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High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld.
While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.
“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
This turned out to be a lot darker and crueller than I expected it to be. But in a good way.
Now, if you consider reading this with or to your children: don’t. If I had to set an age limit I would say 13 years, at least. This is some real twisted Coraline shit. Don’t mistake it for anything else.
It starts off promising but without any hint where it is going. It could have been a historical novel for all I know. Maybe magical realism. Don’t let yourself be fooled, this is prime time fantasy.
The writing captured me right away. It created a magical and fairytale atmosphere and pulled me right in. One thing is for sure, John Connolly can write.
A few chapters in, when the main character left reality for the parallel fantasy world, I wasn’t sure this magical atmosphere would hold. Suddenly too many things happened at once, the pace increased and new characters were introduced almost every page.
Luckily, Connolly managed to keep the atmosphere from crumbling and built an incredible and dark tale, based on many familiar characters and stories from popular fairytales. Just keep in mind that this is anything but Disney. The author stripped the fairytales of most romanticizing aspects and went back to the original and often cruel version of the tales. He gave them his own, somber twist and developed an exciting and often surprising plot.
There are many fairytales out there and many of them include lovely princesses with fancy dresses and beautiful hair. If you are ready to find out what Snow White is really like, or what unspeakable truth lead Red Riding Hood off the path and into the woods, you should make sure to read this book.
P.S.: I’m hoping for Guillermo del Toro to discover this book and adapt it.
I stayed up till 1 last night to finish this book.
I REGRET NOTHING.
Recently I’ve taken quite a fancy to fairy tale re-tellings. You can go right ahead and blame Gail Carson Levine for that. The Book of Lost things belongs to that genre, albeit a bit LOT more darker.
The book begins by introducing us to 12-year old David who has just lost his mum. He finds out that his dad is getting remarried and pretty soon finds himself with a baby brother, whom he hates on sight. Deep in his depression, he begins to hear voices coming out of the books he and his mum used to read together. That is when he first sees the Crooked Man. One late night, David hears his mum’s voice calling out to him, asking him to come rescue her from something horrible. He follows her voice to a hole in the garden wall and ends up in fairy tale land with no way of going back (the hole in the wall closes after he passes through).
And that is when things get nasty.
Immediately after arriving, David runs into the Woodsman (The Red-riding hood one) who rescues him from certain death at the hands of a group of half-human, half-wolf mutants. Now, David has to find his way back by searching for the Book of Lost things with the help of the Woodsman and the brave Knight Roland, while escaping the werewolves and the ever-lurking Crooked Man, who follows him everywhere he goes.
Another novel to have been mistakenly classified as a children’s story, the Book of Lost Things, is like a roller-coaster ride inside a scary, haunted house filled with your deepest, darkest nightmares involving live, flesh-eating monsters and blood. LOTS of blood.
But, not to worry there is light comic relief in the middle, in the form of (view spoiler) Snow-white and seven(view spoiler) dwarves. That part is hilarious. DO NOT MISS IT.
BUT, the rest of the book is seriously creepy, though not more so than the villain of the story, the Crooked Man. To say he is a bad, bad man would be the understatement of the Millenium in the entire galaxy. He is fiendish, horrifying, diabolical, wicked, cruel, savage, monstrous, malicious, inhuman, infernal…(Freedictionary.com ran out of synonyms here). SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS, VOLDEMORT’S GOT NOTHING ON THE CROOKED MAN!!
You’ve been warned.
P.S – The ending is amazing and wonderful and moving and very coming-of-age-y and I CRIED. So shoo, go read it now!