Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The 100 Cupboards, Book 1

Reviewer:  Kerin (age 18)
Title: The 100 Cupboards
Author:  N.D. Wilson
Primary Audience/Age Group: 8 years-old and up.
Genre: Fantasy
# of pages: 289
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers.
Year of Release: 2007
Part of a Series? Yes, 1 of 3
Rating: 5 (View Scale)
Recommend? Yes.

Description: Henry York is on a journey. To Kansas.
Sent to visit with his aunt and uncle, and their daughters, Henry isn't sure what to expect from this small town. But finding a wall full of small, strange cupboard doors on the wall of his attic bedroom certainly aren't what he had in mind. Upon further inspection Henry realizes there's something even more special about these doors than first meets the eye -- they're magic. Each door leads to a spectacular new world.

Henry and his cousin, Henrietta, set out to learn all they can about this wonderful discovery, but soon come to realize that the doors aren't just fun and games. While one door leads to a wonderful woodland, another leads to a haunted ball room, and yet another leads to a post office. And one, a disturbing black door, leads to a dark world where something mysterious, and quite possibly deadly, lurks.

This once thrilling and always exciting adventure will lead to more than ever could be dreamed of as they continue to open doors, discover worlds, and even uncover an old family secret.
Review: This was yet another book I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up, but it turned out to be pretty addicting. I stayed up several nights even to the point of almost falling asleep just to keep reading. I finished it pretty quickly, and it didn't take me long to find the second book in the series and start reading that as well.
The adventure and plot the author created are so very unique and different - he's created different worlds entirely in just one book. And it's just so easy to fall into the story and feel like you're with the characters. That makes it all the more fun to read.
The writing style the author uses is slightly different from what I normally read - but in a very good way. It was new and unique and just added to the quality of the adventure. His words flow in such a way that they seem to be bringing the story to life before your eyes.
Rating: The book is pretty safe for the age listed and above. There really isn't much to worry about, so I feel confident giving this book a 5.
Positive: Henry is what you would probably call an unlikely hero. He has led an extremely sheltered life up until the point of discovering the cupboards. Though he might be afraid, and even down-right terrified at moments, when it counts he swallows his fear and handles the journey head on. For example, when his cousin Henrietta disappears behind one of the cupboard doors, Henry is afraid to travel through after her but forces himself to face his fear and rescue her. You can see how his character comes to grow and change from the sheltered young boy he is at the beginning to a brave, though possibly reluctant, hero later on.
Spiritual Elements: None really, that I can think of.
Violence: The evil witch in the story is my main concern for violence. She injures a couple of characters in her pursuit of the main hero of the story, whom she intends to 'steal his life force' -- not really killing the character per-se, but using his life energy for herself. 
Also, a few of the characters, when defending themselves from the witch, injure her as well -- one even at the last second, swinging a baseball bat. Nothing graphic mind you, but the witch at one point is knocked out. Another character is injured to the point of bleeding briefly. Most of this happens near the climax of the book and is all relatively non-descriptive. The rest of the book is pretty clean from violence.

Language: None
Sexual Content: None.
Other: The main thing to be worried about I think is for younger readers. The evil witch and her pet cat, though only around for a hand-full of chapters, were both pretty creepy and kind of disturbing. There is nothing major. The author doesn't go into gory details by any means. It's just a basic description. But, I just found the character and her pet to be creepy. For some of the younger kids, depending on how well they handle that sort of thing, it might be just a tad much for them. I know some kids have no problem with it (for instance one of friends as a child used to watch and read Goosebumps), while other kids can get easily frightened (like myself when I was younger). So it all depends on how the reader handles those kind of things.

Recommendation: I'd definitely recommend this book. I may have said it before, but I will say it again. It was just so much fun to read. It's so action-packed and filled with mystery and excitement.
And aside from the point I made above about the witch and the slight use of violence, the book is pretty clean. Which, to be honest, is pretty rare anymore - even in some children's books. So, yes, this is definitely something I would recommend.

About the reviewer, Kerin: "I feel truly blessed to be where I am in my life - with loving parents, friends who I would die for, and on the verge of starting college to pursue a career. And though I haven't yet picked a specific path, I know that whatever I choose to do, I want to help people and make a difference. I am a huge bookworm with a passion for both reading and writing in my spare time - though my passion and love for my God outshine both."

1 comment:

What Darlin'? said...

I read this aloud to my 6 and 8 year old daughters and we all loved it. We did start the second in the series and found it wasn't engaging.