This book is what would happen if you were to truly step into a world populated by characters from all the children's fairy tales that don't end so well. It would be a very scary world indeed. I started out not liking the author's writing style, but I was completely drawn in by the end. David's mother dies and his father remarries and has another child. Of course, David doesn't like this and loses himself in his books ... literally. One day he finds that he's stepped through the trunk of a tree in his garden into a different world which seems to be the embodiment of all the fairy tales he's grown up with. However, the reality here is a bit different than he remembers from his book ... and much more "grim". Little Red Riding Hood has married the big bad wolf and their children are terrorizing the forest, it was really the 7 dwarves who poisoned Snow White because she was eating them out of house and home, and centaurs and other half-breed animals are being medically created by a serial killer, etc. David has to make his way through a forest full of wolves, over a troll bridge, and escape capture by the sinister Crooked Man in order to find the king and his "Book of Lost Things" which is supposed to show him the way back home.
This is not shelved as a children's book, but when I think of the nature of many of Grimm's fairy tales, I have to wonder how much worse this story is than them. I think that perhaps Grimm's fairy tales are only not boycotted because they've become a staple of childhood. However, I'm imagining that many a parent would object to the graphic nature of some of the situations in this book. Personally, I thought it was great.