Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Book of Lost Things

By John Connolly

Dedication: "This book is dedicated to an adult, Jennifer Ridyard, and to Cameron and Alistair Ridyard, who will be adults all too soon.

"For in every adult dwells the child that was, and in every child lies the adult that will be."

First paragraph: "Once upon a time--for that is how all stories should begin--there was a boy who lost his mother."

Review: In the middle of WWII, David is struggling with the death of his mother and his father's remarriage. It isn't that Rose is unkind or that she's constantly forcing him to do things he'd rather not--it's just the dilemma many young children face when they feel their parent is being replaced by someone else. It doesn't help when Georgie, David's new half-brother, enters the picture.

Soon, David's precious books start whispering and before long he finds himself in a world where the fairytales he loves to read have come alive. Unfortunately, they all seem to have taken a dark twist from the "Happily Ever Afters" he's always known.

I love a twist on a fairy tale. I don't think there should be one way to tell them. Connolly definitely managed to re-write a few of the stories and I loved that aspect. However, before you go stick this book in front of your child, you should know that this was a dark book.

I started reading it thinking it might be for kids around 12-14+ but by the time I finished I'd upgraded the age to about 16 or 17. In fact, I might even say this is more of a "Adult Fiction with Teen Allure" than a YA Fiction book. My reasoning? This is a nightmare inducing story. It's disturbing and dark and cynical and it takes happily ever afters and says, "Happily ever after means getting eaten really fast". So, pretty much every story ends with someone being eaten. From the Louts (werewolves) to the 30 foot long slimy beast, this is not a childhood bedtime story. But it was a great story. Connolly managed to create a whole new world where every story was tied together into one land. And Rumple- I mean the "Crooked Man" has corrupted the land for his own pleasure and gain.

Excessively gory but well written. Connolly did what all authors should do; he created a world the reader could escape into. Unfortunately, this particular book has the side-effect where the stories may follow you back and become nightmares you'd rather not remember.

Click here for John Connolly's website for The Book of Lost Things.

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