REVIEW: The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly

When it comes to British humor and fantasy, you can’t get a better mix then this novel by John Connolly.  In The Book of Lost Things Connolly details the story of a young boy, named David, who’s mother dies.  Not long after his mother dies, his father remarries a woman named Rose and together, they bring about David’s half brother Georgie.  David is jealous of the new baby and escapes into the world of literature.  It is during this time, that David starts to hear his mother calling to him to save her and in the pursuit of her, he discovers a passageway in the garden that leads to a world of fairytale and myth.  In the hopes of getting home, David is told he must trek across the foreign land to find the king, and his magical “book of lost things.” So David sets out, in the hopes of rescuing his  mother and reuniting the family that was destroyed by Rose and Georgie’s arrival,  with the help of The Woodsman and a knight as he is pursued by The Crooked Man who wishes to make a bargain with David.  Though at first David is hopeful that The Crooked Man can send him home,  he soon becomes suspicious of his actions and begins to question the way that this mystical land is run.

When it comes to my views, on this book, I am not sure where to begin.  While it does go along with the classic coming of age” themes it has a certain tone of danger that makes it more inclined for adults then children.   Connolly expertly translates the fairy tales known throughout the ages in with David’s story and puts his principle character into impossible scraps that his imaginative mind finds a way out of.   While at times I felt dumber then dirt reading about how David expertly solved the trolls riddle, or managed to trick the woman in the cottage, I found the entire experience an extremely enjoyable story.

What really grabbed me about the book, is the way the Connolly so clearly captures David’s contempt for his brother.  In David’s disdain for his half brother, Connolly clearly captures a clear them in many sibling relationships and uses it as the basis as his morality tale. The subject matter at the beginning of the book, when he introduces Rose and Georgie, is raw and emotional and as David progresses through the book, I could see a very subtle transformation in David’s thinking as Connolly turns the deadly sin of envy on its head and makes it a morality tale for children.

Though this book is not my favorite, I have to say I enjoyed it much more then my previous read The Magicians. While David does not have magical powers, the plot and adventure of this parallel word seemed much more present and the lessoned learned by David to much more real and thought out.  The ending of this book however, was the best aspect of the story.  It couldn’t have ended on a more perfect note, and for that reason I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mix of fantasy, with a strong coming of age tale,  and a nice sprinkling of tears.

Final Grade: B+


14 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly

  1. oh! we just read this for the June LitSnit Book Club. I also liked it but i didn’t love it. I don’t even really know why, i was certainly engrossed by the story. I think that some of the twist Connolly spun into those tales were genius! My favorite one was Snow White’s take on communism. I laughed while reading that one…and secretly hope that he decides to write a short novella spin-off with that as its basis. Wishful thinking, i know!

    1. I agree I thought the way that he spun that particular fairytale was genius. He just managed to completely turn the fair and sweet girl on her head and make her into a monster that the dwarfs had to deceive so she wouldn’t steal from them. I would love it if he would write something longer with that premise as well.

  2. This book is in my “to read” list, but I haven’t gotten around to it. Will definetely read it next (I’m now reading Good Omens by Prachett and Gaiman).

    I also recently read The Magicians and didn’t like it very much. I finished it, but, the book kind of left a bad taste in my mouth…

      1. I didn’t. I saw it in passing at the bookstore but I’ll have to take a look at it. There are so many books out there that if someone doesn’t recommend it I tend to pass things by unless I have hours to spend in the bookstore.

  3. I wrote a sort of a review for it on my blog if you’re interested, but I didn’t say much about it. It’s just an amazing book, which I would recommend to anyone who loves a good story. It’s very unique…

    1. I will be sure to let you know. If I don’t pick it up today, it’s on my Amazon list so it will definitely be on the “to be bought/borrowed soon list.”

      Do you happen to have a twitter? If you do, you can follow me because I announce on there whenever I put up a blog post, there’s also the subscription bar on the side.

    1. Thank you! I look forward to corresponding with you on my other reviews. I just got back from a trip to Borders and three new books that look like awesome reads and now I am on seeing if I can score deals on some others.

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