Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

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.
Epic! You are either going to love this or hate it, I adored it! The Book of Lost Things has some great writing with references to some well-loved fairy tales and mythical essentials from my childhood. The best way I can describe it is that it is seriously a darker more twisted version of The Chronicles of Narnia but this is by no means a children’s story. I do want to make clear that I see this book as both a story about growing up but also a story about the love of books, about the adventures and the knowledge within them if you fully immerse yourself. If you are here, reading a book blog, then I believe you will relate to the power of stories that are betrayed within the pages of this book. If you believe books can be liberating and are looking for a coming of age, adventurous, unpredictable, imaginative read, then this book is for you.

~Spoiler Free Review~

Writing:  This was my first John Connolly book and he did not disappoint. This book is well written on so many different levels. Connolly has a flow to his writing that is fluid and irresistible. I kept telling myself “I’ll finish at the end of the chapter” and five chapters later… you get the idea! There are also these psychological aspects to the story that shed a new light to an interesting turn of events. I am no psychologist but these features totally drew me into the story even deeper. Connolly’s writing here was obscure, warped, captivating and addictive but then again also heart wrenching, sweet, and endearing.

World: This is a book that is heavy on world building AND was executed flawlessly! The setting of the book (initially) is in England during WWII. The best part of the world building though happens when David gets lured into this new kingdom that is hungry for his innocence. I don’t want to wreck anything so just go… go read it!

Characters: From the first pages my heart goes out to David, a 12-year old boy whose world gets turned upside down when he loses his mom. He is definitely in his own head, has some obsessive compulsive tendencies, and has one heck of an imagination. Then when family dynamics start to change I find I fell in love with David as a character. Between his depression, the voices from the books, and the sightings of an odd and magical crooked man I couldn’t help getting sucked into David’s thoughts. Obviously, there is the Crooked Man who SERIOUSLY gave me the chills and may be one of my top favorite Villains of all time…  Every character David met along the way had a certain aspect of impact and significance and I loved them all.

Plot: This story-line has a whole slew of fairy-tale retellings wrapped up within the pages but I warn you, if you are expecting something like a Cinderella retelling then you will be severely disturbed. This book cleverly displays the tough transition from childhood to adulthood. In order to survive, David must learn to balance imagination and conviction with the awful reality that can be life. I think that this story would be particularly relatable for those who have used reading and books to get themselves through difficult times, especially in childhood.

Overall, I cherished The Book of Lost Things. I checked it out from the library for my first read and will be buying it very soon for a re-read in my future. The ending will not leave you disappointed I promise! Dare I say it; I may have shed some tears…

It was amazing.
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