My first Connolly book was The Book of Lost Things. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was intrigued by the summary on the back which reads thus:
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.
Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.
I wholly enjoyed this novel. It’s a story for kids and then it’s not-it’s more gruesome than you would expect. I also enjoyed the take on fairy tales that aren’t all happiness and rainbows. Connolly projects a world that is decaying and being overcome with darkness. Within the pages, we recognize bits and pieces of the stories we learned as children, but they are not as we expect.
Connolly’s prose has the right degree of enchantment to it. He is a lovely writer who compels us to keep turning the page, to follow the type into this magnificent world he’s creating.
The next Connolly books I read were definitely for children and young adults. The Gates and the sequel, The Infernals. These books explore the story of an English boy, Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, as they attempt to prevent the encroachment of evil into our world, fighting the minions and emissaries of The Great Malevolence.
While the first Connolly book was sort of ambiguous as to its audience (part of the dedication page reads, “For in every adult dwells the child that was, and in every child the adult that will be”) and the latter two books clearly aimed at children, they are still wildly entertaining. Connolly employs the art of nuance to lasso his adult readers; the books are full of references and subtleties that children will simply pass over.
Connolly does have a dedicated adult following; I have one of those books, The Lovers, sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. While I can’t comment on his style in those books, if my previous three Connolly excursions have proved anything it’s that he’s an author worth picking up.
Book Blogger Thoughts:
The Gates at Vishy the Knight
The Gates and The Infernals at Bookhimdanno
The Infernals at My Shelf Confessions
The Book of Lost Things at Blog at Bree
The Book of Lost Things at Chasing Greener Days