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Comments for The Lost Children

The Lost Children: 04/29/14

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The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan is a tween urban(ish) fantasy. Josephine Russing lives in a huge house with her father, a man who barely acknowledges her existence, save for giving her lots and lots of new gloves.

In fact, the whole town is forced to wear gloves at all times for reasons Josephine doesn't know. What she does know is that the town hates her father for his ridiculous law.

That's the set up. After the first chapter, I expected something Gothic, and maybe dystopian. The plot, though, takes a huge left turn. Josephine ends up a prisoner in an alternate world where children are sold to the Master and there are creatures in the forest know as the Gentlemen.

After this jarring change of pace, it took me a good long while to warm back up to the book. Josephine's initial imprisonment and her interaction with the other children and the jailers reminded me of a typical children's fantasy movie from the 1970s. The kids in those films were usually orphans, except for the hero who is mistaken for one. All the adults are EVIL. There are monsters, or witches, or whatnot, lurking in the orphanage or in the surrounding area.

Thankfully Josephine's adventures as a prisoner play out pretty quickly, opening up the world for her to explore. Once she does escape, The Lost Children settles into a more modern feeling fantasy story. There's more going on than just an evil orphanage, run at the behest of an evil master. Were it not for the initial pacing issues, I would have given this book five stars. The remaining two thirds of the book is very tight and the ending is impressive and satisfying.

Four stars

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