Saturday, May 7, 2011
Review: 100 Cupboards
As soon as I started reading this book, the writer got ahold of me, using the setting of the first chapter. Any other placement, and I would have been neutral.
But no, it was the description of a small town in Kansas that did it for me. What can I say? I'm biased. I love small towns. I love Kansas. And both of my parents originated from small-town central Kansas.
That being said, 100 Cupboards started out well. The writing was lighthearted and humorous, and, while the first few pages weren't the most exciting, the writing style kept me going.
As the story progressed and became more mysterious (and, as a whole, this is a very mysterious book), it grabbed my attention. Weird things started happening. And then the plot took off.
100 Cupboards was an easy read. It took me around a day to get through it, and the pages went by fast. Not a I-can't-stop-reading fast, but it was still engrossing. The suspense level was high, mystery abounded, and there were several moments where the book sent a chill down my spine. There were several surprising plot twists as well.
I found it very similar to the Dreamhouse Kings series, for younger readers. Not as suspenseful, but the two series seem to have a lot of characteristics in common; portals, strange houses, unwanted people living in the house, etc.
For a novel targeted at teen/tween ages (the protagonist is twelve), it was surprisingly scary, and there was a lot of danger and intrigue. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however. There were, though, several edgy scenes that bordered on gory (like a description of an eyeless 'witch').
Now, if you were put off by my mention of a witch, let me warn you: there is some sort of dark magic thing going on in this story. The main antagonist was a twisted woman who uses some sort of magic to destroy places and cast spells (though they were not called such). I was not bothered by it, as it was downplayed and I didn't really notice it. (If I need to convince you, I strongly dislike the Harry Potter kind of magic, and this was not very similar at all.)
There were several downsides to this story. While the characters were unique and well done, I didn't see as much development as I might have liked. There were few difficult choices for the characters, and only a couple situations that revealed the good or bad aspects of their character.
There was also a lack of meaning in 100 Cupboards. It was written to entertain, and not much more. It's what I might call a "forgettable fantasy" that will just become another book I've read and liked. It is a secular book, after all, though the writer is a Christian (as far as I know).
It ended well, with a hook at the end, indicating where the next book will lead. I'll be reading the rest of the series for sure.
Overall, read it. It's good enough to check out from the library, and you won't regret it.
Rated 8 out of 10. [Four stars]