Title: The Book of Lost Things
Author: John Connolly
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling
Rating: 4 Star
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I really enjoyed this book. It was a dark retelling of stories children have been hearing all their lives and the end result was just magical. This will be a spoiler filled review.
In this book we are lead through the life of the young David whose mother sadly dies and his father finds a new girlfriend Rose and together they have another baby boy and they move into Rose’s big house. None of these things really what David wanted out of life and he struggles and is made angry with the changes and hatred starts to fill his heart.
But things in this house are not all what they seem. The books whisper to him and contain the name of a boy from Rose’s family that disappeared with his younger sister years before. There is also a crooked man with a crooked hat who sneaks into David’s room and stares at his baby brother, and from a section of the garden he can hear his dead mother beckoning to him, urging him to save her.
David follows his mothers voice, squeezing himself through the cracks in the stone fence and out the other side of a whole in a tree into another land. This land throws him many many challenges and trials as he makes his way through old stories that are not quite the way he remembers them. He looses friends, questions whether or not he is alive, all to find the king who holds The Book of Lost Things to find the answers on getting back home, and to see if his mother is actually alive.
At the end of his journey he finds the King is none other than the boy whose name is written inside David’s books, The Book of Lost Things nothing but his childhood book of how he came to be here. His heart was also filled with hate because of the change that a new sister brought into his life, and the Crooked Man came and offered him the chance to be king if he sacrificed the life of his little sister, an offer he agreed too. For years the Crooked Man has been living by the hatred of children and the spirit of the innocents that were sacrificed.
David gets offered the same deal, but upon reflection of his family and all that he has learned on his journey, he declines and The Crooked Man dies because of the lack of new sacrifice, but not before he could curse David. David travels back to the tree and climbs through desperate to be back with his family.
He wakes up in a hospital bed with Rose by his side. Was it all a dream, or was it all real?
As the years go by, the curse that bad things will happen to his loved ones that the Crooked Man placed upon him comes true. Rose and his father split up, his younger brother is killed at war, and his wife and child die in childbirth. When Rose dies David moves back into the home and seals up the cracks in the stone fence so that no other children can wonder on through, and writes a book of his journeys and entertains many children with his tales.
I loved this book because while the story isn’t very happy at all, you can almost feel peaceful with the outcome by the end. The dark underlay and the theme of not hating change and letting go of things you cannot change was really something wonderful. This will be a book that I read to my children when I have them. I highly recommend that people at least try this book, you may just find something within its pages.
Till Next Time…