With echoes of Gregory Maguire's and C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, author John Connolly introduces us to a cast of not-quite-familiar characters - like the seven socialist dwarfs who poison an uninvited (and unpleasant) princess and try to peg the crime on her stepmother. Or the Loups, the evil human-canine hybrids spawned long ago by the union of a wolf and a seductive girl in a red cloak.
As war rages across Europe, David is violently propelled into a land that is both a construct of his imagination, yet frighteningly real - a strange reflection of his own world composed of myths and stories, populated by wolves and worse-than-wolves, and ruled over by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a legendary book...The Book of Lost Things.
©2006 John Connolly; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC.
This is one of those books that appeal to a specific listener. If I know my friend has a fondness of fairytales and enjoys rather warped retellings, I'd suggest this book.
The ending was satisfying in its resolution, but it was perhaps a little too "tidy" for a book that was "out there."
His agility with regional accents from the UK is admirable.
David's delicate state after his mother's death was heartbreaking and disturbing. John Connolly did a great job engendering pity for the boy's plight, particularly in the scene at the psychiatrist's office when David has a meltdown.
The Crooked Man stands out as a particularly menacing bad guy. Towards the end of the story, the author pushed a little too hard with an overabundance of gory details and sickening anecdotes about the character's misdeeds. My finger hovered over the fast-forward button because the gratuitous detail became irritating. We already got it: he's a really bad dude.
The Book of Lost Things portrays the healing power of stories and books.
It's simple really, I am just a guy looking to enjoy the writing and reading talents of others while raising my family the best I can, just Like most everyone else!!!
I have read this book several times, I have 2 paper copies, 1 cd and now I downloaded it from Audible. I got it from Audible so I could bookmark it and so it would take up less room on the mp3 than the cd does. Anyway on to the review. How do I tell you how great it is without telling too much? Hmmmmm, well, I think I will try to tell you just a few of the things that I loved about it. This story grabbed me from the first page, yes the first page! No joke at all about that. The way the words spoke to me was different than most books, it was special. The stories pace was detailed but fast, to me it was just the right mixture to make me want to keep going without many breaks. As the story starts it is about an older boy whose Mom dies and he has to accept a new mom and a new half brother. Somewhere around there he starts to hear books talking to him, a "crooked man" starts coming around and he finds a door to a secret land/world.
When he enters the new world he finds one of the greatest and worst adventures that anyone could imagine. He meets some of my favorite characters that I have ever read in one book. Some of them befriend him while others scare him, lie to him, try to kill and even try to steal his soul. It is a coming of age book but also so much more. It is an adventure for some older teens but mostly for adults. It has a good ending so don't worry about that. All in all I believe most readers will find a reason to like this book. I usually read Koontz and Stephen King type of books but I now find this book among my all time favorites. The only thing that upsets me is that John Connolly has yet to write another story like this one! I will patiently wait.
I hope you give it a try.
Thank you for reading my opinion!
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
A bit like CS Lewis's Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe series and a bit like the movie Pan's Labyrinth, in that a child is pulled from the troubled real world into a dark, parallel fantasy world. This book, though, finds a middle ground between the preachyness of the former and the creepiness of the latter, paying tribute to a few other classics as well.
Connolly is imaginative, and I enjoyed his subversion of familiar fairy tales. Most are dark, but there's some Monty Python-like humor in a revision of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and I found a tale involving a not-quite-typical knight in shining armor to be moving in its simplicity.
Unfortunately, the book gets caught up in its episodic structure, and the larger plot arc is less satisfying. David, who begins the novel in World War II Britain as a standard everyboy, other than for an odd ability to hear books talk, has little more personality by the end. Still, Connolly creates an atmospheric world that's as foreboding but fun as the grim, old-fashioned tales of magic, wolves, and wicked tricksters that we loved as children, and it's a fine place for a visit, though perhaps not multiple reads.
Set in England at the start of WWII, the 12-year-old main character, David is struggling with the death of his mother after a long debilitating illness. After his father quickly remarries and has another child, David feels abandoned and resentful. Always a reader, he turns to his books for solace and they in turn begin to talk back. He escapes into a secret world of fairy tales and embarks upon a quest to learn the truth about what really happened to his mother. This book is a mixture of coming of age story interspersed with fairy tales turned grisly. It is rare to find a book with truly creative concepts, but Connolly manages to take what could have been a fairly common format and make it unique. I will definitely be reading/listening to more of his work. I also thought the narrator was perfect for this story and added to the overall experience.
Stories want to be told, and this is a good one -- twisted fairy tales intersperse the larger story of David and his trip into his own story. I found the narrator to be excellent; the story was suitable for both adults and young adults. This was such an enjoyable book, I could not put it down. If you like fairy tales with a twist of darkness, you will like this one.
Writing reviews is work. Therefore, I need to be really happy or really unhappy with a book to write one.
I enjoyed Connolly's "The Gates", which had an energetic protagonist and a reasonable premise, and fell for the good reviews for this book. After 2+ hours of hearing about the problems of a depressed and depressing young boy, the action finally started. Some of it was inventive; much was ugly; some was related to fairy tales but other bits seemed like just an opportunity to bring in grotesques. There was an almost complete lack of humor, and what there was was heavy-handed and soon over. Since it was set in WWII, I kept looking for parallels, but, trust me, Tolkein did it a lot better. But obviously, given the reviews, a lot of people have like it. Go take a look at a hard copy before you decide this one is for you.
This was one of those tales that you never want to end. I just wanted to crawl inside it and stay. It was dark and creepy and lovely all at the same time. Beautifully written and read.
I hated the chracter for a while because he was so whiney until I realized that a lot of it had to do with the way the narrator was reading the dialogue and putting a high-pitched whiney lilt to the voice.
The story was interesting enough to listen to while I worked but the stories were supposed to be a new spin and it all felt tired to me.
I've not read John Connolly before and after this book I may try something of his in the future. It was written well with the exception that it seemed to go on and on trying to find its' own point. I would say that Mr Connolly may have gotten a little lost while writing it. I suspect this is easy for an author to do and I wouldn't condemn him for it I'd just hope in the future he'd spend more time writing less.
It has some very oft repeated fairy tale predictables in it: There is a land that the character stumbles into but can't easily stumble out of (Narnia, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland etc...) Turns out the main character took ill and entire story took place while in a coma. Many actual fairy tales are brought up within the book: Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding hood, all with slight twists but they don't help the story line.
Connolly's own characters are good, and I wished he'd stuck to his own imagination. The crooked man, the woodsman, Raphael were all great characters. There were also some scenes (not the ones from other fairy tales) that were vivid and wonderfully enchanting or horrific. He seems a great writer to whom someone said "Make this book a few chapters longer." The ending is partially predictable and super tidy but not bad.
The reader of this book was excellent and kept me interested even when the story was just spending time morphing snow white or Hansel and Gretal.
Mad for Westies
John Connolly's central character in this book is similar to the boy hero/protagonist in his Infernals series -- a young man going through the trials and tribulations of determining who he is and his place in the world. The story tell is rich and at its heart is the triumph of good in a boy's soul over the forces of evil. Terrific narration brings the characters to life, and the ending was very satisfying. Well worth a listen.
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