Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly

The Book of Lost ThingsThe Book of Lost Things is for those who like their stories with a heavy dose of fantasy influence, with a few twists but nothing that makes the underlying stories completely unrecognizable.  The story revolves around David and his experiences following the death of his mother.  With only his overworked father for company, David takes to reading.  His father meets a new woman, Rose, who becomes pregnant.  David and his father move in with her in her old family home.  David's room is filled with the books of the former occupant, and David can hear them speaking.  Not only that, but he's started to have fainting fits, and when he wakes up he had memories of a different place.  Oh, and did I mention The Crooked Man, who looks like something out of a nightmare, is stalking him?

One night, David crawls through a hole in the garden wall and finds himself in a strange land that's infested with monsters and creatures of myth and fairy tale.  His only hope of getting home, he's told, is to go see the king.  The king has a mysterious book called The Book of Lost Things, and it might hold the answer to David's safe return to his family.

The strange world in this book is heavily influenced by fairy tales, which was very cool.  Connolly subtly modified all of them to make them fresh and foreboding, but they were still recognizable enough that I could feel I was "in" on the secrets of the world without actually being there.  Also, not only well-known fairy tales are used.  Sure, there are elements of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood, but there is also The Goose Girl, The Three Army Surgeons, and a few things out of poetry and myth which haven't been as heavily represented in the current fad of retelling fairy tales.  The overall plot of the book isn't entirely ground-breaking; it's extremely reminiscent of the movie Labyrinth.  You know, the one with David Bowie as the Goblin King?

Yeah.  That one.  Anyway, The Book of Lost Things is definitely more about the journey than the destination, because honestly, I don't like the destination.  I don't like destinations like that in general, because, um...

That's why.  Awkward.  Also, some of the stuff in the book doesn't work the way it says it works, which was kind of weird.  Like the Loups.  Their presence is explained (via the Red Riding Hood story) but later on, they don't actually fit that story at all in their transformations.  It was kind of weird.  David's character seems kind of immature for his age, too; he's supposed to be around the age of twelve or thirteen, but he acts much longer.  I see this a lot in books; it's like authors have a couple of pre-conceived "child" characters and jump straight from the 8-year-old to the 17-year-old, with no shifts in behavior in between.  Still, though, a good read for the bulk of the book.  OH!  And it has this awesome section at the back where all of the "origin stories" of the fairy tales are laid out, so if you ever want to know more about one of the elements Connolly uses, he goes right on and tells you!  Very cool.  Kudos for that one.

Overall, good book.  I didn't like the ending, but I can forgive it because the body was so great.

4 out of 5 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment