Sunday, August 1, 2010

Book Review- The Book of Lost Things

Do you ever go into Borders and look at the employee recommendation shelves? I'm not sure how often people actually make cold purchases off these selves but sometimes you can find hidden treasures among them. One book I always noticed placed on these shelves was The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I took a second to read the synopsis of the book and was rather intrigued. I'm sure most of you have never heard of this book so here's a brief summary and my review.

The Book of Lost Things centers around a 12-year old boy named David and it begins with David and his ill mother in London, England during World War II. Soon afterwards, David's mother passes away and his father soon remarries a woman named Rose. David's father and David move into Rose's home and David is given Rose's uncle's old room in the attic. Strangely Rose's uncle, Jonathan Tulvey, disappeared when he was a boy several years ago. Soon, David's Father and Rose have a baby boy named Georgie and slowly, each day, David becomes more and more spiteful of Rose and Georgie. Lost in sadness up in his attic/room, David begins to hear his books whispering to him.

Davis takes refuge in his imagination to escape from his loneliness and anger and soon the lines between fantasy and reality begin to melt away. One night, David hears his mother calling for him in the gardens and David rushes to find her. Suddenly David sees a German bomber coming straight towards the garden and he squeezes through a crack in the walls of the garden. When David comes out the other side, he's been transported to a fantasy world filled with magical creatures and characters from famous fairy tales and legends. David learns he must go on a quest to find the king and The Book of Lost Things if he is to ever have a chance of getting back home. David soon finds out that this new fantasy world is nightmare come to life, full of perilous dangers and unrelenting and ruthless characters. This is an exciting coming of age story where David's quest brings him to learn great lessons about honor, bravery, and loyalty.

I know what your thinking. Sounds a lot like Pan's Labyrinth, right? I can assure you, besides the general premise, it is a very different story from Pan's Labyrinth. John Connolly uses many of the famous fairy tales that we are familiar with (Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White) and puts his own twist on them in this novel. The structure is a bit like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland where David continues to come across unusual characters throughout the novel and goes through small ordeals with each new character until he reaches the king's castle. Unlike Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the characters David meets are not whimsical and merry but terrifying and grim but also some lifelong companions.

I've always loved old fairy tales, folklore, and legends and this books revisits many of the old stories I love and puts a great spin on them. I found it incredibly exciting to read about a world that encompasses all these traditional stories and characters but is still original. David's journey in the novel is exciting and never slows down; he continues to become face to face with more dangerous beings and monsters as the story continues. Many of the plot elements are dark and distributing, which isn't a bad thing! Just don't be fooled into thinking that this a book you can read to your kids! I also love coming of age novels; it was great to see David mature out of that angry 12-year old boy he was at the beginning of the novel. Nothing in the book hit me too emotionally but was beautifully crafted still. Overall, this book is exciting, dark, twisted, and an evocative trip! Great fairy tale for adults!! Supposedly there is a film adaption underway by Irish director John Moore, but I wouldn't be surprised if the project has been put on hold seeing how badly movie studios are struggling right now.

Recommended- Final Score 8/10

1 comment:

  1. You know what? I bought that book a long time ago and never really picked it up. But now since you said it was good, I'll take a closer look.