Author John Connolly is well known for thrillers such as The Unquiet, but he flows more heavily into fantasy and fairy tales for The Book of Lost Things. Still, these fairy tale characters remind the reader of Grimm creatures and the story itself is dark and chilling.
The main character, David, is a 12-year-old boy whose mother passes away and is left with his father and his books. When Dad marries and has another child, David has a hard time coping, and begins to see his stories leap off his shelves and into his real life. After a series of "attacks", David finds himself in "Elsewhere", a new realm filled with some creatures who befriend him and some who attack him. David must make his way to the King and his Book of Lost Things if he hopes to make it back to his home in 1940's Europe all while dodging The Crooked Man who "will say less than he means and conceal more than he reveals."
The book touches on love, loss, envy, and survival but is largely about the progress of a boy becoming a man. Since the main character is a boy, you cannot help but cheer him through his struggles and at times wince at his reasoning or applaud his brave stands.
One of my favorite things is the importance Connolly gives to books and stories. As an avid reader, I felt drawn to his ideas that books wanted to be read and wanted us to bring them to life. I felt like I could hear the books whispering to me just as they did to David. He has a gift for making you feel what he wants you to feel.
I was not a fan of how slow moving some of the first few chapters were. There was some information given early on that I feel slowed down the reading and actually took away from it instead of adding necessary background information or anything of importance. Also, for the most part the tone of the book is not one that I would generally get in to as I do not prefer sad stories or horror tales and felt this had both. I would not recommend children read this book even though it would seem like it would appeal to them since there are grisly aspects and frankly graphic and twisted content within.
The Book of Lost Things takes you on quite a journey. All readers will come to their own conclusions about certain events and in fact "Elsewhere" itself which I love. I gave this book 3 stars.