The Book of Lost Things

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The Book of Lost Things

Book of Lost Things, The - Hardcover - USA - 1st Edition.jpg

Hardcover - USA - 1st edition.

Author John Connolly
Published 2006-11-07
Type Fiction
Genre Adventure
Themes Adventure, Urban Fantasy
Age Group Teen

The Book of Lost Things is an urban fantasy novel by John Connolly published on 2006-11-07. It is the first book in the Lost Things series.

The book follows David, a young boy living in London just before the start of World War II. After David loses his mother to cancer, he begins to hear his books talking to him and occasionally blacks out only to awake with distant memories of strange places he's never been to. After his life is turned upside down when his father remarries, World War II begins, and his step-mother conceives a new brother, he suddenly finds himself in the world of his story books, full of all the dangers from old fairy tales, with now way back home, and a Crooked Man willing to make a deal.

Personal

Own?Hardcover - USA - 1st edition.
Read?Hardcover - USA - 1st edition.
Finished2024-01-04.

I don't remember exactly how this book entered my collection. It's been on my shelf for years, and I'd been meaning to get to it for a long time, but I never did. Finally, after finishing most of my other hard-copy novels, and feeling in the mood for another book of fiction, I decided to read this one.

Review

Overall:

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— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • There were multiple instances of Connolly using word play that I liked.
  • The homemade fairy tales handwritten into Jonathan's books were quite dark and a great way to add some creepiness.
  • The Crooked Man is generally an interesting and frightening foe.
  • I like how the Woodsman confronts David about his superstitious routines, not by mocking them, but by encouraging him to seek routines that both give satisfaction and have utility.
  • I like how Roland questions David on the gruesome fates of the villains in fairy tales, and how David admits that, as a child he liked when bad things happened to bad people, but, now that he's older, he doesn't see things as being so black and white, and prefers more fitting punishments.
  • I like that the author has David question if he's actually dead, as this was something I was predicting myself the moment he entered the fairy tale world.

Bad

  • I found the book to have too much exposition. Characters were often unnecessarily spelling out their motives, there are long dialogues in the middle of heated battles, etc. Also, sometimes there would be a monologue for things that didn't happen in the book. For example, David wonders how the king knows so much about him, but the king hadn't yet demonstrated any intimate knowledge.
  • The book can't seem to decide if it's for children or not. It begins serious with heavy themes, but becomes rather juvenile when David meets Communist dwarfs and a lazy Snow White, then it becomes dark again with the child-murdering huntress, but then the ending is childish.
  • The fat-shaming of Snow White wasn't appreciated.
  • The chapter very late in the book where the narrator all of the sudden starts speaking directly to the reader to describe all of the horrors in the Crooked Man's domain doesn't fit with the rest of the book's structure.
  • The ending, where everything is wrapped up in a neat little package and even the Woodsman suddenly reappears to lead David safely home was disappointing.

Ugly

  • Although nothing was seriously bad, and there were times when I was eager to read more, over all, I found the book flawed.

Media

Covers

Representation

Strong female character?FailThere is promise with Rose, and the pragmatic evilness of the huntress comes close, but neither grow in the story. Actually, pretty much every women is a villain, though Rose is eventually seen as good.
Bechdel test?FailI think the girl briefly speaks to the witch, but I don't think either is named.
Strong person of color character?FailAs far as I can recall, everyone is white.
Queer character?PassAlthough it isn't explicitly said, it is strongly inferred that Roland and Raphael are gay lovers.

Links

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