June 04, 2014
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
What will surprise most is that this book goes far beyond what the movie did, this is Bastian's total adventure to Fantastica and not just Atreyu's story. Bastian is a picked on little boy, who, drawn to a book in a cranky man's bookstore, steals a book and holes up in his school's attic to read it. There he is swept into the world of Fantastica where the Childlike Empress is dying and only a young hero named Atreyu can save her. He is set on a quest to find the cure for her, and Bastian is a key to that cure and will have many adventures himself as a result of the mysterious book.
Bastian is a typical nerdy little boy. Other kids pick on him and he retreats into a world of fantasy. It's something that many can identify with. Atreyu on the other hand, is the opposite of shy Bastian. He is an adventurer, brave and strong, and the type of person little Bastian's want to be. He also has a lot of wisdom for a person as young as he is, which is slightly unbelievable at times. But I do have to say I enjoyed Atreyu's character far more than some of Bastian's antics. There are so many side characters that you can get lost with all of them, but at least they're wildly imaginative.
I enjoyed the first half of this book and didn't really care for the second half. This may have been because the first half encompassed the movie I so fondly remember and the second was Bastian's adventure and a bit more bizarre. It just seemed that things happened a little too easy for Bastian and I grew bored even as I was introduced to more of Fantasia. Atreyu's journey was more selfless and interesting. There was an actual purpose and an outside force to be fighting against whereas Bastian's journey was more introspective and meandering. The description for all was quite good though and the author sure had an imagination. Some of the creatures he dreamed up were nothing that I'd ever heard of before.
A good book that's not only for children it will bring adults back to their childhood memories and introduce a new generation to the wonders of Fantastica and the possibility of a never-ending story.
The Neverending Story