100 Cupboards - N.D. Wilson
First off: ages 9-12? The writing is way to complicated and the book is too gory for this age group . . .

I'm usually a sucker for beautiful, lyrical writing. But sometimes, I feel like authors try too hard to attain this. N.D. Wilson writes as though he's trying to make every sentence a masterpiece and, although I can understand why he'd attempt for it, it doesn't end well (at least in my opinion). His sentences are clunky and really take away from any immediacy in the story.

And for the story itself, I felt the idea BEHIND the story was more interesting than the book's execution of it. Henry York goes to Henry, Kansas to stay after his parents were kidnapped. In Henry, Henry finds 100 cupboards in his house that lead to different worlds.

However, the book took maybe 100 pages to get to any point of action (the opening of the cupboards). And after that, everything seemed suddenly rushed and without point. Henrietta (Henry's cousin) gets lost in a cupboard suddenly because she's curious and he has to find her. Suddenly he finds a random boy that follows him back for no reason. Suddenly a villain is introduced: a witch with no real backstory, no motives, and no personality traits other than PURE EVILNESS. She's one of the most cliched evil characters I've ever read about, complete with a cat to stroke and all.

Worse than this, is the characters. They don't really have personalities. Dialogue seems to bounce off of them with no real thought behind it. Henry, for example, was a character I could not identify with at all, and it's beyond me how any young adult could identify with him. The apathy he has for his parents' plight is almost inhuman. At one point he says himself how he wished he'd be more worried about them, but really doesn't care. When he finds out secrets about his parents or even himself, he brushes them off. There's no shock or anything!

"Oh, your parents weren't actually your parents."

Henry: "Oh, okay." And that's that. The matter ends.

I'm being really mean and sharp-tongued; I apologize, but this book just didn't do it for me. It's a series and I can find it in almost every book store, so I guess it's doing well. I guess it does have a good audience somewhere, which is good for N.D. Wilson . . .