David's mother is dying, but he counts the numbers of steps and ritualizes his mornings in an attempt to keep her alive. After her death, and his father's subsequent remarriage, he finds new rituals: books. Especially, listening to the books who talk to him.
This fantasy-filled novel, set in World War II Britain, promises to prompt memories of Grimm fairy tales and ideas of "truth" versus "story." I found that I liked this book much more after I finished it and could begin the rehashing of its meaning.
David finds a hole in the garden, and he hears his mother's voice calling for help. One night, he sees a German plane falling from the sky, and to escape from a fiery death, he crawls through the hole into a fairytale woods. From there, the story follows familiar and strange tales, the stories that we do not tell children, but we probably should. Death comes to those who make idiotic choices, for example, or are not honorable in their actions.
In order to return to the "real world," David must find the king and his "Book of Lost Things." However, is his awakening due to finding a way home, or had this been his imagination all along?
The author threw in enough irony and twists on typical children's fare to keep my attention. More thrilling is the discussions post-reading. Does this other-world exist? As the author states, he has received a unique answer from everyone he has met. A book to make one think - I'll put down my drink for this.
4.0 out of 5.0 Red Witches.