My feelings for this book surprised me after my intensely passionate, torrid love affair with The Child Thief. The story made me love it despite myself. We meet David as he is watches his mother slowly die from illness. Jonathan vanished as a young boy and has never been seen since. While Rose is nice and tries to form a bond with David, he finds himself increasingly angry at her and his new half-brother. Eventually David finds himself in another world where dark, grim versions of classic fairy tale characters exist but are nothing like the way they are normally portrayed.
The depictions of these characters are outstanding and it often takes a while to identify who they are because they are so stripped of the normal fluffy accoutrements. While, most of the tone is serious and even bleak, there are some great moments of comedy. Their relationship with Snow White is anything but pleasant.go site
The Book of Lost Things
However, it is very, very funny. David soon discovers that he must make it to the King of this new world who might have the power to send him back home. He keeps us engaged as he introduces us to the characters and slowly allows the fantasy elements to creep and and crawl and bleed into the narrative. This makes the transition from our world into the fantasy world feel authentic and seamless. In addition, the early events of the story turn out to be critical to the central plot and final resolution of the story and so form important threads in the overall tapestry.
As alluded to above, I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel given how emotionally spent I was after reading The Child Thief. It's a credit to how marvelous a job Connolly did with this work that he was able to hold me enthralled to the narrative throughout.
The characters are well drawn, with details and shadings to their personalities that make them come alive. I bonded with David very early on making the dangers that he faced all the more gripping. Overall, a sensational book that over came great odds to pleasantly surprise me. If you get the chance to pick this book up View all 65 comments. Jan 08, Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Part fairy tale and part psychological study, I found this to be an engrossing and powerful book.
Recommend to everybody, particularly those who have used reading and books to get themselves through difficult times, especially in childhood. I don't look at this book the way some readers apparently have: And as an account of one boy's inner life and imagination. I'm not sur Part fairy tale and part psychological study, I found this to be an engrossing and powerful book.
View all 24 comments. Feb 02, Kai rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Fans of Pan's Labyrinth and Coraline. But in a good way. Now, if you consider reading this with or to your children: If I had to set an age limit I would say 13 years, at least. This is some real twisted Coraline shit. Don't mistake it for anything else. It starts off promising but without any hint where it is going. It could have been a historical novel for all I know. Don't let yourself be fooled, this is prime time fantasy.
The writing captured me right away. It created a magical and fairytale atmosphere and pulled me right in. One thing is for sure, John Connolly can write. A few chapters in, when the main character left reality for the parallel fantasy world, I wasn't sure this magical atmosphere would hold. Suddenly too many things happened at once, the pace increased and new characters were introduced almost every page.
Luckily, Connolly managed to keep the atmosphere from crumbling and built an incredible and dark tale, based on many familiar characters and stories from popular fairytales. Just keep in mind that this is anything but Disney. The author stripped the fairytales of most romanticising aspects and went back to the original and often cruel version of the tales.
He gave them his own, sombre twist and developed an exciting and often surprising plot. We are introduced to this strong and tall knight in shining armour, who takes the main character under his wing for a while. After a time we get to know him a little better and find out that he is looking for someone, another knight, whose picture he keeps hidden in a locket around his neck. I could smell the gay from far away. His was such a beautiful and tragic story, and I really wanted to know more about him, he deserved a happy ending, but I knew, and he knew, that there was no such thing in his future.
Which made my heart ache a little more. If you are ready to find out what Snow White is really like, or what unspeakable truth lead Red Riding Hood off the path and into the woods, you should make sure to read this book. I'm hoping for Guillermo del Toro to discover this book and adapt it. Find more of my books on Instagram View all 8 comments. Aug 06, Annet rated it really liked it Shelves: Extraordinary book, really special. Story about the seven dwarves made me laugh: I have my eyes on Nocturnes now of Connolly. Nov 14, Mith rated it it was amazing Shelves: I stayed up till 1 last night to finish this book.
Recently I've taken quite a fancy to fairy tale re-tellings. You can go right ahead and blame Gail Carson Levine for that. The book begins by introducing us to year old David who has just lost his mum. He finds out that his dad is getting remarried and pretty soon finds himself with a baby brother, whom he hates on sight. Deep in his depression, he be I stayed up till 1 last night to finish this book.
Deep in his depression, he begins to hear voices coming out of the books he and his mum used to read together. That is when he first sees the Crooked Man. One late night, David hears his mum's voice calling out to him, asking him to come rescue her from something horrible. He follows her voice to a hole in the garden wall and ends up in fairy tale land with no way of going back the hole in the wall closes after he passes through. And that is when things get nasty.
Immediately after arriving, David runs into the Woodsman The Red-riding hood one who rescues him from certain death at the hands of a group of half-human, half-wolf mutants. Now, David has to find his way back by searching for the Book of Lost things with the help of the Woodsman and the brave Knight Roland, while escaping the werewolves and the ever-lurking Crooked Man, who follows him everywhere he goes. But, not to worry there is light comic relief in the middle, in the form of view spoiler [a tyrannical and grotesquely obese hide spoiler ] Snow-white and seven view spoiler [, extremely downtrodden hide spoiler ] dwarves.
That part is hilarious. BUT, the rest of the book is seriously creepy, though not more so than the villain of the story, the Crooked Man. To say he is a bad, bad man would be the understatement of the millenium in the entire galaxy. He is fiendish, horrifying, diabolical, wicked, cruel, savage, monstrous, malicious, inhuman, infernal So shoo, go read it now! Nov 15, Rosh rated it liked it. And you've pretty much got this.
But did it work? This books is rather dichotomous. There were some really wonderful bits, and there were parts that were just poorly executed. But my biggest grouch was with the predictable and stiff writing. I almost laughed aloud when I read sentences along the lines of: Overall it was an Okay and forgettable read. View all 11 comments.
Oct 23, mark monday rated it really liked it Shelves: Fugue state , formally Dissociative Fugue Fugues are usually precipitated by a stressful episode. David is deeply unhappy with this development. Find and Rescue His Mother. John Connolly is best known as a respected writer of an excellent detective series. David's daunting entry into the strange fantasy world Dionysian imitatio , a literary method of imitation conceived as the practice of emulating, adaptating, reworking and enriching a source text by an earlier author.
Book of Lost Things is a book of mythopoeic templates - revisited, revised, regurgitated, remixed, and reimagined. Childe Roland, transformed as a brave gay soldier in search of his long-lost lover Memento mori , a Latin phrase translated as "Remember your mortality", "Remember you must die" or "Remember you will die" View all 15 comments.
Mar 09, Robotkarateman rated it it was ok Shelves: I'm happy to discuss my opinion of this book with you if you had a different take, but if your intent is merely to attack my opinion, I'm not interested. Since I posted this way back in , a very small minority of this book's fans have taken my review personally and have written some very long, very insulting responses telling me why I'm wrong.
So please allow me to clarify something - This is my opinion of the book.
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It will undoubtedly differ from yours because we are not the same person. You are welcome to refute me by giving the book a much higher rating and more glowing review You are also welcome to tell me you disagree below, but if you can't do it in a less-than-essay-long format, I will delete your comment. If you need to get nasty and personal with your remarks, I'll probably be reporting and blocking you as well.
Connolly's "Book of Lost Things" came highly recommended as a modern take on the fantasy genre. What I found instead was a completely unlikeable main character, an array of interchangeable father figures, and a disappointing rehash of the usual fairy tale parodies. And that groundwork occurs in one of the most poorly paced info-dumps I've had the misfortune to read.
The first chapter focuses on David and his mother, leading you to believe this will be the crux of the story - but alas, she dies. The second chapter focuses on the father's remarriage and David's anxiety attacks leading the reader to believe, perhaps, this is the focus of the story - it is not. The third and fourth chapters center on David's mostly absent father whose work is "top secret" and David's fights with his step-mother and we, the audience, raise our index fingers and say, "Ah-ha! Conflict with the new parental figure!
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This, surely, is the story! In fact, after the sixth chapter, neither of those characters appears again until the two chapters long! The real story ends up being David's abduction into the land of fairy tales by the Crooked Man, a Rumpelstiltskin who makes vicious bargains with emotional children to feed his magical slave house.
David starts off his true adventure by following the voice of his dead mother - but don't assume that the story somehow involves David's mother's spirit wandering painfully in the fantasy realm awaiting rescue, this too, in Connolly fashion, is completely irrelevant to the story. Instead, David wanders the fantasy realm accompanied by a series of nearly identical substitute fathers who end up betraying David's trust in one way or another - by being gay in one case Roland , by being fallible in another the generic Woodsman.
In the end, David finds another potential father figure in Jonathon, and quickly realizes that not only is Jonathon a liar and a murderer, but also that he, David, no longer needs a father figure because he's now become a man of his own right. He then stares down Jonathon, the Crooked Man, and the vicious wolf monsters, who until that point only appeared in the story when Connolly felt the need to remind us that David was in danger because wolf monsters were chasing him; they never catch up to him except at the end and, as I said, David simply stares them down and wins by virtue of his newfound manhood.
In all, "Lost Things" is a plodding, thinly veiled paean to a baby-boomer-era view of "manhood" as stoic resolution and resistance to all hurts, including mental and emotional. Perhaps this story plays better, and I don't wish to be insulting, with a female audience, one that's never had to grapple with questions of "manliness" or had to decide on an appropriate level of attachment to an older male. As for me, I was insulted that David begins the story emotionally wounded by what he views as a betrayal by his father and, instead of finding closure, he learns to just get over it and "be a man" about it.
But a bigger insult, in my eyes, was the closing of the book - Connolly is so in love with his work that he follows up the main story with almost pages of notes and commentary on his story: This was my first experience with Connolly, and as it's his most highly recommended book, I'll probably pass on his work in the future. View all 26 comments. Jul 31, Carol. This is definitely not a young adult book. If you should try, with best intentions, after reading numerous glowing reviews and having heard Connolly's name bandied about the bookish world, to gift this one to a ten-year-old, expect stern words and doubts of judgement.
And for pity's sakes, don't give it to any girls, because it's even less friendly to the female person than Grimms' Fairytales. In fact, it does bear a strong resemblance to the writing of the dear Brothers, which is not a been a b This is definitely not a young adult book. In fact, it does bear a strong resemblance to the writing of the dear Brothers, which is not a been a bad thing if one enjoys the flagrant telling and the elaborate language of fairy tales. That all generally works beautifully here, except that it's oh-so-very dark and misanthropic a tale that I'd reserve it for grown boys who used to be good and are having trouble figuring the path ahead.
Which, as you might have guessed, is also not altogether abhorrent.
But, let us speak logically, and dissect this. They seemed alive to David, as though being wrenched from their sockets had not deprived them of the capacity to see. Another contained a woman's hand, a gold ring upon its wedding finger, red varnish flaking slowly from its nails. This is the adult world with danger, his perceptions of it seeped in negative emotions of loss, jealousy, fear, and sometimes even boredom. He is being stalked by a Crooked Man, who seems evil, though he cannot say exactly why.
The young man, David, journeys through the crack and falls into a land that is fairy-tale twisted. Rescued by a Woodsman, he embarks on a journey to see the king, gain insight from The Book of Lost Things and hopefully return to his own world. As the story progresses, he meets different people and occasionally they will tell him stories that echo fairy tales he has read. They make better sport, and better trophies for my wall, for they are beautiful.
Incest, torture, murder, draining away life; in some ways, I too felt my life drained away by this tale, by the cataloguing of misuse of power, the isolationism of a village, the careless mutilation and torture. Instead of uplifted, I felt ground away, like I had been watching a war montage. Connolly is not celebrating childhood or impending adulthood as much as outlining it as a horrible, dastardly trap where the right choices will mean honor and loss, and the wrong choices mean torture and loss.
And, after all, I have days I feel that way. Where the world has pounded me down. Where humanity seems too full of itself. Where individual kindness feels scarce. Which is why I pick up other books. This book is indeed about Lost Things, the most lostest being childhood itself, except in this version of childhood, what David leaves behind is fantasies of his mother and his first family, not idle days exploring wardrobes, or playing at sword-fighting, or looking for moon-paths.
In this book of childhood, the most halcyon of times were pre-war and pre-illness and so distant as to be barely present. Their absence made the city appear emptier and increased the sense of nervous expectancy that seemed to govern the lives of all who remained. Soon, the bombers would come, and the city was shrouded in darkness at night to make their task harder.
David is very real, as layered as one can possibly be at that age, struggling with pride, isolation, independence, and a great deal of loss. Most of the rest of the characters exist as they do in fairy tales, that is to say, as archetypes. There is an off-note encounter with the Seven Dwarves, who have become communists; an anomaly in that they are supposed to be humorous. It's also worth nothing that the Gallant Knight is in love with a man, and while a man of honor, is also a doomed, tragic figure. Now those teeth tore into its prey, ripping great chunks of bloody fur from its body as it fed.
I do not think Connolly loves females overmuch. Aside from the idolized but dead mother, the doomed deer-girl, and a friendly female horse, there is absolutely nothing to love here about females. I'm going to list it here, because I'm not going to ever re-read this book, and someday, someone will ask why: The grossly fat, selfish Snow White. The Evil Huntress obsessed with finding the perfect prey. The Evil Enchantress asleep behind the wall of thorns. The girl in a jar, about as close as one comes to a refrigerator in a non-refrigerator world.
Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide-eyes following them by flashlight beneath a blanket, they had no real existence in our world. They were like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. They lay dormant, hoping for the chance to emerge. Once someone started to read them, they could begin to change.
They could take root in the imagination, and transform the reader. It came alive to me, but not in a pleasant way, more in the way of being lost in a forest and arriving at a town where nobody speaks your language and everyone looks at you askance, and you feel you may not be safe after all, which is why on my own personal scale, it's about an 'okay.
All that said, it's not a book I'd ever give and would recommend to only a few. View all 7 comments. Through time we have come to develop feelings of grief, rage, hatred, and jealousy. These are some of the things that eat the pure off of us. At some point, we have all become the things we feared the most.
We have turned into our very own monsters, destroying the good that is ahead of us. This is the story of how David overcame his monsters. As a young boy, David lost his mother, and his only means of coping up with his grief was reading, an interest he got from her. The books started whispering to him and only he could hear them. There, in the old house, he was given a room that was used to be of a boy named Jonathan Tulvey.
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It was filled with old books that David tried to read for himself although some he could not understand thoroughly. In his dreams and around the house, David began seeing a figure of a man with distinct, odd features. Drawing closer and closer to him, waiting in the shadows, was the Crooked Man. I borrowed a copy of this from my cousin and it had been sitting on my shelf for months. At first, I was not too thrilled to start reading it due to the synopsis at the back of the book. It was not very attractive to me.
I decided to read it just so I could return it to her sooner. I was so wrong to judge this book by the few words written on its back cover. I was not expecting it to fascinate me, to touch my heart, and to show me what it means to live and to be alive, but it did. It was an extraordinary experience that was beyond my anticipation for it.
It was a dark, strange, tragic, and bloody adventure that every child in us would fear, but the adult in us would come to understand the truth beneath its surface. David was a child at the beginning of the story, and you could really visualize how his character developed. In time, he also became more selfless, learning that love could cause a terrible ache, and living, sometimes, could hurt.
His journey in the world beyond the sunken garden emblematized a lot of things that he was battling in his heart. They were struggles he had to face to help him cope with the pain of losing his mother and adjust to his new life. The world that the author wrote into being was quite disturbing. It was stripped off of peace, innocence, and hope.
In every corner of it lurked danger that a child like David, realistically, might not be able to endure. There were beasts, creatures that could kill or mangle you. There was also a bit of sexual content implied in it that I was not expecting. He could either be very curious to try those things out or be afraid of them. It gave me a clearer insight of what David was going through, reminding me more that, somehow, I have been there too.
It was quite amusing to reread those fairytales and to read some of them for the first time. They felt familiar but at the same time strange because after all these years of not reading them and then revisiting them now, it seemed to me that they were telling a different story that exhibited deeper reason than how I perceived them when I was just a child. There were also explanations on how each of the characters represented an archetype or a persona that contributed greatly not only to the development of this story, but also to those that inspired it.
This is a really cleverly-written adventure and I highly recommend it. I hope you guys would give it a try. Surely, I will be reading more books written by this author in the future. View all 17 comments. And it didn't disappoint! Story A young adult novel focusing on a young boy's quest to fit in his earthly world and survive in his fantasy world in 's England.
Young David around 10 has suffered a lot as a boy. His mother dies early, his father remarries quickly. He is shy and doesn't venture much out of his room. When he's forced to accept his new stepmother and then his young half-brother, David mysteriously disappears into his books through a realm in secret sunken garden where he's immediately thrown into fairy tale land.
He must find a way out but quickly learns the fairy tales all have a dark side in this universe, and he's not the first to be transported to the new world from his old world. He's faced with the be-all, end-all question of selfish vs. What will he choose and what are the impacts? John Connolly has a vivid imagination with brilliant characters and creates a fun re-appropriation of beloved fairy tales. You see a lot of yourself in David and know what he's doing wrong all the time -- makes you realize the commonality among all of us.
Not enough of the fairy tales are included to truly feel like you've shown us the full picture of this world. Final Thoughts It's still a great read. I think it's appropriate for pre-teens across the curriculum. It will speak volumes to different types of kids -- those who love to read, those who have problems at home, those who just love fantasy, those who like history About Me For those new to me or my reviews I read A LOT. I write A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https: Thanks for stopping by!
View all 4 comments. The Wolf in Winter: A Samuel Johnson Adventure: The Wrath of Angels: The Wanderer in Unknown Realms.
The Charlie Parker Collection A powerful, powerful writer. I got a very real chill down my spine. This is an amazing book. The book's epic villainy, mournful tone and tested morality is the essence of Connolly. Tension, terror and gallows humour make the book a gripping read. Connolly imagines the emotional cave-in of puberty intelligently, even perceptively - Guardian.
This is no saccharine fairytale, but an eerie fable that's perfect for long winter nights - Daily Mail. A moving fable, brilliantly imagined, about the agony of loss and the pain of young adulthood - The Times. All his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers. In he was awarded the Irish Post Award for Literature. The World According to Anna. The Unfinished Novel and Other stories. From the Place in the Valley Deep in the Forest.
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