Posts Tagged With: John Connolly

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly


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

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this, but in truth: I loved it. John Connolly has played with the idea of fairy tales and children’s nightmares – he has taken them and made them into an adventure. The story centres around David, a boy whose life changes when his mother dies. His father re-marries and they move to the country. There David finds himself spending most of his time in the attic surrounded by old books. World War 2 is taking place, and one night, having thought he had heard his mother calling him David goes into the garden, just as a German bomber crash lands. David finds himself transported into another world. Here he faces wolves that have started to morph into men, monsters and Crooked Man.

I loved what Connolly did with this. The wolves, or Loups, came out of the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the monster which followed David came from his nightmares and the enchantress in the tower came from Rapunzel. Connolly has taken these childhood fairy tales and made them into violent, adult stories, and battles which David has to face. The worst for me was the Crooked Man, who steals children to expand his life. The descriptions of his actions and his torture chambers were horrific and not for the faint hearted.

I wouldn’t call this book scary but it is intense and some of the things David and his friends fight are quite chilling. This is quite violent and graphic, but so readable. I didn’t want to put this down, I was engrossed. I wanted to know what David would have to battle, what happened to the king and how the story would end. This book was exciting and full of adventure. There was not a dull moment in this book.

I loved the characters Connolly created and how they evolved. At first I felt empathy for David, then I was anxious for his welfare, and by the end I was confident in him and happily cheering him on. He matured and became fearless, and I liked how things worked out for him. The men who helped David were courageous and fun to read. I loved the dwarfs the most. They are not like they are in Snow White – and neither is she in this book. All I could do was laugh at the situation and their attitudes – they were very funny!

There was nothing to dislike about this book. I can easily give it 5/5. I loved it 🙂

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The Gates by John Connolly

The Gates

The Gates

A strange novel for strange young people.

Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund Boswell are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Hallowe’en. Which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Avenue.

The Abernathys don’t mean any harm by their flirtation with Satanism. But it just happens to coincide with a malfunction in the Large Hadron Collider that creates a gap in the universe. A gap in which there is a pair of enormous gates. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out . . .

Can Samuel persuade anyone to take this seriously? Can he harness the power of science to save the world as we know it?

John Connolly is well known for his crime books, and probably even more well known for his fantasy novel, The Book Of Lost Things. In The Gates, John has stayed with fantasy, but this time he’s aiming his book at a younger audience. However, as with all the great YA books, this one will have the adults fighting to read it too.

The first thing to say about this book is that it’s very funny. It’s a fun book to read, which actually managed to make me laugh out loud at times – great escapism on dull days! There’s enough humour for the younger readers to enjoy, and yet it’s not overdone, and therefore off putting for adults.

The characters are fantastic – Samuel is a young lad dealing with his father leaving, whilst also dealing with the small matter of a town over run with demons, and the gates of hell opening. The demons themselves are sometimes scary, but often rather dim, and some even discover a taste for beer! The highlight for me was Nurd – a demon who deserves a book all of his own.

This is going to appeal to many fans of children’s fantasy, but especially those who enjoyed Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus. The pace of the book is fast, and the length is probably perfect for younger readers. My only complaint, however, is that it was a little too short for me.. but then I could have kept reading for a very long time.

Highly recommended, this book is published on 1st Oct.

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