I first fell in love with the cover of this book, then the summary, then the book itself. It was so dark, imaginative, sad, and hopeful. A great Gaiman-eaque fantasy for sure!
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.
I was in the break room at work when two of my coworkers came in. They saw this book sitting on the table and, like me, thought the cover was so cool. Kudos to Rob Ryan for designing a widely-appealing cover, because these coworkers read mainly psychological thrillers and non-fiction and they were still intrigued.
This book has everything. Twisted fairytales, monsters, good vs evil, historical fiction, family issues, plot twists, and talking books, which I didn’t know I needed in my life until now. The characters were great, the conflicts were a lot of fun, and the overall tone of the book was quirky and dark.
David is a very well-written character who feels so much anger, jealousy, and grief and learns to work through it and see conflicts from new perspectives. I think a lot of people expect the children in books to be unable to grasp these behaviors but kids are so much smarter than they are often given credit for and this book really highlights their emotional intelligence and imagination.
The side characters added a lot to the story as a whole and the smaller stories going on within the novel. The Woodsman was a great character to introduce right when David gets thrown into this new world, the Dwarves were righteous and comical, Roland was pulling on my heartstrings, and the Crooked Man was wretched in an oh-so-very fun way.
The twisted fairytales were uh-may-zing. The origin story of Red Riding Hood and the Loups was disturbing but very clever, the story of the enchantress reminded me of The Sleeper and the Spindle, and the Beast was just downright scary to imagine. These stories are dark and cruel with many unhappy parts/endings yet they still made me hopeful for a happy-ever-after ending for David.
The bulk of the story takes place in this other world where knights, kings, wolves/loupes, evil tricksters, and enchantresses thrive. The other setting we get is a historical one set amid German bombings, air raids, and code breaking in the countryside of England. Both of these settings are interesting by themselves so combining them into one book was really interesting, even if they don’t directly interact.
I would highly recommend this book if you like magical realism, fantasy, fairytales and folklore, and Neil Gaiman. This book is entertaining but it also teaches many good lessons that everyone can benefit from, like a fairytale should. The twists and turns in the plot take you on a dark and adventure-filled ride in a really cool fantasy world; what more could you ask for?
Have you read The Book of Lost Things? What did you think?