Here is an early Easter Egg for you, crack it open and you will find a golden and glowing review of John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things, in keeping with my current explorations into The Realm of Faerie.
It is hard to beat Angela Carter’s potent re-imaginings of traditional Fairy Tales but John Connolly may boast a valiant and successful attempt.
The young hero’s struggle to adjust to his step-family under the shadow of The Blitz is realistic and heartfelt but unfortunately the tone alters and the pace flounders during a flabby middle section inspired by tired and predictable medieval quest romances.
Connolly’s work suffers a little under too many influences; Narnia, Oz, Wonderland, Labyrinth and even The Box of Delights are all thrown into the mix. Focus is restored most triumphantly however in a dramatic ending which is surprisingly horrific considering the overall “kidult” tone.
The Book of Lost Things, with its exquisite title, could have possessed more depth if freed from the influence of so many other contemporary retellings of old tales. Despite this, when Connolly finds his own voice the story soars and delivers a truly terrifying villain.