May 16, 2012

Review: The Book of Lost Things

By: John Connolly
Published: November 2006 by Washington Square Press
Format: Paperback, 339 pages
First Reviewed: April 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

"Each man dreams his own heaven."

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.

Rating: 5/5

One of my managers at work told me about this book, and as soon as she mentioned "dark twists on fairytales," I knew I needed to read this book. Sure, it took me over a month to read--not because of the book, but because of real life--but I loved every second of it. Every time I picked up this book to get a chapter or two read, I was dropped back into the world within the blink of an eye. Absolutely loved it.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was Connolly's writing. I will say I found it overwritten at some times, but overall it was perfect. The tone was one few authors managed to pull off successfully for me, both dark and real without going overboard or being too old- or too young-sounding.

From the beginning I knew I was going to love the writing. I will say I think the opening was fleshed out a little too much, though. I found the repetition sometimes annoying. But I'm able to overlook it, as Connolly grabbed me and hooked me and made me stay up late reading with my booklight. Something I haven't done in months.

Refreshing, unique, with descriptions and detail so perfect to the story, John Connolly is now an author I can't wait to read more of. Loved the writing.

What can I say about the characters without giving too much away? Let's just say "creative." Connolly took characters from fairytales we all know and made them into characters that felt new. Put enough twists on them to make them dark and different and it really made the story.

As for David, I connected with him on many levels, despite this being in third person. I loved the struggles Connolly enlisted onto him, from OCD to battles. It made his growth from a boy to a man obvious to the reader instead of the reader just being told about it. There's a bit of everyone in David, which isn't easy to do.

Overall, I loved the characters. The twists Connolly put on them and the connections that everyone can get from them.

I'll get my main problem with the plot out of the way: Sometimes I felt as though the plot wasn't going anywhere. As though Connolly just wanted to throw in a certain fairytale and made it a part of the story. So even scenes that I absolutely loved, I didn't really understand the purpose completely. Now, that could also be my fault, and I can almost hear my English teacher telling me to look deeper.

Anyway, besides that, I loved everything about this plot. There were several elements woven in throughout, from hunting wolves to the Crooked Man, to an adventure and journey across the land. I felt myself there from the beginning to the end, with David as he encountered all of these beings and people and problems. It was one of those plots where I could put the book down for a week (stupid real life), pick it up, and still remember where I was and where everything left off. That's not something I can do with any book.

There's not much else to say other than this was a great story that held me from beginning to end, with dark and twisted tales, bloody battles, deadly riddles, and uplifting messages even in the midst of trouble and obstacles. I loved every minute of it.

Other: I must say I loved how this was set during World War II in England and not just during any time. Also, the Crooked Man was creepy. Downright creepy. Hard to get me creeped out and Connolly did it.

I realized this isn't too in-depth of a review, but this was my last review on my old site. I'm glad it was on this great book, as I was whisked away into another world while reading it. Something that doesn't seem to happen very often anymore. I highly recommend giving it a try, especially if you like dark twists on fairytales. It was fantastic.

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