I confess. I bought this book purely for its looks. Who wouldn’t love this cover? First time I’ve done that, and it paid off. I enjoyed this book. It was Narnia-esque, but darker. Much darker. John Connolly took familiar fairy tales and twisted them until they bled. Think original Grimm’s on a Brom Stoker steroid. A little boy, David, enters into a magical land when life back home with a dead mother, a stepmother who tries to be kind but can never replace the real thing, a younger half brother who claims the parental attention that should be his, and a war (WWII – set in England). Nightmares intrude in this land—the nightmares of the king, and it is ruled by a devilish figure, the Crooked Man, who makes deals with the king putting the king in power in exchange for the king’s younger sibling, whose heart the Crooked Man needs to survive. He draws David into this world in hopes of making the same deal. David fights wolves and Loups—half man, half wolf, a slimy, oversize beast, and an enchantress in his travels. The book kept my attention and kept me entertained.
So in keeping with the thought that all good stories have something in common with The Great Story, I found numerous parallels here and there. The Loups, formed by a human female and wolf, reminded me of the Nephtali in Genesis. Of course, the Crooked Man embodied the devil and his ways of controlling the world by tempting people in their own evil (yes, it seems the idea of original sin exists in the story). I’m sure there were others—in fact I know there were, but I cannot remember them now because, heck, it’s been a long week (see below for those of you just joining us).
I read this book in the hospital and it did a good job of letting me escape while my dad slept between being stuck by some needle or other (the poor guy looks like he’s been in a car accident with the bruising up and down his arms).