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High in his attic bedroom, twelve year old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost ThingsTaking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives Fable like, but not YA.John Connolly s 2006 revisionist fantasy will draw many comparisons due to it s fable mythical themes Most notably will be a comparison to CS Lewis Narnia books since this is set in England during WWII and our young protagonist finds his way into an alternate world It s alternate fairy tales will also draw comparison to both Gregory Maguire and L Frank Baum The urban fantasy parts made me also think of Charles de Lint s fine work.Because of the youthful hero and the Fable like, but not YA.John Connolly s 2006 revisionist fantasy will draw many comparisons due to it s fable mythical themes Most notably will be a comparison to CS Lewis Narnia books since this is set in England during WWII and our young protagonist finds his way into an alternate world It s alternate fairy tales will also draw comparison to both Gregory Maguire and L Frank Baum The urban fantasy parts made me also think of Charles de Lint s fine work.Because of the youthful hero and the fable like tone, some readers may call it YA, but I would amend to highlight young ADULT This is most definitely NOT a juvenile book because of it s subject matter No doubt, many of Grimm s fairy tales were darker than the colorful musicals that Disney has twisted them into, but Connolly drives on past dark into grisly and sometimes disturbing His creation of the character of The Crooked Man was truly inspired.Because of the subjects of loss, abandonment and adopted relationships, this also made me think of A Monster Calls, though this lacked the emotional tug of that great book Connolly succeeds in creating a psychological examination of a young mind under stress and dealing with some heavy issues while also telling a pretty good fantasy story.Recommended This is kind of a deceptive book It seems like it could be young adult in tone at first but it is NOT young adult It s an adult urban fantasy starring a child Very cool and immersive, and a bit dark Hell, a LOT dark sometimes, haha The lore is very cool, you can tell that the author really loves folklore and all the elements of the world are interesting and believable Worth checking out if you like magical realism and a lot of bite to your fairy tales. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Rumpelstiltskin aka the Crooked Man is one seriously scary and diabolical CREEPSTER Trust me, after reading this book, the above image of a sadistic, powerful, child slaughtering MOFO will forever displace your previous perception of old Rumpy being nothingthan a half pint, mischievous prankster with ethical deficiencies a Disney tale this is not a light, comforting happily ever after children s story this is not However, what this story is.is beautifully written, richly Rumpelstiltskin aka the Crooked Man is one seriously scary and diabolical CREEPSTER Trust me, after reading this book, the above image of a sadistic, powerful, child slaughtering MOFO will forever displace your previous perception of old Rumpy being nothingthan a half pint, mischievous prankster with ethical deficiencies a Disney tale this is not a light, comforting happily ever after children s story this is not However, what this story is.is beautifully written, richly characterized and brilliantly executed Put simply it s wheel barrow full of WONDERFUL My feelings for this book surprised me after my intensely passionate, torrid love affair with The Child Thief I sort of felt bad for this book as I really thought it had no shot of being anythingthan a diversionary get my head back together rebound novel I certainly didn t imagine it had any chance of sweeping me up off my feet and carrying me way into its narrative but it did The story made me love it despite myself PLOT SUMMARY Set in England at the outbreak of WWII, young David loves books and stories We meet David as he is watches his mother slowly die from illness When she finally succumbs to death, David is devastated I told you book this wasn t a bright box of sunshine Eventually, David s dad gets remarried to a woman named Rose and the three of them move to Rose s country home where David s half brother, Georgie, is soon born David is given the room of Rose s uncle, Jonathan Tulvey, who shared David s love of books and stories Jonathan vanished as a young boy and has never been seen since The books in Jonathan s room are old and full of ancient stories and many contain odd notes written by Jonathan While Rose is nice and tries to form a bond with David, he finds himself increasingly angry at her and his new half brother He spendsandtime among the old books which begin to whisper to him and David starts to witness strange occurrences, including the appearance of a crooked man watching him Eventually David finds himself in another world where dark, grim versions of classic fairy tale characters exist but are nothing like the way they are normally portrayed The depictions of these characters are outstanding and it often takes a while to identify who they are because they are so stripped of the normal fluffy accoutrements While, most of the tone is serious and even bleak, there are some great moments of comedy For example, in one of my favorite scenes, David encounters the Seven Dwarfs who turn out to be communist revolutionaries and political activists straight out of Monty Python s Holy Grail Their relationship with Snow White is anything but pleasant However, it is very, very funny David soon discovers that he must make it to the King of this new world who might have the power to send him back home However, David s journey is dark and perilous and he is constantly hunted by the crooked man who has his own need of David THOUGHTS The beginning of the story takes its time to develop, but this leisurely pace didn t bother because Connolly does an amazing job with it He keeps us engaged as he introduces us to the characters and slowly allows the fantasy elements to creep and and crawl and bleed into the narrative This makes the transition from our world into the fantasy world feel authentic and seamless In addition, the early events of the story turn out to be critical to the central plot and final resolution of the story and so form important threads in the overall tapestry As alluded to above, I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel given how emotionally spent I was after reading The Child Thief It s a credit to how marvelous a job Connolly did with this work that he was able to hold me enthralled to the narrative throughout The characters are well drawn, with details and shadings to their personalities that make them come alive I bonded with David very early on making the dangers that he faced all thegripping Finally, the plot itself was compelling and page turningly addictive and Connolly s prose and descriptive talents were both excellent Overall, a sensational book that over came great odds to pleasantly surprise me If you get the chance to pick this book uptake it 4.5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Part fairy tale and part psychological study, I found this to be an engrossing and powerful book Recommend to everybody, particularly those who have used reading and books to get themselves through difficult times, especially in childhood.I don t look at this book the way some readers apparently have as sci fi or fantasy, but instead see it as showing the redemptive power of books and stories in children s and adults lives And as an account of one boy s inner life and imagination.I m not sur Part fairy tale and part psychological study, I found this to be an engrossing and powerful book Recommend to everybody, particularly those who have used reading and books to get themselves through difficult times, especially in childhood.I don t look at this book the way some readers apparently have as sci fi or fantasy, but instead see it as showing the redemptive power of books and stories in children s and adults lives And as an account of one boy s inner life and imagination.I m not sure which way the author intended it, but it s a wonderful coming of age story