Each author possesses an astonishing ability to outline a fantasy realm, people it with fantastic characters, and quickly provide a believable set of rules and boundaries that the action must follow. All this while not adhering to established tenets of fantasy: elves are fair, graceful and strong, dwarves are miners and love nothing more than precious metals, etc. Thal and Funke each give a fresh feel to the genre.
These authors provide a perfect starting point for young adults who grew up liking a good fable or story, but who are intimidated by thick novels or fantasy and science fiction authors with dozens of titles under their belts, each transpiring in a specific paradigm with little space given to background for new readers. Both Thal and Funke certainly know how to tell a story, and one that appeals to most ages above grammar school.
Although Mimus is Thal's first work to be released in English, Funke's novels are widely available. In fact, I was introduced to her fiction about two years ago while browsing in a Tokyo bookstore's massive English language section with a friend of mine, a Japanese teacher of English who loves recommending YA fiction to me. Her testimonial was so emphatic, I bought my own copy of Inkheart, rather than borrow hers.
As for Thal, with three previous award winning young adult novels released in Germany, I expect we'll be seeing more of her work in translation as well.