My Rating: ★★★★★ 4.8/5
Author: Michael Ende
This epic work of the imagination has captured the hearts of millions of readers worldwide since it was first published more than a decade ago. Its special story within a story is an irresistible invitation for readers to become part of the book itself. And now this modern classic and bibliophile’s dream is available in hardcover again.
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 courage to face unspeakable foes and the mysteries of his own heart.
Readers, too, can travel to the wondrous, unforgettable world of Fantastica if they will just turn the page…. (Goodreads)
“If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger–
If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early–
If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless–
If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won’t understand what Bastian did next.”
The Neverending Story is about a boy named Bastian who steals a book and travels to Fantastica to give its ruler a new name. He makes wishes to change Fantastica, and his power grows too great. Bastian then desperately finds a way back to the real world, his memories restored.
A common overall theme for this book is that you should enjoy the things that you love to do. At the beginning of the book, we meet Bastian Balthazar Bux, a young boy who is ridiculed and laughed at by his peers because of what he looks like and what he likes to do. He often makes up stories in his head but gets made fun of by other kids. After the passing of his mother, his father is often despondent and doesn’t seem to be himself. This causes Bastian to make radical decisions. He goes to a local book shop and steals a mysterious book with two snakes intertwined on the cover. After, he goes to his school and locks himself in an old storage room. Here he reads this book called the Neverending Story, falls in love with its characters, and eventually gets transported there to save the entire Fantastican realm. Towards the end of the book, he almost loses his memory of the real world by wishing himself to make himself the person he never was. This story is about the being yourself and living in a world where it’s hard to be yourself.
The point of view in this book really contributes to Ende’s intentions. Readers start off reading red printed text, but as Bastian starts reading The Neverending Story the words are printed in green. This overall gives the reader a sense direction between the real world and the Fantastican world. It also shows how these worlds are connected and dependent upon each other. In the middle of the book, the Greenskin hunter Atreyu encounters a werewolf named Gmork trapped in chains, and the werewolf explains why the Nothing is consuming Fantastica. He explains that he, Gmork, can live interdependently between the human and Fantastican world, and why one can’t exist without the other, explaining why the Nothing is consuming their world. This creative way of writing the book is really distinct from other fantasy books.
This book is wonderfully written by its author and really shows how we can’t live without fantasy, and why it gives us a sense of purpose in our lives. It has a good mesh between wit and charm that I just couldn’t help but feel bad for Bastian at the beginning and then feeling irritated with him at the end. I fell in love with the characters and felt like building a vacation home in Fantastica because the book was just that fantastic. From the beginning, I was hooked and was left wanting more and more. This book was beautifully written and is definitely considered a classic.