Monday, 3 October 2016

The Delightful Creepiness of "The Book Of Lost Things" by John Connolly

Goodreads Page
Paperback, 502 pages
Published 2007 by Hodder and Stoughton (first published November 2006)
YA Fantasy/Horror
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.

Thoughts:

This book was not what I was expecting. Not at all. 

Coming into it, I was expecting a fairy-tale like story about a young boy going off to save the fantasy land. I was expecting something like The Neverending Story. What did I get instead? A bastardised version of Grimm's Fairy Tales with twenty times the blood, guts and horror. And it was so good.

Books about books tends to be a well-loved genre in the bookish community, and this one does it well. Your favourite childhood fairy-tales are brought to life (as freaky monstrous versions of themselves), and having a main character with a love of books is always a plus, in my opinion.

The books themselves actually do come alive in this story, with hilarious consequences. David hears them talking to each other, and what could be better than a bunch of old medical texts calling a psychiatrist an idiot?

This book touches on some very heavy topics from the perspective of a twelve year old boy who doesn't exactly understand how heavy they are. Things like death, grief, war, child rape, family problems and sibling jealousy.

I also didn't realise how apt the choice was to read this book coming into October; it is scary. Not scary like jump-scare horror movies, but scary like when you watch something so disturbing you feel your skin crawl and wonder whether you should check under the bed.

The Crooked Man is a horrifying character, but there are plenty of others who could come close to taking his place, like a Huntress with a knack for making Frankenstein-like creatures, and werewolves that are just plain shiver-inducing.

I think the only thing that brought this novel down a little was that the plot twists were predictable, (but that could just be because I'm good at guessing those sort of things), and that the book itself did not completely 'wow' me. It came close, though. And that there were pretty much no important female characters. 

Although, I think the biggest shock I got reading this book was realising that the last 200 pages were actually just notes. I got to what was obviously the end of the novel and kept looking at the chunk that was left in apprehension. So if you end up with the same edition as mine, do watch out for that.

Things to look out for:

  • A main character with OCD
  • Gay knights!!!
  • Hilarious communist dwarves
  • Seriously creepy EVERYTHING
  • Predictable plot twists
  • No important female characters

If I could summarise my thoughts on this book in a GIF:



Star Rating:


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