Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

Fans of dark fairy-tales like The Hazel Wood and The Cruel Prince will relish this atmospheric and absorbing book based on Guillermo del Toro’s critically acclaimed movie.Oscar winning writer-director Guillermo del Toro and New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke have come together to transform del Toro’s hit movie Pan’s Labyrinth into an epic and dark fantasy nov...

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Title:Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun
Author:Guillermo del Toro
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Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun Reviews

  • Celia McMahon

    I'm watching Pan's Labyrinth as I write this review because it seems like the right thing to do. As one of my favorite movies of all time, I had to request this title from Edelweiss. I told them I would give them a leg to be able to review this title. Since they allowed me this honor, I think one of my legs now belongs to Katherine Tegen. This review may contain spoilers for those who have not seen the movie.

    When I first saw Pan's Labyrinth in the theater, I knew right away that it would cement

    I'm watching Pan's Labyrinth as I write this review because it seems like the right thing to do. As one of my favorite movies of all time, I had to request this title from Edelweiss. I told them I would give them a leg to be able to review this title. Since they allowed me this honor, I think one of my legs now belongs to Katherine Tegen. This review may contain spoilers for those who have not seen the movie.

    When I first saw Pan's Labyrinth in the theater, I knew right away that it would cement a place in my heart. Now only did it have the magic, it had the brutality of reality coexisting. Whether Ofelia truly saw all the things she did is up to interpretation. This book made clear some of those things but still left it up to you. It also went into detail some of the histories of the mill where Ofelia and her mother come to live, and tells some tales of Princess Moanna that we weren't quite aware of in the movie.

    "It is said that, long, long ago, there lived a princess in an underground realm, where neither lies no pain exist, who dreamt of the human world."

    The story opens with the short tale of Princess Moanna, who wished to see the world above her own. But upon arriving above ground, she forgot who she was and wandered the world until she died. Knowing her spirit would never die, her father the king never gave up looking for her.

    Spain 1944. Thirteen-year-old Ofelia arrives at an old mill with her pregnant mother where they would come to live with Capitan Vidal, a sadist whose only goal is to kill the rebels and deliver a healthy son. Ofelia knows he's sour straight away, but avoids him for the sake of her mother. Vidal, to me, is one of the scariest villains I've ever seen on screen and he is no different in the book. Ofelia stumbles upon a labyrinth on the land where she meets Pan, a faun who tells her that she is the reincarnation of Princess Moanna, but to be sure, she must carry out three tasks. With each task, Ofelia tests the limits of bravery and will. In one of the tensest scenes in movie history, she meets The Pale Man (we find out about this monster's history in one of the chapters!) on one of these tasks and barely makes it out alive. Having made a grave mistake during her confrontation with the creature, Pan disavows Ofelia.

    "Our worst fears are always underneath us, hidden, shaking the ground we wish to be firm and safe."

    All the while, one of the workers at the mill, Mercedes, is aiding the rebels. One of which is her brother. Along with her in betraying Vidal is Dr. Ferreira who works closely with Vidal and Carmen, Ofelia's mother during her difficult pregnancy. In them, we see another type of bravery, which is far greater than anything seeing who they answer to. Vidal is a monster and to betray such a man is risking your very life.

    The story comes together as Carmen dies giving birth, and Mercedes is discovered as a spy. Wrought with sadness, Pan comes to Ofelia, telling her he will allow her one last chance to prove herself. He tells her to bring her baby brother to the labyrinth. Meanwhile, Mercedes is captured and escapes by seriously injuring Vidal. Upon arriving at the labyrinth with her brother, Ofelia discovers that Pain wants her to spill a bit of his blood to open the portal back to their world. But Ofelia refuses to harm her brother. In response, the faun disappears, and Vidal comes to reclaim his son and shoots Ofelia.

    "In our choices, lies our fate."

    Mercedes and her brother Pedro await Vidal when he tries to exit the labyrinth and, only after taking the infant from him, shoot him dead, assuring him he would never know his son and his son would never know of him. Ofelia finds herself in a place where her mother and father are well and alive. As are the fairies she had lost to The Pale Man. Pan explains that she had completed the final task and had finally come home.

    This book does not gloss over the violent scenes that jarred us in the movie. I found myself skipping one particular. Let it be known that this is not a kid's story. It is brutal and emotional. To go into further detail of what was real and what was not, I tend to lean in the direction that everything Ofelia experienced was real and the books seem to elude to that, BUT different will see different things and may feel like it leaned more to that everything was in Ofelia's head. As a child of war, she is overcome by loss and worry. We see it all through her eyes, which is devastating to anyone.

    Guillermo, according to an article I once read, says that he hates words, but his collaboration with Funke tells a different story. Nothing can compare to the cinematic wonder that is one of his best works, but this book does a great job complimenting it. The violence of the real world echoes in the tasks Ofelia must complete. There are some great posts online detailing these so it would be good for those who are interested so my review doesn't get too long-winded. Part of me hopes, GDT reads this review. Since Katherine Tegen has lain claim to one of my legs, I might as well offer the other to know he's read this and knows that his movies (and books) have touched my life. I hope this one does the same for you, dear readers.

  • Nils | nilsreviewsit

    ‘Only books talked about all the things adults didn’t want you to ask about - Life. Death. Good and Evil. And what else truly mattered in life.’

    ~

    Pan’s Labyrinth was originally a Spanish fantasy/horror film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, that I believe was released in 2006. To say that I enjoyed the film would be such an understatement because to tell the truth, I absolutely adored it and still do. In my opinion it is one of the best fantasy films there is, and will always be special

    ‘Only books talked about all the things adults didn’t want you to ask about - Life. Death. Good and Evil. And what else truly mattered in life.’

    ~

    Pan’s Labyrinth was originally a Spanish fantasy/horror film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, that I believe was released in 2006. To say that I enjoyed the film would be such an understatement because to tell the truth, I absolutely adored it and still do. In my opinion it is one of the best fantasy films there is, and will always be special to me.

    Therefore, when I saw that Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke (author of Inkheart) were collaborating and releasing a novelisation of Pan’s Labyrinth my excitement for this was through the roof! I’m delighted to say I wasn’t disappointed either, because this book was as enchanting, surreal and as captivating as I hoped it would be. I’d like to note that you do not need to have watched the film before reading this novel, in fact I’d personally suggest reading this one first.

    The story is set in a remote village in Spain, in 1944 after Franco's ascension to power and his dictatorship. A young girl called Ofelia is moving with her pregnant mother, after the death of her father, to live with her mother’s new husband - Vidal, who is a captain in Franco’s fascist army. What follows from there is the journey of Ofelia as she discovers a mysterious Labyrinth in the woods near her new home. Its a beautiful, luring place, but not without its dark side. She meets and a ghastly yet seemingly kindly faun called, Pan. However, the quests the faun sets her on are dangerous and filled with horror, and Ofelia soon questions whether she should trust Pan’s guidance.

    This book isn’t just a fairytale-esque adventure. Far from it actually, as the dark magical plot with Ofelia is set against the backdrop of a war torn Spain. Vidal, the Capitan, is as disturbing and dangerous as the fantastical creatures Ofelia meets. He is quick to temper, cruel, and has a rather sadistic side. There are resistance fighters hiding in the woods that are intent on liberating the rationed food and medicines they need. Vidal’s sole mission is to eradicate each one of them, which he relishes in doing. There are some quite violent scenes from him, that realistically show his psychopathic nature. He was one of those villains you could truly hate and wish for his comeuppance. Pan’s Labyrinth is most definitely multi layered and shows a stark and poignant portrayal of the horrors of warfare.

    I feel here that Del Toro and Funke both effectively illustrate to the reader that monsters come in all shapes and sizes. There are outright nightmarish monsters such as The Pale Man who eats children, then there are cruel, monstrous humans like Capitan Vidal, and there are also more subtle, manipulative beings like the Faun, who are just as perilous. I’m utterly awed by the amount of themes this beautiful short novel managed to pack in, and it just showed how perfect the fantasy genre is to reflect on so much.

    ~

    ‘Evil seldom takes shape immediately. It is often little more than a whisper at first. A glance. A betrayal. But then it grows and takes root, still invisible, unnoticed. Only fairytales give evil a proper shape. The big bad wolves, the evil kings, the demons and devils...’

    ~

    The narrative also alternates between the past and the present, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Predominantly we follow Ofelia’s quest, and another main character, Mercedes, as she tries to protect her brother - a rebel resistance fighter. Then there were also many chapters that were seemingly separate short fairytales. These told stories of a princess who disappeared, a witch and a curse, a watchmaker, and so on, but these actually extremely cleverly intertwined with the main narrative. It was really gratifying picking up clues and discovering how all these narratives connected. The illustrations that accompanied the beginning of each of these tales were such a welcomed addition too as it truly enhanced the experience by seeing the visual representation of some scenes.

    I honestly feel that Pan’s Labyrinth is a ‘modern’ classic tale that pays homage to the style of the Brothers Grimm. Del Toro and Funke’s beautiful lyrical prose brings to life a story of loss, hardship, and ultimately of sacrifice. This is one novel I hope many will fall in love with, like I did.

    A huge thank you to Bloomsbury publishers for sending me a proof copy of Pan’s Labyrinth. This book is released on 2nd July 2019.

    All quotes used in this review are taken from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication.

  • Paromjit

    This was a turn up for the books, a novel of the mesmerising and stunning 2006 film Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro that I adored, written by the film director and Cornelia Funke, with details and analysis of the film. Reading this bought back the movie in much of its original glory, haunting, tragic, painful, the magical realism, the darkest of fairy tales, immersing me in all its vibrant intensity. There is the young girl, Ofelia, living in the brutality and terrors of the fascist Franco

    This was a turn up for the books, a novel of the mesmerising and stunning 2006 film Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro that I adored, written by the film director and Cornelia Funke, with details and analysis of the film. Reading this bought back the movie in much of its original glory, haunting, tragic, painful, the magical realism, the darkest of fairy tales, immersing me in all its vibrant intensity. There is the young girl, Ofelia, living in the brutality and terrors of the fascist Franco's regime. Ofelia desperately longs for and dreams of a world free of the everyday nightmares of her life, finding herself in an alternative version of Alice, a labyrinth which is so much darker in its myths and magic, reflecting the realities of life, a war torn nation and fascism. This novel effortlessly captures so much of vitality of the film, reinforcing just how imaginative and beautiful it is, and the despair of this historical period in Spain with added information on the film. Many thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC.

  • Patricija - ReadOff

    This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I was NOT DISAPPOINTED. Cornelia Funke (+ Guillermo del Toro) did it again.

    This is dark, twisted, whimsical and I'd recommend it for Halloween, and definitely not for kids if they don't like scary stuff.

    So TGW: Abuse, war, gore, slaughter, torture, death and other.

    Eventhough in the synopsis, it says there are multiple stories (which there are), there are all connected and form one bigger story, and also, the main story is always in t

    This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I was NOT DISAPPOINTED. Cornelia Funke (+ Guillermo del Toro) did it again.

    This is dark, twisted, whimsical and I'd recommend it for Halloween, and definitely not for kids if they don't like scary stuff.

    So TGW: Abuse, war, gore, slaughter, torture, death and other.

    Eventhough in the synopsis, it says there are multiple stories (which there are), there are all connected and form one bigger story, and also, the main story is always in the main focus so you can't read this as a short story collection.

    I loved all the creatures in this book, especially because in one point I wasn't sure if some of them are the good guys or bad guys which made me love the book even more. From all the characters, I loved Mercedes most due to how courageous she is and her role in the book.

    P.S I did not see the movie yet

  • Helena of Sparta ✰

    This was one

    story...but I liked it! I can see why it's a

    .

    RTC

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    This not an ordinary fairytale...

    Happy Reading!

    Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  • Hollis

    So, I totally thought this was an MG story and hahahaha no.

    I don't know about the rest of you but when I think

    I think [insert creepy dude with eyes in the palms of his hands here]. I only saw the movie once, a million years ago, and I thought this was an extension of the story or just inspired by it. But from what I understand (because I sure don't remember enough to say for certain) is that this is an expanded, additionally layered, version of the movie itself.

    Which should tell

    So, I totally thought this was an MG story and hahahaha no.

    I don't know about the rest of you but when I think

    I think [insert creepy dude with eyes in the palms of his hands here]. I only saw the movie once, a million years ago, and I thought this was an extension of the story or just inspired by it. But from what I understand (because I sure don't remember enough to say for certain) is that this is an expanded, additionally layered, version of the movie itself.

    Which should tell you who should or should not be reading this.

    This is classified as YA I think but it is quite dark, if not considered outright horror, but it's not just the fantastical elements that are dark. It's the human elements, too. The brutalities done not only by bad men during times of war but bad men, period, who need no excuse.

    There is melancholy and bitterness and grief and loneliness and yet the enduring belief in magic, in fairytales, in hope, too. The story is both bleak and yet also whimsical, captivatingly creative and cringey creepy, and the illustrations were just gorgeous.

    This book consumed me and I loved every moment.

    ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

    ---

    This review can also be found at

    .

  • Emer (A Little Haze)

    I have never wanted to see the film because I think it's the type of film that would unsettle me too much with its dark imagery, and yet as soon as I heard it was to be adapted and expanded upon for a novel I knew I wanted to read it! It's strange how I will read books that have darker themes but won't watch films...I think it's because when I read I don't necessarily clearly visualise the events of the book in my mind's eye but instead I experience these events in a much more abstract manner.

    A

    I have never wanted to see the film because I think it's the type of film that would unsettle me too much with its dark imagery, and yet as soon as I heard it was to be adapted and expanded upon for a novel I knew I wanted to read it! It's strange how I will read books that have darker themes but won't watch films...I think it's because when I read I don't necessarily clearly visualise the events of the book in my mind's eye but instead I experience these events in a much more abstract manner.

    ANYWHO!

    The book... I did really like it! It was very much an ode to Grimm style fairytales and the darker side of some of my favourite films from the 80s (Labyrinth, Return to Oz, Neverending Story).

    At times it felt almost middle grade but then at times it was 100% adult and I liked that juxtaposition of the two. It really calls to mind those same feelings I had as a child when I listened to ghost stories or got creeped out by monsters etc etc.

    Seeing as it was fairytale-esque the characters were all a bit on the stereotypical side but I don't think I would have liked them to be otherwise.

    I particularly liked how the book split itself between the folklore-style stories of how the underworld influenced ancient times, and the historical fiction narrative of civil war ravaged Spain.

    The book was also beautifully illustrated throughout which added to its charm.

    I definitely enjoyed this but my rating is somewhere around the 3.5 mark as I have preferred other fairytale-style adult books a lot more (John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things, Dale Bailey's In the Night Wood)

  • Charlotte May

    I can pick this up from the library. Repeat: I CAN NOW PICK THIS UP FROM THE LIBRARY!!!!!!

    *hyperventilates*

    1. I love Pan's Labyrinth

    2. I love Cornelia Funke

    I NEED THIS BOOK LIKE AIR!!

  • Candace Robinson

    Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my all time favorite movies, so if you love it you’ll definitely like this book! The descriptions were gorgeous and perfect. My only complaint is I hate seeing movies first and reading a book second!! Also, I seriously love Guillermo del Toro!!! ❤❤

    Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my all time favorite movies, so if you love it you’ll definitely like this book! The descriptions were gorgeous and perfect. My only complaint is I hate seeing movies first and reading a book second!! Also, I seriously love Guillermo del Toro!!! ❤️❤️

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