The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (final thoughts)
I had been looking forward to reading The Neverending Story for some time and was quite excited when I bought my very own copy months ago. And then it sat on my shelf, brimming with wonderful possibilities of exciting adventure and loveable characters. It almost seemed to quiver with promise.
However, my initial reaction to The Neverending Story? Underwhelmed. And now that more than a month has passed, I feel almost indifferent. But I know I enjoyed it while I was reading, enough to read the entire thing.
So. Bastian Balthazar Bux steals an intriguing book from a bookstore and, fearing the consequences of his thievery, hides in the school house attic with the stolen book. The first part of The Neverending Story contains the story Balthazar is reading, with his thoughts and comments interjected. The longer he reads, the more interactive the story becomes until he realizes that he’s an integral part of the world of Fantastica. Finally a switch happens and Bastian actually enters the book and becomes the protagonist of the story he’s been reading. (Apparently this is where the movie adaptation of the book ends, but as it’s been forever and ever since I’ve seen it, I cannot confirm that.)
I enjoyed the first half of the book all right, but the succeeding quarter was my favourite. This part is full of imagination and creation as Bastian discovers his powers over Fantastica. This, I think, was what I was expecting from the book and it’s completely delightful.
But of course “absolute power corrupts absolutely” so things start going downhill for Bastian and, as a result, Fantastica. This last quarter of the book I did not like. Bastian becomes completely unsympathetic and unrelatable (I don’t care if that’s not a word) and the story started to drag a bit.
Overall, I’m glad I finally read The Neverending Story and if it’s been on your to-read list, I would recommend still reading it because others have liked it a lot. However, it’s not one I plan on rereading any time soon. But I do need to watch the movie again!
My rating: 7/10
Soundtrack Saturday: featuring Jónsi