Pan’s Labyrinth

Guillermo del Toro & Cornelia Funke

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Guillermo del Toro yet again shows himself to be a master of the gothic tale.  In this novelisation of the 2006 film, Pan’s Labyrinth, he weaves the fairy-tale story of a young girl, Ofelia, who is taken by her mother to live with her new stepfather, a sadistic captain in the Spanish army during World War II. 

Unwanted and ignored by the Capitán, Ofelia explores her new home and discovers a huge stone labyrinth and the impossible creature within, who tells her that she is the lost princess of the realm below.  All she must do is complete three tasks and she can be restored to her rightful kingdom.  Can she trust him, or is she better off adapting to life with her cruel stepfather?

I have to admit that I have never (yet) watched the film on which this novel is based, but from clips and trailers I have seen over the years I was expecting something much creepier than this.  The novel is marketed as adult fiction, but I would say that it is suitable for a younger audience.  Nevertheless, it is a lovingly crafted fairy-tale.  I have not come across Cornelia Funke before, but she and del Toro work well together.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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