Synopsis:

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 🙂

Share on Facebook

Waterstones Synopsis:

A lost child: On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her – but has disappeared without a trace. A terrible secret: On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell Andrews learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she embarks upon a search for the truth that leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family.A mysterious inheritance: On Nell’s death, her granddaughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance. Cliff Cottage and its forgotten garden are notorious amongst the Cornish locals for the secrets they hold – secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, a writer of dark Victorian fairytales. It is here that Cassandra will finally uncover the truth about the family, and solve the century-old mystery of a little girl lost.

This is a large book – over 600 pages, and to be honest, I was daunted by the size of it. However, I shouldn’t have been. The story flew off the page and the book read very quickly. There was adventure, life changing events, fear and destruction. There was also friendship, love and great fairytales.

There is not one main character in the book. The book spans a century and we get to know Nell, Cassandra and the Mountrachet family members well. The book does jump between time eras and events but it follows a stream of consciousness – by that I mean that when Nell or Cassandra discovers something about the past we then jump back in time and read what actually occurred. It is through this that we learn so much about the individuals featured in the book. I didn’t struggle with the time changes at all. As long as you note the year at the beginning of the chapter you are fine and it is easy to follow and keep up.

I loved the storyline. I loved how it was written so you kept discovering new things, and I enjoyed reading about London at the beginning of the 20th century, and how the upper classes lived. This is a historical novel, and I don’t think it was badly or inaccurately written. Nothing notably wrong jumped out at me; and reading the acknowledgements at the end suggests that Morton did research this well.

I found this book gripping and a great read. Once I got past the size of the book I loved it and only have praise for it. I have loaned my copy to my Mum I enjoyed it so much and she too is currently enjoying it. Morton is a gripping writer. She wrote characters I liked, set the scene wonderfully and wrote a story I was interested in and wanted to know what happened. I can only give this the top rating. A superb book.

5/5

Share on Facebook

Synopsis:

It was Friday night. Mr and Mrs Darling were dining out. Nana had been tied up in the backyard. The poor dog was barking, for she could smell danger. And she was right – this was the night that Peter Pan would take the Darling children on the most breath-taking adventure of their lives, to a place called Neverland, a strange country where the lost boys live and never grow up, a land with mermaids, fairies and pirates – and of course the terrible, evil, Captain Hook. Peter Pan is undoubtedly one of the most famous and best-loved stories for children, an unforgettable, magical fantasy which has been enjoyed by generations.

This book started off with much promise. We meet Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up and his companion, the moody fairy, Tinkerbell. After coming to the Darling’s nursery and taking Wendy, John and Michael, we are taken into the magical world of Neverland, with the Redskins, the Never Bird, pirates, including Captain Hook and Mermaids. There is deceit, fun, love, adventure and battles.

This book didn’t quite live up to my expectations however. This maybe because I am very familiar with the Disney version; yet Pan was arrogant, and not very likable, and Tinkerbell wasn’t friendly either. There were wars, and actually several deaths, which surprised me as this is a children’s book.

Barrie’s writing was a novelty at first. He writes like we are there with him watching the events unfold. He communicates like we are having a conversation with him about what we are watching. However, by the end of the book I was a bit annoyed by this.

The fairy tale wore off as I was reading too, and by the last 60 pages I was just wanting to finish the book. I had high expectations for this book, and sadly they were not met.

6/10

Share on Facebook

the-tales-of-beedle-the-bard

Synopsis from Amazon:

‘You’ve never heard of The Tales of Beedle the Bard?’ said Ron incredulously. ‘You’re kidding, right?’ (From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) Published by the Children’s High Level Group in association with Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is the first new book from J. K. Rowling since the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Tales of Beedle the Bard played a crucial role in assisting Harry, with his friends Ron and Hermione, to finally defeat Lord Voldemort. Fans will be thrilled to have this opportunity to read the tales in full. An exciting addition to the canon of Harry Potter, the tales reveal the wonderful versatility of the author, as she tackles with relish the structure and varying tones of a classic fairy tale. There are five tales: ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’, recounted in Deathly Hallows, plus ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’, ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’, ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’, and ‘Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump’. Each has its own magical character and will bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril. Translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger, the tales are introduced and illustrated by J. K. Rowling. Also included are notes by Professor Albus Dumbledore, which appear by kind permission of the Hogwarts Headmasters’ Archive. CHLG is a charity co-founded by J. K. Rowling and Emma Nicholson MEP and campaigns to protect and promote children’s rights and make life better for vulnerable young people. The Children’s High Level Group is a charity established under English law. Registered Charity Number: 1112575.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, this book is for you. It contains five wizard fairytales, and notes made by the Professor Albus Dumbledore. Like with Muggle fairytales, they contain moral messages and words of wisdom to the budding wizard. They are short and thoroughly enjoyable. The notes made by Dumbledore had me chuckling – what a great character! I loved how the books linked back to the Harry Potter series, making the book a must-have for Potter fans.

My favourite Tale was “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump“- very funny. A great washer woman. A fiery character who taught a valuable lesson and had a genius laugh.

As ever, Rowling writes in an engaging and fun way, and although this is predominantly a child’s book, adults will appreciate the book too, with some subtle adult humour and comments. This was a gripping and fun book to read, and I loved the illustrations, done by Rowling herself. This is a great companion to the much-loved Harry Potter books, and I highly recommend this little gem.

10/10

Share on Facebook