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Review – The Neverending Story by Michael Ende


The Neverending Story
by Michael Ende
396 pages
Published 1979

I asked for The Neverending Story for Christmas last year, and I knew if I didn’t read it before this Christmas, there was no way I’d get the new books I’ve got on my list.

You’ve probably seen the movie, if not read the book. It’s a children’s book, but so well written that adults could get into it, too.

The book is basically in two parts: the first part, which the movie is about, is Bastian stealing the book The Neverending Story from a bookstore and taking it to school to read in the attic. While he’s reading, he learns that Fantasia* is in dange from The Nothing, and Atreyu, a young hunter, is sought out to find what’s killing Fantasia and The Childlike Empress. After finally finding out that the only thing needed to save Fantasia is to give The Childlike Empress a new name, Bastian does so and gets sucked into the story.

In the second half Bastian is instructed to rebuild Fantasia through wishes that are granted by Auryn, a pendant given to him by The Childlike Empress. Bastian doesn’t realize that he must get back to his world, that he can’t stay in Fantasia forever, and every wish that he makes wipes away part of his memory of Earth, so pretty soon he doesn’t even want to go back to Earth. But Atreyu, the good friend he is, sees these changes and tries to help Bastian, but Bastian rebuffs his friend and comes dangerously close to being stuck in Fantasia forever.

I had a great time with this book, with all of the imaginary creatures. I can’t wait to have children so that I can read this book with them and discuss some of the themes running through the book: friendship, power, love, family, and imagination.

Rating: 90 out of 100

*The book calls this other world Fantastica, but the movie calls it Fantasia, and I liked the movie better, so I’m calling it Fantasia.

Have you seen the movie? Read the book? The movie is hands down my favorite children’s movie.

| Tags: , , , 22 comments »

22 Responses to “Review – The Neverending Story by Michael Ende”

  1. lyndalepress

    as a kid, the movie was a well-established favorite before i even realized there was a book. so, this is one of the rare instances in which i like the book better than the movie. i did read the book (though many years ago) and remember that at times it did feel never-ending… haha.


  2. lyndalepress

    my mistake – like the movie better than the book*


  3. veens

    hmm, I have not seen the movie and not heard abt it either. 🙁


  4. Ruth

    I absolutely adored this movie when I was a little girl. I didn’t know it was a book until I was an adult, though, and haven’t read it yet. It’s been on my wish list for ages!


  5. Lorin

    Oh, I saw that movie as a kid. It was, I think, the first time I ever had a nightmare from something I saw. I still remember the nightmare, better than the movie.


  6. Jena

    was the copy you read in red and green ink (one for when he’s reading, one when he’s back in the “real” world?)


  7. alirambles

    I should read this with my kids!


  8. Dreamybee

    I loved this movie! I haven’t read the book…didn’t realize there was one until recently. This is one case where I don’t know if I could step away from the movie enough to read the book.

    Also, when my Basset hound is lying just right, with his long body, short legs, big head and floppy ears, he looks a lot like a luck dragon!


  9. bermudaonion

    I’d heard of the movie (but never saw it) and didn’t realize it was a book.


  10. fyreflybooks

    I was a kid during exactly the right time frame for this movie, but I’ve still never seen it. *shame* I’m reluctant to see it now, though, for fear that it’s going to be one of those movies where watching it for the first time as an adult is going to make it nothing special, since I don’t have the nostalgia factor attached.


  11. Jeane

    My copy has the red and green ink! I really like that. I saw the movie as kid and loved it, didn’t discover the book until I was much older. My favorite part of the book is all the stuff about Bastian’s wishes and their consequences, which isn’t included in the movie version at all (unless you count the sequel they made, which was awful).


  12. Jaime

    I love this story, in both book and movie form! I often accuse my cat of doing a very good luck dragon impression.


  13. stephanie

    Although I have never read the book, this is one of my favorite movies!! Loved it!


  14. Ti

    I wasn’t aware that the movie was based on a book. I liked the movie a lot. My little one likes fantasy so maybe I should look this one up.


  15. Bobbi's Book Nook

    This is a favorite children’s book of mine. I read it many times before I ever saw the movie. The movie is great, but I’m partial to the book.

    I also did a review on this book back in the summer.

    Great review!


  16. Nicole

    I’ve seen the movie and have not read the book. But I don’t think I remember the movie that well so I wonder if I ever saw the whole thing. I have and aversion to watching non-human creature movies and I seem to remember a white talking dog and lots of snow.


  17. Amy

    I think I’ve seen the movie…oh…a thousand or so times!!! It is my all-time favorite and has been since I was little.


  18. Corinne

    I read this one just before I started my book blog. I was ADDICTED to the movie as a kid (yes, even as a teen). I thought the first part of the book was fantastic (probably because it was the movie verbatim) but the second half dragged for me. Sometimes I felt the writing was a bit juvineille but I couldn’t decide if that was really the case or if it was just the translation from German.

    Either way, I was glad I read it, just to spend some time in Fantastia for a while. As soon as I was done reading, I pulled out my DVD to watch the movie again, for old times sake. You should go to youtube and check out some of the Neverending Story music videos there – they are AWESOME. This is the official one:
    Watch it if only to view the haircut of the lead singer 🙂


  19. Jo

    That was one of my family’s favorite movies when I was little — I didn’t read the book until I was 16 or so, but I loved it.

    The plot of the second half, by the way, is the basis for the sequel to the movie (at the very least, the part about Bastian’s wishes causing him to lose memories is).


  20. Fiction: The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, 1979 « Adventures in Reading

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  21. bookchronicle

    I love the book AND the movie. I keep trying to get other books by Michael Ende, but I haven’t had a lot of luck.


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