Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

The Book of Lost Things

Pages (Paperback): 480 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Released: October 16, 2007

Quick Thoughts: Fairy tales are amazing things. They can scare you, excite you, and take you to another world. When I was a kid, I loved them to bits. Now, as a bigger kid, I still love them. I found out about this book from either the newspaper or Amazon and I thought it sounded fantastic. If there is something I love even more than fairy tales, it's fairy tale retellings.

Review: David is having a hard time adjusting to his new world. His mother, who he loved dearly, recently passed away. His father remarried a woman who David hates, and now the two are welcoming a new child into their lives. The only thing that David finds solace in is his new room. The former resident, his step-mom's uncle, mysterious disappeared without a trace one day. After a fight with his step-mom, David hears his mother's voice in the garden causing him to rush over there.

But the garden is a dangerous place and it gets even worse when a German bomber plane falls onto the garden. David hides in one of the cracks and finds himself in a new fantasy world. With no way back home, David must travel to meet the King and seek his help. The road to the King is a dangerous one, with David losing a companion after companion on the way. David also has to fight off a dangerous Huntresses, who fuses kids with animals to make hunting more exciting, a castle in which Sleeping Beauty resides, and the mysterious intentions of the Crooked Man, who may be friend or foe.

David is a great character, he's a little annoying in the beginning, but it works because he's meant to be. He's lashing out at Rose because he still mourns his mother, it makes sense and works well for his character. I loved how once David goes into the fantasy like world, he grows and starts to appreciate his step-mother and brother. This was nicely done and mirrored David's journey through the world.

The other characters in the fantasy world were great, my favourite being Snow White, a fat, grotesque woman, who oppresses the poor dwarfs so much that they tried to kill her. They tried to pin it on the Evil Stepmother, but she had an airtight alibi and so the dwarfs were caught. As punishment, they now have to serve and be stuck with Snow White.

The Crooked Man, the villain of the story, was another one of my favourites. He not only protects and guides David, but also tries to bring him down. It isn't until the end that you, and David, discover his true motivations, but the journey there was a fun one and I loved seeing what he would do next.

Final Thoughts: This is something magical about this book that had me smiling the entire time I was reading it. One of my favourite things about the book was the stories that some of the characters told. An example is Red Riding Hood, a girl who sees a wolf and seduces it bringing the first werewolf into the land. This and other changes to fairy tales was nicely done and beautifully written. I also liked the parallels between David's journey through the fantasy land and his inner journey and growth to appreciate his situation back home. The book definitely reminded me of old fairy tales, the ones that were scary and didn't always have a happy ending. Great book, definitely check it out.

Grade: 9.5 out of 10

The Book of Lost Things is available at bookstores and Amazon.

Read the shorter version of this review at 5 Line Reviews

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