Friday, October 06, 2006

Finding a darker narnia

I wasn't exactly complimentary about John Connolly's last book, The Black Angel, and I glanced into The Book of Lost Things before I recognised the author, read a paragraph and was hooked. This is so entirely different to his last book that it could have been written by a different person.

David is twelve, his mum has died and he's a little bit obsessive compulsive. He feels like is the only one grieving his mother's death, and racket from the books is irritating him. Yes, he hears books talk - hillariously at his psychiatrist's office, when they call out, "Charlatan, fraud!" or, "well done old man, good question," depending on his performance; and sadly when the obsolete reference books in his bedroom fight to be heard, knowing deep down that their autority and worth has been stripped from them.

And then it feels like someone has been in his room.

Ultimately David discoveres another world through a crack in the old sunken garden he can see from his window. This is no Narnia though - this is a world of horror, of wolves, worse-than-wolves, and other horrors. Of huntresses who cross children and animals to make better quarry; and of a dying king who is losing control of his kingdom. Every human that has entered the world has bought its fears with it, increasing the population of horrific creatures - some of which are Davids, and must be conquered before he can leave. The book is superb - I had a month to read it and finished it in four days.


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