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The Book of Lost Things: A Novel [Hardcover]

A book by John Connolly.

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Fairytales Get Hijacked; Plot Ensues

  • Jul 7, 2010
I'll be honest; the sole reason I picked up Book was because the cover looked neat and it was on sale. Didn't even read a synopsis or check out any reviews. Thankfully, this book is far from a lemon.

I get the impression from this book (and God knows I could be wrong; it happens surprisingly often) that this is one of those books where the author started with a concept--in this case, jacked-up fairytales-- and sat for a second, thinking to himself, "Yeah.... YEAH! That would be sweet, I'm gonna do it." Aaand then started writing without worrying too much about a central plot.

I only say this because the first chunk of the book feels a little aimless. Connolly spends some time setting up the protagonist, David, and introducing the context in which he could find himself transferred into the eeries, warped dreamscape in which the majority of the novel takes place. A few of the concepts are never fully fleshed out, and the initial few scenes in the fairy-tale world continue this trend.

David's first few interactions with fairytales seem less like interesting scenes that add to the plot, or character development, or anything, and more like showcases to say, "wouldn't fairytales be weird if...?" David moves through interactions with socialist dwarves, a beast of a Snow White, and strange hunters without developing any character or advancing the plot. Soon, however, Connolly gets his act together.

As David has more interactions with the Crooked Man, a twisted creature who tries to manipulate the boy, and we learn more about the loups, werewolf-esque creatures that serve as other antagonists, the story gets tight. It's like the author spent the first hundred pages loosely looping threads of plot and character around a spine, and then he wakes up and draws it all together. He touches on some themes with the character of David that really hit home, examining grief, loss, denial & family in a way that paints a clear picture of these feelings for you, even if you haven't experienced similar situations.

Book is a... book that starts off a little wobbly, but quickly becomes something well worth reading. It's when Connolly stops worrying about just screwing with fairytales and really focuses on his own story that he becomes one of the best authors I've picked up lately.

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Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
I enjoyed it; very entertaining and interesting. At times very funny.
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Seth DeHaan ()
Ranked #991
   I'm just starting out in the world, I guess you could say. I've got this compulsion for both the consumption and creation of fiction in any shape, size or form. Well, okay, I can … more
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About this book


Thriller writer Connolly (Every Dead Thing) turns from criminal fears to primal fears in this enchanting novel about a 12-year-old English boy, David, who is thrust into a realm where eternal stories and fairy tales assume an often gruesome reality. Books are the magic that speak to David, whose mother has died at the start of WWII after a long debilitating illness. His father remarries, and soon his stepmother is pregnant with yet another interloper who will threaten David's place in his father's life. When a portal to another world opens in time-honored fashion, David enters a land of beasts and monsters where he must undertake a quest if he is to earn his way back out. Connolly echoes many great fairy tales and legends (Little Red Riding Hood, Roland, Hansel and Gretel), but cleverly twists them to his own purposes. Despite horrific elements, this tale is never truly frightening, but is consistently entertaining as David learns lessons of bravery, loyalty and honor that all of us should learn.(Nov.)
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ISBN-10: 0743298853
ISBN-13: 978-0743298858
Author: John Connolly
Publisher: Atria

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