Author: John Connolly
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
"...people will still fight one another and hurt one another and maim one another and betray one another, because that is what they have always done."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 Things.
This is an absolute gem of a book. The story centres around David, a troubled twelve year old who lives in 1939 London and one day he is beckoned by the voice of his dead mother through a crumbling brick wall in a sunken garden. He ends up trapped in a very strange world where horror and fantasy blend together with grotesque results. The Book of Lost Things reminded me of Coraline and the 1986 film, Labyrinth. There is a lot of gore and violence and there is a very creepy vibe to the whole story.
Familiar fairytales such as Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White among others are retold, given a dark twist and are woven into the story seamlessly. Despite the main character being twelve this is by no means a book for children, I found it to be quite terrifying at points and was quite shocked at some of the unexpected content.
The plot moves forward at breakneck speed and I could not stop reading. David is put through a lot of adventure navigating this dark fantasy world and his desire to find his mother and return home drives him forward. Nothing is ever what it seems and there are monsters at every turn. The ending was very haunting and I was left feeling quite emotional as the story came full circle. A beautiful book and I would highly recommend.