Never-Ending Story by Michael Ende,
Media source: paper back
Rating 4 out of 5 stars
Being a child of the 80's I fondly remember watching this movie as a child and loved the story of it. To the point that my cat is named Falcor (unfortunately he is not white, nor lucky). **There is a lot of story in this small book**
We meet young Bastian as he is running from some bullies and hides out in a book store. While there he notices a book, almost calling out to him. The shopkeeper informs him the book is not for sale etc, so Bastian decides to steal the book and runs to school. Arriving late, he decides to escape to the attic of the school (do schools really have attics?) and beings to read. Thus entering into the world of Fantasia.
Fantasia is being attacked by an evil formless entity known as "The Nothing". While a delegation goes the Childlike Empress for help against this invader, they are informed that she is dying. A child warrior by the name of Atreyu has been summoned. The Empress provides him the AURYN a medallion that will protect him from harm during his journey. Through his journey he is aided by Falkor the luck dragon he rescues. Atreyu soon learns the only way to save the Empress is a new name given to her by a human child. As he and Falcro search the borders for such a child they come across Gmork, a werewolf that informs the warrior the residents of Fantasia have voluntarily accepted The Nothing and became lies within the human world: Bastian's world.
Gmork attacks Atreyu, he fights back and kills the wolf. Atreyu is rescued by Falkor and the go back to the Childlike Empress who informs them they have brought the one who can save her with them. At this point Bastian suspects he is the one to save her. But what kind of name should he give her? He refuses to say the man and the Empress speaks of an Old Man with a book entitled The Never Ending Story. As Bastian reads he realizes the story begins to repeat itself, but this time includes Bastian in the story. Once he realizes the story will never end, and just repeat itself without his help, Bastian names the Empress "Moon Child". The Empress then provides him with an AURYN with the inscription "Do What You Wish" on the back
With each wish that Bastian makes, he loses a part of his memory as a human and with it the ability to return to his own world. Bastian does not realize this and goes throughout the country telling stories and having adventures. He uses the AURYN to create situations for himself to conquer, but this only puts Fantasia into danger. The residents of Fantasia beg him to stop and he decides to defeat the Childlike Empress! WHOA! He is left with two memories, his mother and father. He needs to discover his strongest wish. He is unable to find the Water of LIfe in which would enable him to leave Fantasia with all his memories. He is found by Atreyu who helps Bastian remember his own name and complete all the stories he began. The Water of Life then allows Bastian to return home.
What an incredible story! The book was made into two movies the first ending after Bastian names the princess and saves Fantasia, the second beginning with Bastian making the wishes and what not. This story is well told and well love by generations whether they watched the movie or read the book. Michael Ende just draws in his readers straight from the beginning and it seems as if you are in Bastian's place. Oh only if I could be in Bastian's place and save all of Fantasia! This is one of those books that will never grow old, that will never lose an audience. Michael describes everything with such vivid images, that I am sure the creators of the movies had an easy time recreating the world he envisioned. This is a story you can enjoy no matter what your age is.
As the novel shifts to Bastian being in Fantasia, we also see a shift in his personality. He becomes somewhat of a jerk to Atreyu and the other residents of the world. I mean he thinks about conquering the Childlike Empress, someone who is his friend. It is interesting to see him become consumed with the power he holds even if he doesn't realize this. How often do we become consumed with things that just don't even consider whether or not our actions hurt others including our friends?
This is a phenomenal story with so many different lessons to be take away from it. If you haven't watched the movies or picked up the book do so. It is one of those books/movies that are a must have (or get both like I did). It is a perfect addition to any child's library, even if you are a child of thirty years old ;)