Written by John Connolly and published by Atria Books, The Book of Lost Things is a dark and fascinating story about one boy’s transition from childhood to the adult world.
Part Alice in Wonderland, part Grimm Fairytales, the story begins in London during World War I. The focus is on a young man named David, who has recently lost his mother and uses the books she bestowed upon him as a coping mechanism.
Quickly the reader comes to understand that David, our protagonist, is not merely slated for an average life, and the books that line his walls are not the same as those that line your’s or mine.
At times dark and sinister, at times rather humorous, the dramatic sense of urgency makes this tale a page-turner. It is the kind of book that forces the imagination to conjure up the descriptive imagery, to develop the characters, the setting, the beasts big and small.
“Be careful in striking a bargain with him and listen closely to his words, for he will say less than he means and conceal more than he reveals.” Throughout the story David encounters different mentors, who teach him a great deal about their magical land that translate rather nicely into our own world.
In order to get to where he needs to be, David must battle more than mystical monsters and beasts, he must war with his internal feelings of jealousy and other prejudices. The story is ultimately about coming to grips with our greatest fears and defeating our most horrid and selfish aspects in order to save those who need us most.
For those who enjoy the Harry Potter series, especially the darker sections, I would recommend this novel. A warning, unlike the Harry Potter series, I would not recommend this book for children.