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Thursday, June 30, 2011

100 Cupboards

So, I had been going to do a post on the winged horses of Belvia, but decided to do this one first.
100 Cupboards is a three book series (it doesn't seem like a trilogy for some reason, but that's what it really is) by N. D. Wilson. It is also the name of the first book in the series. The second book is Dandelion Fire, and the third is The Chestnut King.
I can't remember when I read them last; it wasn't too long ago. Probably some time last year. I just remembered about them being on my Kindle in the archives, so I pulled them out (along with Wilson's non-fantasy book, Leepike Ridge) and started re-reading them.
N. D. Wilson is not your run-of-the-mill author. He is a bit of C. S. Lewis; he has some really good statements to make that don't sound at all preachy, but are very insightful nonetheless.
I haven't finished Dandelion Fire yet, and don't remember enough about book three to write anything about it here, so this will be a review mostly of the first book.
It's about a boy named Henry York, 12 years of age. He has been babied all his life by his parents (although he hardly ever sees them); and is something of a weakling. When his parents are kidnapped and held for ransom in a different country, Henry is sent to stay with his Uncle Frank, Aunt Dotty, and three cousins: Penelope, Henrietta, and Anastasia, in a small town called Henry, Kansas. While sleeping in the attic, Henry finds ninety-nine small doors hidden behind the plaster above his bed and, with Henrietta, he discovers that there are different worlds through many of the cupboards. When Henrietta insists on opening a small door near the bottom, although Henry feels it is evil, things begin to go terribly wrong. And so the stage is set for the rest of the book and the rest of the series.

Most of the first book, in fact all of it except for a few parts, take place in Henry, Kansas. Henry York does things he's never done before: he drinks his first soda, owns his first pocketknife, and rides in the back of a truck for the first time. He begins to find out that the world is not such a boring place as he's always thought. There's a good chemistry between him and his cousins. I think perhaps my favorite cousin is nine year old Anastasia. Henrietta can get a bit annoying, because she just does some really dumb things (even more so in book 2), but I still like her.
I like how the characters (especially the main ones) each have their own personalities, and don't feel like carbon copies of each other, which isn't easy to do when dealing with three sisters who are close in age.
Wilson is a very good writer. I hope to be more like him in my own writing, because he is really good with description, and with those sort of philosophical statements which he scatters throughout these books. A lot of his sentences are almost like poetry.
There are a few things I didn't like; I thought they weren't very appropriate, and I hate it when books that I like a whole lot have these silly things in them. 100 Hundred Cupboards has a preoccupation with the toilet in Henry's uncle's house. It seems like a lot of flushing it and unclogging it goes on. There are a few other things, as well. If you can ignore these, then the book is all good.
There's also some good humor in here. And a raggant. What's a raggant? Well, I ought to let you read and find out for yourself, but I'll tell you just a bit: it's a small, gray animal, sort of like a tiny rhino, but with feathered wings.
So, I highly recommend these books. Just try to ignore the silly parts.
I also learned that they're being made into movies by Beloved Pictures. But the only updates I can find are from last year, so maybe it's been delayed or something. But I'll definitely want to watch them if they do make them.

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