The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly
Genre: YA; Fantasy; Bildungsroman
Summary: While mourning the death of his mother, David finds himself transported to a world where fairytales are brought to life. Will David be able to find the thing that’s led him there and get back home, or will he die trying?
Review: This book came highly recommended to me by two different friends whose opinions I value highly. I found The Book of Lost Things to be a highly entertaining, engaging read, and I enjoyed it from start to finish.
One of the biggest strengths of this book was the world building. Connolly imagined a fantastical world for this effort, and the descriptions made it incredibly easy for me to see everything through the characters’ eyes, from the trembling bridge to the thorny castle.
At the heart of this story is, of course, the fairytale component. Instead of giving the fairytales a “happily ever after” feel, the author chose to make them dark and gory, which is how many of the originals actually were. I especially enjoyed the section about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which turned the wilting, jovial princess notion on its head, while also providing apt social commentary. The wolves were also really well done, and when how they came to be was revealed, it made perfect sense.
While grief was something David experienced throughout the book, I liked that it wasn’t the only focus. This could have easily turned into a depressing read really quickly, but the way in which David’s grief was woven into the plot worked really well, and it was very believable. It did, of course, factor into many of David’s decisions, but he was also able to live in the moment.
David himself was a wonderful narrator, and I liked viewing the story through his eyes. He did a ton of growing over the course of the book, and when he finally figured some things out, I wanted to stand up and cheer.
If you like fairytale re-tellings with a dark side, give The Book of Lost Things a try.
Read-alikes: Tender Morsels - Margo Lanagan, Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman