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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars everything the brothers grimm film wasn't
Once again this author has hit the mark of great story telling. This is a story of a young boy(David) who loses his mother and has to adjust to life without her. His father eventually re-marries and they are soon joined by a new half brother. David, feeling left out retreats into a world of books and stories.

When they all move into his stepmothers house,...
Published on 15 Sep 2006 by peacekeeper

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book of pretty good
I bought this on a whim when i was desperate to read something and the cover and blurb sold me. It does have a stunning cover, kudos due to the designers.

I was pretty happy with my impulse purchase. Though not bitingly original, skewed versions of fairy tales have long been a staple of student writing and drama, this was a well written enjoyable read...
Published on 8 Aug 2008 by Grr


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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars everything the brothers grimm film wasn't, 15 Sep 2006
Once again this author has hit the mark of great story telling. This is a story of a young boy(David) who loses his mother and has to adjust to life without her. His father eventually re-marries and they are soon joined by a new half brother. David, feeling left out retreats into a world of books and stories.

When they all move into his stepmothers house, things become rather strange.

David finds a hole in the garden wall which transports him to a magical fairy tale like land of werewolves,trolls and the evil crooked man.

I don't want to divulge too much of the plot, so I'll just say that this story is a fantastic mix of fairy tale and horror. Much like the Brothers Grimm film, this story contains a collection of the famous fairy tales all coming together in the fast paced adventure. That is the only similarity as 'The Book of Lost Things'was a far supperior story.

Not knowing the premise of this book, I thought it would be another action/thriller type book like his others. I have enjoyed all of J.C.'s books, but this one has been the most amazing story yet. It may have been very different to the Charlie Parker books, but it still shared the same dark tone that all his books follow.

This was one of those books I had a hard time putting down.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy Adventure, 14 Feb 2007
By 
H. Ashford "hashford" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a lovely book. It takes teenager David on an adventure through a fantasy world and a journey along the path from childhood to adulthood. In some ways it reads like a reworking of Wizard of Oz, except that the different aspects of David's personality are integrated in one person (unlike Dorothy's, which appear externally - in the scarecrow, the lion and the tin man). All the same, David has to develop and learn to use cunning/brains (when he solves the riddle of the two bridges), strength and courage (when he defeats the monster in the village), and, hardest of all, love for his step family, before he can defeat his enemies and return home. There are references to various fairy tales and nursery rhymes - some of them twisted and quite dark.

I've marked it down to 4 stars because, for me at least, it reads like teen fiction - it's basically a thriller given a fantasy setting and a little bit of a message - and this book doesn't match up to the best of fantasy fiction (eg the Narnia books, or Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials Trilogy). The material is rich enough to carry so much more. For instance we could have been asked to question (just a little) our notions of right and wrong - ie is it always "good" to kill our enemies? Without wanting to give the end away, it would have been nice to have been left with a question mark over whether the ending was really "morally right".
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Tale for Grown-Ups, 30 April 2007
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book of Lost Things (Paperback)
In this stand-alone novel Connolly has adapted or taken extracts from a number of classical fairy tales to create one story, which in common with The Chronicles of Narnia takes place in Second World War England and involves a secret portal to a magical mystery land with battles of its own being fought and involving half-human, half-animal hybrids. While on the one hand it's tempting to suggest that this is purely an indulgence on the author's part, there's no denying that it's well written and the imagery and atmosphere he creates - so often a Connolly strength - is probably his best to date because he has given himself free rein to fantasise as much as he wants to.

In my own paperback copy, an unusual supplement to an already unusual book includes an `interview' with Connolly in which he is asked such questions as why he wrote the tale at all. I won't spoil things here, but I do find it curious that the novelist finds a need to justify the writing of a story and to publish those reasons in the book itself. Not that it matters, it takes a little while adjusting to the nature of the story after the very different style of the Charlie `Bird' Parker series but once the reader becomes familiar with it, it makes for entertaining reading. Despite its fairy-tale underpinnings, however, this is not a story for young children; there is no bad language at any time but some of the violence, while pretty tame compared to traditional Connolly fare, would make for an uncomfortable bedtime story for your seven-year-old daughter! But at least Connolly has eradicated the gun from one of his novels as a means of killing; he has always delved into the supernatural world even when writing modern day crime fiction, but in the past even some of the ghosts he created killed with pistols or rifles, which I found at odds with the theme. Not in this book, though. Central character David has nothing more sophisticated than a sword at his side and this is perfectly in keeping with the strange world he inhabits for much of this tale.

Another frequent idiosyncrasy throughout several of Connolly's novels is to give the bad guy a title of some kind, in TBOLT he's The Crooked Man who is very loosely adapted from the Brothers Grimm's dwarf creation Rumpelstiltskin. And with central character David having a conversation with a woman who turns out to be dead, we are reminded once again that there are more similarities to the Bird series than initially meets the eye. Still left-field by most reckonings, and certainly not crime fiction, it's an adult fairy tale that will satisfy existing Connolly fans and for those of you lucky enough not to know, there's a wonderful series of novels by the same author that you really should try if you want a credible mixture of contemporary fiction and the supernatural.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 16 Sep 2010
By 
M. E. Pike "starfishuk" (Kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book of Lost Things (Paperback)
I loved this book. That doesn't seem a strong enough statement somehow. This book is in my top 5 ever and I'm an avid reader. It's a beautiful fairytale for grown ups full of magic and mystery. The story follows a young boy whose father has remarried and had a baby with his new wife and how this young boy deals with the loss of his beloved mother and jealousy towards his new step-brother. What follows is a beautiful tale of adventure and acceptance as the boy's stepbrother is stolen away by a mysterious figure and his journey to rescue him. I really don't want to give too much away but I highly suggest you read it. A perfect book to curl up with on a winters day with plenty of hot chocolate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adult Fairy Tale, 18 Feb 2010
By 
Martin Belcher (Hampshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I was pleasantly surprised and enthralled with this novel. It is a wonderful story of loss, fear, joy and forgiveness and reads like an adult brothers grimm fairy tale. Kept me page turning until the end. My first John Connolly novel and certainly not the last!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!, 20 Nov 2008
This review is from: The Book of Lost Things (Paperback)
This has to be the best book I have read in a long time. An daring read which was impossible to put down. The story of a grieving boy entering the world of fairytales which are not quite as we remember them from childhood. At times gruesome, at other times comic I loved his book and was sad to finish it. Will I ever find a book quite like this one? I dont know but I am going to keep looking! I think anyone who was ever a child will love this book!!!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book of pretty good, 8 Aug 2008
By 
Grr "Gumbo" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book of Lost Things (Paperback)
I bought this on a whim when i was desperate to read something and the cover and blurb sold me. It does have a stunning cover, kudos due to the designers.

I was pretty happy with my impulse purchase. Though not bitingly original, skewed versions of fairy tales have long been a staple of student writing and drama, this was a well written enjoyable read.

Dealing as it does with themes of bereveament and the onset of puberty as well as drawing paralells with fairy tales and fantastical worlds, this book can be considered a reasonable success. However it scratches surfaces too often when deeper exploration was desired. It feels, at times, that the author was overly cautious and dipped his toe rather than dived in.

Some elements, such as the Snow White segment are merely re-jigs of well explored variants of the tale.

That said, the book moves along at a brisk pace and is an enjoyable read. I got through it comfortably in a few days of evening reading and, whilst it would be untrue to say that i was terribly sorry it had ended, i was left satisfied and entertained. Very often that is all you want from a book after all. So, for a diverting,disposable read i would suggest that you could find much, much worse.

Could be a good one for Book clubs. Also, it had a number of authors essays at the end, along with a selection of original fairy tales. A very nice touch and much appreciated by this reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed very much, 7 Aug 2008
This review is from: The Book of Lost Things (Paperback)
Not a huge fan of Connolly's Charlie Parker novels etc but I really enjoyed this. It had me lost in it's world for the duration. I found it different and refreshing. Fantasy, fairy tale, mild horror themes. Yes excellent, yes reccomended. I loved the way fairy tales and characters were interwoven into an adventure for a young boy who'd suffered early in the story.
Now I wish Charlie Parker would get lost so Connolly would write more like this. For me Charlie Parker is the Dirk Pitt of the Private Investigator world. Done to Death.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The darker side of fairytales, 26 Nov 2006
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This book is a fairytale for adults. And at the heart of all good fairytales is the idea of the loss of innocence. David, a young boy who has recently lost his mother, finds that the world he knows is changing fast. the book is set against the backdrop of a war, yet this is not the thing that David sees as threatening his existence most; rather it is his father's new love, and then their new baby boy, Georgie. David is incredibly bitter that his father has seemingly forgotten about his beloved mother, and this bitterness results in him retreating into his own world which he finds within the pages of his books. Then, one day, he spots a hunched figure moving around in his bedroom. This figure is the Crooked Man, someone who has quite literally stepped out of the pages of a book into the real world. David, while out in the garden one night, is then pulled into the Crooked Man's strange and frightening world, where he has to try and find his way back to his father, step-mother and Georgie.

Connolly's book takes many characters from fairytales and turns them into something almost completely unrecognisable. Snow White, for example, still lives with the Seven Dwarves, but she is not the lovely young lady who can entrance birds into her hand whilst out in the woods. Instead, she is eating the dwarves out of house and home. She has gained weight, and there are no princes who would want to marry her, much to the dissatisfaction of those she lives with. While this particular episode creates humour in the story, much of Connolly's world is very dark indeed.

The Crooked Man is an especially horrible character. It is through this man that the theme of torture is explored, and the very baseness of evil that can reside within our own world. He is a man who takes pleasure out of hurting others. Because of themes such as this, THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS is often not an easy read. Yet, fairytales are meant to be some kind of mirror to our own society; perhaps the read is so uncomfortable because we can see elements of our own reality within - there are certainly some individuals, like the Crooked Man, who seemingly enjoy killing others.

I would recommend this book if you are prepared for something that goes against traditional fairytales that we tell our children. While it is dark, at least the ending does give you some kind of reprieve.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, 26 Nov 2006
By 
GW (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
First of all, I should say that I am a huge fan of John Connolly, and I must have pre-ordered this book months before it was released. So I had a pleasant surprise when it arrived one day, and finished reading it in three days. I can't believe it's taken me this long to review it here.

As reviewers have already said, `The Book of Lost Things' differs greatly in genre and subject matter to Connolly's other novels, although retains his powerful, evocative writing style. Connolly is an excellent story-teller, something which you are liable to forget as you immerse yourself in the complex plots of the Charlie Parker novels. And this is a great story, well told. It is, in fact, an homage to good old-fashioned story telling, incorporating well-known fairytales into its own narrative.

This is the most literary of Connolly's novels yet; themes and ideas being prevalent without encroaching on the plot. The protagonist, David, may be a twelve year-old boy, but he is a realistic, recognisable character with foibles like the rest of us. It his jealously of his new stepmother and half brother which leads him from Wartime England and into the fantasy world where fairytales we will all recognise exist in (often their original) dark, twisted forms. It is a story about discovery and the loss of innocence, David's journey through the other-world as treacherous and heartbreaking as the journey through life. I think everyone has a Crooked Man following them around.

It sounds like an obvious metaphor, but in Connolly's hands it becomes a fascinating, exciting and involving tale. I don't think this is Connolly's attempt to create a fantasy world worthy of Tolkien or CS Lewis (I can't really back this up without revealing too much, but consider that he doesn't even give this other-world a name and that it's clearly not intended as the beginning of a series) but rather his attempt at creating a modern fairytale, which he excels at.

One of the best books I've read in a long time, and I'll certainly be reading it again.
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The Book of Lost Things
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (Paperback - 5 April 2007)
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