September 24, 2009

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly: Review

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Young David's life is turned upside down when his mother dies. She instilled a love of reading in David. Near the end of her life, it was all they had together. Just a year later, his dad remarries and a baby is on the way. When they move into a big old house, David takes his mother's books with with him. David doesn't tell anyone that the books speak to him.

When his brother is born and his dad spends more time at work, the tension at home builds. He resents his new stepmother and half-brother. The books get louder in their new home and then the Crooked Man appears. One night David crosses over from the real world into the world of the books. It's a fairy tale world full of terrifying creatures. To get home David must find the Old King and the mysterious Book of Lost Things, although the Crooked Man offers him an alternative.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly is a fairy tale for grown ups. Yes, I'd say for grown ups. There are some adult themes and violent scenes. Connolly's fairy tale world is imaginative and horrifying. I listened to this book on CD as I went about my day. I found it hard to put it aside.

Some of the tales within the story are frightening, some are quite funny. Most of them are recognizable although they have been reinvented and twisted to fit into David's strange world. He meets either helpful characters or evil characters- usually the bad ones were women, why is this? I wondered at the inclusion of some the the stories. I didn't think they were necessary to the plot.

David isn't always likable. He acts sulky and sometimes I had to remind myself that his mom did just die. The whole family is having a hard time. Baby Georgie cries all the time, stepmom Rose seems to be suffering from PPD and David's dad is trying his best but WW2 is upon them. I felt sympathy for all of them. By the end of the story, I saw that this is a book about growing up as well as a fairy tale. I was near tears at the end.

The Book of Lost Things is atmospheric, creepy and magical. Definitely a great read for a crisp autumn night.

***About the Audiobook*** Steven Crossley narrates the story. For the most part, I enjoyed his performance but found the female characters' voices grating. They were a little Monty Pythonish. The book is Unabridged: 10 CDs in all (11 hours).

Recommended

16 comments :

  1. "The Book of Lost Things is atmospheric, creepy and magical. Definitely a great read for a crisp autumn night."

    I totally agree. I really enjoyed this one. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the audio version; I may have to check that out sometime!

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  2. This was one of those books that I should have loved - all of the elements that I normally like in a book were there - but I just couldn't get into for absolutely no reason I could explain. Bad luck for me, but I'm glad you had a better time with it!

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  3. This one is definitely going on my list. I have seen it so many times and for some reason never picked it up.
    It sounds like a great and fitting read for October.

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  4. Not sure if I'll get a chance to read this, but I'll definitely keep it in mind. Thanks for the review.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  5. I'm pretty sure this is hiding on my bookshelf...I should've added it to my RIP reading pool!

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  6. I loved this book, and I cried at the end too!

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  7. I loved Connolly's Nocturnes and after reading this review, I'll have to check this out too. Have you read Nocturnes?

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  8. I think my sister would love this book! Thanks for the review.

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  9. I've had this on my TBR pile forever - I really need to get to it!

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  10. Heather- I really did enjoy listening to it.

    Fyrefly- Sometimes that happens. Maybe the next time if you pick it up again, you'll enjoy it more.

    Lilly- Very fallish book!

    Anna- Thanks!

    Softdrink- Perfect for the RIP Challenge.

    Nymeth- It was a nice ending.

    Trisha- This was my first Connolly. I'll have to look for that one.

    Kathy- Hope she likes it!

    Carrie- Yes, the TBR pile. It never gets any smaller does it.

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  11. What an awesome book! I read it last year and absolutely fell in love with it. My favorite characters had to be the communist gnomes, though. :P

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  12. I have started this book a couple times and still haven't made any real progress! Must remedy that soon!

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  13. I liked this one too. Even though it dragged just a little bit in the middle I still recommended it to several friends. Definately a fall read :)

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  14. This is already on my wish list. Thanks for reminding me why!

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  15. I just got this book, and your review may have bumped it up on my TBR pile!

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  16. atmospheric, creepy, and magical? Sounds good!

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