Book Reviews of The Book of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things
The Book of Lost Things
Author: John Connolly
ISBN-13: 9780743298858
ISBN-10: 0743298853
Publication Date: 11/7/2006
Pages: 352
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 73

3.8 stars, based on 73 ratings
Publisher: Atria
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

37 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 59 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Connolly draws on familiar fairy tales to tell the story of a boy who travels to a far-off land to work through his grief and anger over his mother's death. As he fights for survival among strange creatures and evil beings, he also makes the journey from childhood to adulthood. The book reminded me of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," partly because it was set in the same era (World War II) and the same settings (a mysterious country house, a sinister fantasy land), and partly because the themes were similar: learning to cherish and understand the people who love you, learning to deal with death, learning how to become an adult. I enjoyed the story, but was never completely gripped by it.

The book has an extensive section at the end with an interview with the author, and then the author's analysis of the fairy tales and archetypes he drew on in writing the book. This adds a lot to the reading experience.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 2249 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I picked up this book quite a while ago and am just now getting to reading it. The book starts out a bit dry but ends up as a wonderful classic retelling of some of my favorite fairytales.

As so many of these books about children wandering into unknown lands start; this book starts with David who is in a bit of a slump. With his mother dead, his dad re-married, a new baby brother, and England at war; David is depressed and hateful of his position in the world. That is until the books start talking to him and he starts having fits of unconsciousness. In these fits he finds himself in a different world of castles and kings. After fleeing a warplane crashing into his house, David finds himself in the other world for good this time; and it is a darker place than the darkest of his fears.

David's tale is cleverly told as he weaves his way in and out of the classic fairytales we all know and love. Except that in this book, the darkness and goriness of the fairy tales David encounters make the Brothers' Grimm look positively sunny. The book is well-written and told at a deliberate pace; the writing style stays true to a classic fairy-tale style of writing. I love fairy tale retellings and re-imaginings and this book was an excellent and beautifully crafted fairy tale. As with all fairy tales the book teaches a lesson that both makes the reader hope and despair. The characters are colorful and twisted versions of the fairy tale characters we know and love. The enemies pull at your deepest, darkest fears.

As for this being a childrens' book. That, it is not. I found this book to be delightfully creepy but I can't imagine what kind of nightmares some of the gorier scenes would give a child. I could definitely see this being a good young adult horror book. It teaches a good lesson and is a delight to read. I loved it and couldn't put it down. Now I can't bear to part with the book and know I will read it again some time in the future. As soon as I finished it I started looking up other books that John Connolly has written; hopefully he will write some additional novels that fall into the dark fantasy category because he did a great job with this one.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 37 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Truly one of the most imaginative books I've ever read. Its like riding a roller coaster with your eyes closed. You have no idea where you're going but its one heck of a ride. It reads almost like a children's fairy tale with some adult themes and a very dark side. Well worth the read.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Revels in the darker side of the fairytale genre. If you like the reality Grimm reality behind the fairytales we all grew up with, you will enjoy this book.
This is a strong morality tale with out becoming preachy or overbearing - good guys win, bud guys loose, and sometimes heros die for what they believe in.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Not sure how to classify this book, I guess dark fantasy/fairy tale would suit it best. While the protagonist is a 12-year-old boy, the book itself is a bit gruesome to be considered children's fiction. Perhaps for mature YA it would be okay. There are quite a few gory, bloody scenes and a lot of unhappy endings to the stories within stories--bit like Hans Christian Andersen meets Quentin Tarantino.

David, a young boy who lives in London during WWII, loved his mother very much and watched her die a slow and painful death from what sounds like cancer. When his father remarries a short time later and they relocate to his new wife's home, a large rambling house on the edge of the city, David seeks solace in his second love--books. His small bedroom on the top floor of the house is full of books; some are David's and some old, leather-bound volumes that once belonged to an ancestor of his stepmother. Soon David becomes lost in his world of books and even hears the books whispering to him, has blackouts where he cannot remember being gone. Once medical reasons are ruled out, David's father has him see a psychiatrist and things begin falling apart from there. Very intriguing tale of adventure, but also of life, love and loss. Although the ending to me was a bit of a sappy cop-out, when looked at from another perspective, I guess it works. The story itself though makes it totally worth it.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 1756 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I felt the book started out a little slow and even though the blurb made it sound like it was a fantasy novel, I was a little worried it was going to be like the movie "A Beautiful Mind" where it just wasn't real. Especially since the lead character had an OCD problem in the beginning of the story.

This was definitely NOT a book for younger children as it has elements of gore, sexuality and violence. (Teens could probably handle it just fine, though.) However, it was all quite fitting for the story, which had a number of variations of old fairy-tale classics and lots of interesting characters I'm sure you'll recognize.

Overall, it was a wonderful book that I couldn't put down. I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 636 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was the first John Connolly book I read, and I absolutely adored it. It was magical and brings back elements of childhood that strike a universal chord. The twisting of fairy tales brought an edge of humour to what could have been an otherwise depressing book. I started off the New Year reading this book, and I thought it was a great way to usher in a new year, with a great new book. It rapidly joined the ranks of my very favourite books. I'm quite excited to read his other work!
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 120 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
LOVED this book. This really does read like a fairy tale for children and adults. Also, this is one of the saddest books I've read in a while; to clarify (maybe?) I would compare this to The Chronicles of Narnia in terms of the "end of innocence" tone. But don't worry, there's plenty to smile about in this book because this book is also remniscent of the "politically incorrect bedtime stories". Another nice bonus for fact-loving fans are the appendices which describe the history of some of our most beloved fairy tales.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the fantasy aspect and the message that the story conveyed about fear, relationships and living life to its fullest. Very well written.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 204 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I would call this book a fairy tale for grown ups. The concept is an "Alice Through the Looking Glass" type story with a male slant. David passes through a passage in the old family sunken garden wall and ends up in another world. The characters are much like characters he has heard of in old fairy tales, stories of castles, etc. but the outcome of each fairy tale is like a bad dream that just kind of warps into another bad dream. The characters are very interesting and the book is definitely a page turner.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a stellar book. It read well, and the plot was a very interesting concept. I loved there-telling of old fairy-tales, that was one of the best parts for me. Everything in it was just steeped in fairy-tale elements with a little twist. The characters in the book were also very well developed. I could really relate to the main character (although I am not, and have never been a twelve year old boy). Reading The Book of Lost Things was just a treat.

Something to note, however: This book is very, very dark. If dark stories disturb you, you might not want to read it. Also, it's definitely not a book for kids. At all. There is a lot of violence and sexual suggestions, and just disturbing stuff. I'm usually not bothered by darker tales, but some of the things in the book were unsettling for me. However, it didn't detract from how much I loved the book. I think if I had expected it going in I would have been better prepared mentally.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 1756 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I felt the book started out a little slow and even though the blurb made it sound like it was a fantasy novel, I was a little worried it was going to be like the movie "A Beautiful Mind" where it just wasn't real. Especially since the lead character had an OCD problem in the beginning of the story.

This was definitely NOT a book for younger children as it has elements of gore, sexuality and violence. (Teens could probably handle it just fine, though.) However, it was all quite fitting for the story, which had a number of variations of old fairy-tale classics and lots of interesting characters I'm sure you'll recognize.

Overall, it was a wonderful book that I couldn't put down. I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. I liked how Connolly uses the dark versions of fairy tales to populate the world, yet there are also good friends for David to rely on. I also enjoyed how the character grew throughout the book, from a kid that needed protecting to a young man who was able to protect himself and others. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys dark fantasy or Grimm's version of fairy tales.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 291 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I absolutely loved this book! It's about a boy who loses his mother too soon and a whole series of adventures that he goes through in order to try to bring her back from the dead. It reads almost like a fairy tale, and includes elements of more mainstream children's tales including: The Wizard of Oz, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and so many others. I loved this book!
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 1756 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I felt the book started out a little slow and even though the blurb made it sound like it was a fantasy novel, I was a little worried it was going to be like the movie "A Beautiful Mind" where it just wasn't real. Especially since the lead character had an OCD problem in the beginning of the story.

This was definitely NOT a book for younger children as it has elements of gore, sexuality and violence. (Teens could probably handle it just fine, though.) However, it was all quite fitting for the story, which had a number of variations of old fairy-tale classics and lots of interesting characters I'm sure you'll recognize.

Overall, it was a wonderful book that I couldn't put down. I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really loved this story. I thought the adaptations of a whole collection of fairy tales worked wonderfully, and the story never lost its magic. It was like a darker Alice and Wonderland for me, but the essence of the story was a coming of age tale. I had studied fairy tales in college, so i was particularly fascinated with what the author did with them, and the additional material (including an explanation of the fairy tales, how the author was inspired by them, and the original tales themselves) in the back was right on. To skip over these would be a mistake, since they really enhanced the story. I think what impressed me most was that the author clearly took his time researching the history of fairy tales and carefully and respectfully wove them together. He knew what he was doing, and was not trying to fake his way through something. I guarantee, though, that the Snow White you meet in this one is unlike any you've ever encountered before!! There is a great deal of humor as well. At any rate, my overall opinion is that the story comes with an authority that was a real pleasure to read.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 291 more book reviews
This is my first John Connolly book and it surely won't be my last. What a gripping read! It starts off with a boy named David who is very happy and content with his life. He especially loves his mom. His mom gets ill and he tries hard, in his own way, to keep her alive. Unfortunately she doesn't make it. Eventually his dad remarries and he and his new wife have a son. David is very jealous of his brother. This is just the beginning. David ends up in a different world. A kind of "fairy tale" type world where things can be quite dark and scary. He goes through many trials and meets new people and in the end learns a big lesson. I highly recommend this book. May be a little dark and scary for younger readers.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 5 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It's about a troubled 12 year old boy in WW II Britain who escapes to a fairy tale land where the fairy tales are a little different than normal. In his short time there he does a lot of growing up by facing his biggest fears.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 22 more book reviews
This book was strange, yet I could not put it down. It is one of the few books I read lately that actually blocked the rest of the world out while I was reading. The author takes time-honored stories and twists them around to make a new story. This books screams from imagination filled with fantasy and horror. As with any 12-year-old boy, the main character gets to be the hero. This book is not to be taken lightly and is definitely not for children. This "fairy tale" is written in Grimms' traditional mode of horrifying graphics and not-so-sweet endings. This is different from any other fictional work I have read lately and was a nice change of pace.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 366 more book reviews
I gave this book a good try; I listened to four discs out of ten, but I could not like it enough to keep going after that. Partly this was because I didn't enjoy the narrator, Steven Crossley, all that much. Liking a reader's voice may just be a matter of taste, though, other listeners may be quite satisfied. For me the bigger problem with the novel is that the protagonist, David, is not especially compelling. We are given a lot of background on his loss (his mother) and his family changes, but yet I couldn't find all that much to really like about him....but maybe it is just me. After all, the book is written for readers David's age, around twelve, and I'm in my forties.... Publishers Weekly says, "Connolly echoes many great fairy tales and legends, but cleverly twists them to his own purposes."
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 5 more book reviews
OEN OF THE SCARIEST BOOKS I HAVE READ...BUT EVEN THOUGH I WAS SCARED I COULD NOT PUT THE BOOK DOWN. DEFFINATELY A PAGE TURNER.
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Loved it.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 6 more book reviews
One of the only books to make me cry in a good way. Surprisingly emotional, laughing, crying, gasping, it had a little bit of everything. Its great if you love stories about people who's imagination becomes reality.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 26 more book reviews
While this book was readable, I didn't find it worth all the hype. It's a pretty dark story.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 9 more book reviews
This was a wonderful tale. If you have ever been so immursed in a book that you felt as if you had traveled to another place then you will appreciate this story. It is part altered fairy tale, part adventure. If you are a person who loves books and reading this will speak volumes to you.
A young boy travels to another reality thru the forrest outside the house. There he encounters many characters we thought we knew from the stories we all heard growing up.... but each has a unique twist as it plays a part in the whole. All I can tell you is this was one of those books that once you finish it you are sad it is over. And then you go back and read it again!!!!
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 202 more book reviews
What a lovely, lovely story! It's an amazing coming of age story with some fantastic twists on some old tales. Highly recommended!
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 158 more book reviews
"Stories want to be read. They need it."

Thus begins The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, a dark and twisted tale that takes readers into a land full of familiar, time-tested stories and beloved literary characters -- and then quickly reveals that, contrary to popular belief, there are no happy endings here.

The story is told through the eyes of 12-year-old David, who has lost his mother and is dealing with tumultous changes at all levels of his life. He lives in the war-torn England of WWII, his mother has recently died after a long illness, and his father has remarried a younger woman and had a new infant son. David finds comfort in the shelves of old, dusty books he finds in his new stepmother's home. He's always loved stories, and these are particularly intriguing. In fact, it almost seems as though David can hear the books whispering to him....

In The Book of Lost Things, David is mysteriously sucked into this land of literature, where many well-known fairy tale figures are waiting to greet him -- some less pleasant than others. Throughout his journey to find the Book of Lost Things -- a mysterious tome owned by The King, and supposedly the ticket to David's return trip back to his own world -- he encounters everyone from Snow White to Sleeping Beauty. But this is not a fairy tale homage for children. Everything is given a darker taint through Connolly's pen. For example, Red Riding Hood was actually in love with the wolf, and pursued him into the woods out of sexual desire. In fact, all of the werewolves and other wolf-man beasts of literature are apparently the result of their union. Snow White is a grotesque and crass shrew that berates the dwarves -- who tried to blame her failed poisoning on the evil queen, and are constantly looking for a prince to come take her off their hands. The dwarves themselves are communist labor supporters trying to rise up against their sizist oppression. You get the drift. Many funny things here, but none of them appropriate for younger readers.

The "bad guys" in this book are especially loathsome, including the aforementioned wolves -- who want to overthrow the kingdom and rule themselves -- and the main antagonist, The Crooked Man, who has stolen children and used them for his own horrible devices since the beginning of time. He alone holds the key to David's return home, and to defeat him, the little boy must become a man.

I enjoyed this book, but it also had a lot of problems. First and foremost is the painfully slow beginning. The first five or six chapters drag on endlessly -- I actually almost abandoned the book because it couldn't hold my attention. However, the action picks up quickly once David makes his journey into the new world. From there, the chapters and stories move along quickly. The book's structure reminded me a lot of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- although there was a primary journey for the main character, it was broken up into small interludes where new characters and stories were introduced. It was very easy to read in small doses, and very easy to pick up again. However, I have to say I never felt like I HAD to be reading it. It was an inventive story that I appreciated, but not a "must read."

Overall, I think anyone that enjoys fairy tales and can appreciate that tender time between childhood and adulthood would enjoy this story. Not quite as brilliant as Christopher Golden's forrays into the land of myth and literary legend, but definitely worth a read.
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A little more fantasy than I expected, but not terrible- a quick read.
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I thought this was a really good book. I was unsure of what to expect from it when I got it, but it was great. I haven't read a book like this in a long time!
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 1756 more book reviews
I felt the book started out a little slow and even though the blurb made it sound like it was a fantasy novel, I was a little worried it was going to be like the movie "A Beautiful Mind" where it just wasn't real. Especially since the lead character had an OCD problem in the beginning of the story.

This was definitely NOT a book for younger children as it has elements of gore, sexuality and violence. (Teens could probably handle it just fine, though.) However, it was all quite fitting for the story, which had a number of variations of old fairy-tale classics and lots of interesting characters I'm sure you'll recognize.

Overall, it was a wonderful book that I couldn't put down. I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 1756 more book reviews
I felt the book started out a little slow and even though the blurb made it sound like it was a fantasy novel, I was a little worried it was going to be like the movie "A Beautiful Mind" where it just wasn't real. Especially since the lead character had an OCD problem in the beginning of the story.

This was definitely NOT a book for younger children as it has elements of gore, sexuality and violence. (Teens could probably handle it just fine, though.) However, it was all quite fitting for the story, which had a number of variations of old fairy-tale classics and lots of interesting characters I'm sure you'll recognize.

Overall, it was a wonderful book that I couldn't put down. I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 404 more book reviews
This was a great book about love and loss and facing one's fears. I liked the way David's wishes and fears influenced the kingdom as well as the interesting twists on the familiar fairy tales, myths and nursery stories. I especially liked the extensive section after the main story in which the author describes the origins of these stories, recommends some variations by other authors and then provides the original story.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 1756 more book reviews
I felt the book started out a little slow and even though the blurb made it sound like it was a fantasy novel, I was a little worried it was going to be like the movie "A Beautiful Mind" where it just wasn't real. Especially since the lead character had an OCD problem in the beginning of the story.

This was definitely NOT a book for younger children as it has elements of gore, sexuality and violence. (Teens could probably handle it just fine, though.) However, it was all quite fitting for the story, which had a number of variations of old fairy-tale classics and lots of interesting characters I'm sure you'll recognize.

Overall, it was a wonderful book that I couldn't put down. I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 1756 more book reviews
I felt the book started out a little slow and even though the blurb made it sound like it was a fantasy novel, I was a little worried it was going to be like the movie "A Beautiful Mind" where it just wasn't real. Especially since the lead character had an OCD problem in the beginning of the story.

This was definitely NOT a book for younger children as it has elements of gore, sexuality and violence. (Teens could probably handle it just fine, though.) However, it was all quite fitting for the story, which had a number of variations of old fairy-tale classics and lots of interesting characters I'm sure you'll recognize.

Overall, it was a wonderful book that I couldn't put down. I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.
reviewed The Book of Lost Things on + 36 more book reviews
When reading this book I kept wondering how someone comes up with such ideas, the author must have a very vivid imagination. It would be a great book for boys because it would hold their attention.
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A sort of coming-of-age fairytale. I expected to like it more than I actually did.
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This was a very gory book.