THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS (Dark Fantasy/England/WWII) – Okay Connolly, John –
Hodder & Stoughton, 2006- UK Hardcover

12-year-old David loves to read and, upon the death of his mother, hears books talking. Still mourning the loss of his mother, his father tells him he’ll have a new mother and a baby brother or sister. They move out of London to his stepmother Rose’s huge house in the country where he is given a room filled with books but feels angry and displaced by Rose and the baby. Soon he starts seeing The Crooked Man and discovers a passage into a different world filled with wolves, loups, harpies, trolls and others including a Woodsman who helps him on his journey to see the King and back to his own world.

This is definitely not Disney’s version of fairy tales and even the Brothers Grimm might find parts of this a bit horrific. Connolly’s definition of “happy ever after” may be realistic but is definitely sad. Yes, there are lessons of bravery, loyalty and love, but I found the story repetitive and lacking the “magic” that makes fairy tales so memorable. Connolly is a superb writer. His Charlie Parker books, up until “Dark Angel.” were masterful in their balance of horrible and humor, humanity and paranormal and were written with such a lyrical style. That was lost with “Dark Angel” and is missing here as well. The last 10-11 pages were wonderful but it’s not a story I’ll go back and re-read as I do “Beauty and the Beast,” Neil Gaiman's 'Coraline,' or Raymond Feist’s “Fairie Tale,” one of my favorites.

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