8 March 2011

The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly

Chosen by 'The Times Books Group', The Book of Lost Things is an absolute page turner. It has action, suspense, intrigue and a dash of dark fairy tales to sink your teeth into.This book is the most interesting read I have had for a little while now. I dare say it may have topped even Joanne Harris's 'Five Quarters of the Orange', which i particularly enjoyed. John Connolly may just be a genius.

Although many of the factors contributing to the book are from commonly known fairy tales such as Rumpelstiltskin and Snow White, there is a distinctly adult air about it. However, I do think that children will be able to read it and enjoy the book in much the same way that I did.

The plot was very well planned, and didn't go where I expected it to in the slightest. it has a little bit of gore, but nothing that could cause a child any nightmares as such. It does remind me of a certain Alice in Wonderland, where she meets several different characters throughout her journey, after losing the previous one.

The story is set in the second world war, but is mainly inside a world very different and yet strangely not so different, to ours. It is first and foremost, about a boys transition into a young man. It deals with themes such as the death of a loved one, jealousy, betrayal and guilt all in a very adult way. This element is very interesting, considering this is meant to be a children's book. I think that children may not be able to fully grasp these themes as adults do, but nevertheless will enjoy reading them.

Fairytale are the stories that I enjoyed most ad a child, and i can see myself reflected in the main character; their love of reading, their inwardness. I think what the author has done here is cleverly made it so we all can see ourselves in the main character, in both children and adults. After all, no-one is exempt from feelings of anger, sadness and jealousy, just as no-one hated fairy tales when they were younger.

I especially like the way that the fairytale have been integrated into the story. Some, for example, red riding hood, are told as stories to the protagonist, whilst others are characters he meets, like Snow White. It is interesting to note that all of these stories have been changed in some way to add to to main plot of the story. Sleeping Beauty has been drastically altered, and yet you still recognise exactly which fairytale the book refers to.

The book is also very helpful. Not only does it have the actual novel, it also includes a question and answer from the author and some very interesting notes on the fairy tales and myths that he chose to use, including the script of the actual stories to read. I don't think it could get any better.

Overall this is an enticing, if dark, story with everything you could ever want to read involved. I can't get over how good this book was, and I therefore think I shall give this one 10/10. A really good read.