Mini classic review: The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

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. 

“Every real story is a never ending story.”

The Neverending Story is a magical book that I found myself unable to put down. You’re drawn into an incredible world full of magic, myth, and stories. It’s a book for readers: a book about a book. I highly recommend it to all.

I vaguely remember watching the movie when I was a child — or, rather I should say, parts of it. But I don’t have a solid memory of it, and so didn’t really know what this book would be about. I’m definitely going to watch the movie sometime soon, to see how closely resembles the book and because it’s such a cult classic.

The book follows a young boy called Bastian who is bullied by his peers and doesn’t feel much love from his father. One day, he comes across a mysterious bookshop and steals an intriguing book called The Neverending Story. He is too scared to go to school so he hunkers down in his school’s attic and starts reading the book.

We’re then transported into the magical world of Fantastica, as a mysterious disease called ‘the Nothing’ is sweeping through the country and obliterating everything and everyone. The ruler of this world, the Childlike Empress, order one of her aides to go out and find Fantastica’s hero who will solve the problem of the Nothing. The hero’s name is Atreyu, a young boy from the Greenskin race. And so begins Atreyu’s quest, as he searches for a way to save the Childlike Empress and Fantastica.

The world building in this book is so fascinating, but at times felt quite religious, particularly Christian. Not as overt as The Chronicles of Narnia, but certainly apparent. Even so, I enjoyed the use of magic in this world, even if it was at times confusing. I also really enjoyed how storytelling and reading is an intrinsic part of the magic.

I also love Atreyu as a character. He’s such a lovely hero, very brave and knows right from wrong. I’m even more excited to watch the movie to see how he’s portrayed and I hope they do him justice.

If you’re looking for a children’s classic that will have you absorbed deeply into the world and the magic, I definitely recommend The Neverending Story.

This is the final book I had to read for the Classics Club! I’ve now finished the entire list, one month before my deadline.

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