The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I put this on the TBR challenge because I had the physical book and I couldn't for the life of me remember whether I'd read it before. And now Goodreads tells me that back in 2011 I was sure that I had. idk. The story was vaguely familiar; it's popular canon and referenced in many places, after all. But I'm still not entirely sure if I'd read the book before or watched the movie. Maybe both.
Anyway. Whether this is a new read or a re-read, I did enjoy it quite a lot. I liked the structure of the book, the 26 alphabetical chapters, rather like a very long A to Z novel. I liked the meta-ness of Bastian the reader becoming Bastian, a character in the story. It made sense that the story had to include Bastian's transformation, bringing it full circle until he got back to the human world.
This book was published many many years ago, when people were more patient readers, when big fat books were IT. I'm just thinking that in the publishing industry today, Ende would have been told to cut the book into two, the first one ending when Bastian enters Fantastica and saves the Childlike Empress, and the second one being his journey through Fantastica. Because, you know, why sell one thick book when you could make more money selling TWO books instead?
It reads like two separate books anyway. The first half is more exciting, more action packed. Atreyu is a noble protagonist, even if he isn't ultimately the hero. Then you hit the second half and it's a bit of a slog as Bastian steadily becomes more and more annoying. Still, it doesn't feel complete without either half, so I guess it is what it is.
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