Author: John Connolly | Genre: Young Adult Fiction | Pages: 355
‘The Book of Lost Things’ by author John Connolly is about a young boy David. He is grieving his mother’s loss. He loathes his step-mother and equally detests his infant step-brother. He blames his father for bringing these changes all too soon in his life that he is having a hard time adjusting to. But all may not be lost for David for he has his books that whisper to him in his lonely times.
While David struggles to make a place for himself in his new family and to adjust with the new additions in his life – step-mother Rose and half-brother Georgie – parallelly, he starts to sense that things are weird in and around his new house; Rose’s childhood home. In the backdrop, is the impending war in England, that soon fades away with the rush of adventure David is to experience.
Then one night David tumbles into an alien world where soon he is trapped amidst dwarfs, wolves, sorceresses, witches, hunters, and other sinister beings and his only hope for a desperate escape is a king of the curious land who has the ‘Book of Lost Things’.
This is bildungsroman of sorts where the protagonist, David, grows through his years of childhood to embrace adulthood with a track-record of experiences and queer victories, one can hardly think of. David is sweet, too mature for his age, grieving his mother’s demise, and hoping for the love that his father places upon Rose; his step-mother. Your heart goes out to him for his miseries and you can’t help but fall in love with him.
Talking of his adventurous journey which is akin to that of Harry Potter’s where he alone has to right all the wrong in the new world, more than once, it gives the reader a vague impression of flitting between the tales. He has a Woodsman to rescue him at one point and a squire to pull him out of death’s mouth, in another.
This book is fantasy in a pseudo fairy-tale world. You will meet all your favorites here right from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Goldilocks to Red riding Hood to Hansel and Gretel, mentioned with queer yet interesting twists, imparting a new distinguished feel to our beloved childhood stories. The descriptions of the places are quite engrossing too.
That said, there are times, when the story drags you tirelessly through a heap of lengthy spills that makes the plot feel dull. Add to it, the part where David finally meets the King and when he finally sets hands on the ‘Book of Lost Things’, there is but one obligation David has to fulfil to get out of that place. That whole part felt force-fit, and also the fact that where and how the book gets its name remains obscured. But by now, you are intrigued enough to see if David ever makes to home, back in his own world, and the end will startle you, dear reader.
Now while I never expected to love this book, I did quite like it for David is one smart and clever boy who risks his life to keep his new family safe. That got my heart.
It is a children’s book that will keep kids of all age well-entertained. Adults too will find it mildly interesting.
©The Musing Quill