The Neverending Story — By Michael Ende

Book Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have always been enlightened by this book. It is not because of Fantastica and its inhabitants, such strange beings that the only thing I wish is that they were real. Except for the bad guys, of course, because they are truly evil. Is the story, that reaches to mystical levels. I saw the film for the first time when I was eight years old. It stayed engraved in my memory as a revelation. Because it turns out that in this film, and with more detail in the book, the explanation for all the origins of reality is the imagination. The more we daydream, the more our wishes come true. We just need to imagine, and have a strong desire, in order to make our own world.

It was The Nothing that killed everything. The Nothing is the fear in the shape of a wolf and other dark creatures, whose only task is to erase the beauty and creativity form Fantastica. And what is fear but just the same faith and imagination at the other side of the spectrum? Things are dark or clear depending on whoever is thinking them. In this case is our friend Bastian, who by one of those chances finished reading this odd book inside of an attic. It took Bastian a lot of time to believe in himself. He only gave the Childlike Empress a new name when there was only a sand particle of Fantastica. He nearly allowed The Nothing to destroy an entire reality.

Nevertheless, Atreyu is a true warrior. In the story he is only ten. Although this is not important when you know your soul and the soul of your people. Because in Fantastica there are no limits, precisely because each of those creatures know what they are capable of. The Childlike Empress has had the features of a little girl for hundreds of years. In Fantastica there are no secrets, nor tabus. They are always young, beautiful, luminous, strong, powerful, harmonious, intelligent. Some creatures have horns, others are like mermaids and fairies, others are made of rocks, and the best doctor of all, Cairon, is a beautiful  black centaur. The story does not tell where The Nothing came from. I think someone’s doubt and fear let her in. The fact is that the Childlike Empress fell seriously ill and nothing could cure her. Not even Cairon. From then on The Nothing spread through all Fantastica, ending one by one with all the marvellous creatures that lived around.

Atreyu goes in a mission to find the cure for the Childlike Empress, who had chosen him. He carries a protective amulet named Auryn, because even the bad beings from Fantastica respect their sovereign and whoever carries her symbol. But the task is not easy. Atreyu lost his faithful companion Artax, his horse, when he sunk in the Swamps of Sadness, having lost all hope. He had to cross trough killer doors, guarded by sphinxes that fired rippled thunders at the Southern Oracle. The film does not say it, but the book tells that those thunders contained the secrets of the Universe that needed to be deciphered in the matter of seconds for whomever wanted to cross. Is Engywook, the grumpy gnome who lives with his wife, Urgl, close to the Oracle who tells him everything. Atreyu is looking at the Oracle from their cave, having waking up there next to Falkor, the luckdragon, after they both got poisoned by a giant spider, who conceded as a last wish to go wherever they wanted.  Lots of adventures happened after that. Atreyu is restless, and almost invincible. There is just one problem. It is not up to him to save the Childlike Empress. It is so for Bastian, the insecure child who is reading that incredible story and despite all the clear signals could not accept that it is in his power to save Fantastica. Atreyu is desperate, but Bastian has free will. If he does not want to believe, nobody can force him. At the end, moved by his own instinct, Bastian decides to give a name to the Childlike Empress. From then on, everything is magic.

A 100% recommended book. Especially for kids from eight years old!

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