Fans of dark fairy-tales like The Hazel Wood and The Cruel Princewill relish this atmospheric and absorbing book based on Guillermo del Toro’s critically acclaimed movie.
Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2019
RRP: $29.99 AUD
Personal Rating: 4.5/5
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.
A brilliant collaboration between masterful storytellers that’s not to be missed
Bloomsbury Publishing provided me a finished copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review
Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro and Inkheart’s Cornelia Funke is set in 1944 Spain where a young girl Ofelia encounters a mysterious faun creature in a mythical labyrinth nearby the mill she must call her new home. The faun reveals to Ofelia that she is the reincarnation of the lost princess Moana of the underworld, but to return to her kingdom, she must complete three tasks to prove she is worthy of returning to her kingdom. This novel dove deeper into the world of the cult-classic movie, including beautiful illustrations that make it feel like an ancient fairy tale.
Thirteen years after its release the unique received a book co-written by Guillermo del Toro and Inkheart’s Cornelia Funke and published through Bloomsbury Publishing. This novel dove deeper into the world of Ofelia, including beautiful illustrations that make it feel like an ancient fairy tale.
Unlike the film, the book adaptation gives us backstory into the world created by del Toro thought the form of short fairy tales. We learn the origin of how all the key elements and characters of the movie came to be. For intense, the Pale Man was a man who worked for a priest in a Catholic Church during the Spanish Inquisition who persecuted and killed all those who questioned the church. He killed his first child at age thirteen and continued to kill until one day his own eyes could bare his cruel deeds any longer and dropped out of their sockets. The mere attention to detail made the story as a whole more monstrous than the film.
Everything is explained, the creation of the labyrinth, the history of the frog who poisoned the fig tree and how he came in possession of the Pale Man’s golden key, the magical book that Ofelia was given, and most importantly the faun’s backstory is explained (which turned my heart a bit into mush). We also get to meet Ofelia’s real father and his undying love for his daughter.
Much like the film, the novel follows the story of Ofelia, Captain Vidal, Mercedes, and the doctor. However, in the novel, we are given deep glimpses into their subconscious mind. Their hopes, dreams, fears, cruelty, and backstory. If you thought Captain Vidal was a cruel man in the movie, wait until you read in his point of you. He will send violent shivers down your spine. The alternating narrative in the story at might seem a bit confusing because in one paragraph you are following Mercedes’ point of view and then we are seeing Captain Vidal’s POV in the next, but it flows smoothly and never disrupts the narrative.
Funke and Del Toro combined myth with reality, showing us that children can see the cruelty and beauty of the world more truthfully despite their innocence. But most importantly that monsters exist and they surround us in all shapes and forms, but we must be brave for the sake of others and confront these monsters.