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The School for Good and Evil
Soman Chainani
The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly I appreciate the aesthetics and ode to folklore that Connolly attempted to evoke here, but for me, this story really fell flat.

"The Book of Lost Things" is a story about a young boy named David who gets spirited away into a dark fairy tale world after hearing the voice of his dead mother beckoning him to save her. It's a standard hero's quest story full of very Jungian ideals and Campbellian motifs. At it's heart it is a classic coming of age story which relates a number of universal themes related to our fear, suffering and journey of growing up.

On the surface, that would seem to sing to my heart. But the reason I have marked this book so low was because the style in which is was written; The first four or five chapters are essentially giant info dumps. It takes a long time for any action to occur at all and even throughout the book the reader still has to wade through long info dumps. This book was almost all Tell and no Show. It made the pacing increidbly sluggish.

Now don't get me wrong - I do understand that this was probably intentional so it would read like an authentic fairy tale, because that is how they used to be written. But the field of literature has changed and I think the same story could have been told much more effectively had he used conventional methods to achieve it. For me, this book was a boring, tedious mess though I admit there were a few fleeting moments of powerful tenderness evoked - The feelings were very raw and geniuine and the sinister and dark of the world felt very true to original folklore.

Another issue I had was at the end of my copy there was an extended interview and other resource materials which seemed to me like it screamed "Look at what it all means! See how clever I am? Look how deep these themes are!" in the same way an English teaceher would quiz their students. I am a grown adult. I don't need to be quizzed on this. If your story fell short, that's on the author, not me. I don't know that last section of the book just rubbed me the wrong way - it felt incredibly pretentious. I've never seen a book have to explain itself to the reader before.

Some people might really enjoy this story and I don't fault them for that. I understand what the author attempted to do, but it just didn't work for me.