. You couldn’t help but want to go there and explore for yourself.
But after a while, it got tiring. They traveled all over the place but it didn’t feel like they were making progress. The book really lived up to the title. It felt like a Neverending story but not in a good way. Each little adventure lead to another one. And then another one. And another one. I really wanted progress in the story, not another little adventure that takes us nowhere. By the end of the book, I was really glad it was over.
Bastian was great in the beginning. I could relate to wanting to read a book and forget about all of my troubles. It’s when he gets to Fantastica that I start getting annoyed with him. The more he lost his memory, the more he became annoying and a bit arrogant. I realize that was the point of the story but I hated seeing our protagonist go from a nice young boy to a really annoying brat.
The bottom line? It was a fine book but I may have missed my ideal window reading the book. I’m planning on picking up the movie though!
I read this as part of my Reading Outside the Box Challenge. This was for my Loved by Others square. See my progress here.