Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review of Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson

I wrote this review for School Library Journal, where it appeared here and in the January 2009 issue.

WILSON, N. D. Dandelion Fire. Bk. 2. 480p. (100 Cupboards Series). CIP. Random. 2008. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-375-83883-5; PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-93883-2. LC 2008003037.
Gr 5–8—In this dense and worthy sequel to 100 Cupboards (Random, 2007), Henry York, having discovered that he, like his uncle Frank, actually comes from a world beyond the magic cupboards in his attic room, decides to enter it again. This is a last-ditch attempt to learn more about his origins and about the strange dandelion magic that has recently seared its way into his body. Henry, his cousin Henrietta, and the rest of his Kansas family end up scattered in different parts of the world from which both Henry and his uncle came, struggling against an evil witch and her powerful minion. The plot is complicated, and readers not familiar with the first book will be hopelessly confused. The shifting locations and the many characters and factions are bewildering, but most of the characters have such deliciously flawed and fascinating personalities that fans of that book will go with the flow, waiting to see what the next bend of plot might bring. A quiet and quirky humor warms up the proceedings as well, leavening even the most intense scenes. The ending is satisfying enough to serve as a series closer, but luckily for fans of this challenging but rewarding trilogy, there is still one more installment to come.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

(I felt it was necessary in this review to stress that this series isn't for everyone - but for those who love convoluted, challenging, astoundingly imaginative fantasy (like I do!), then the 100 Cupboards series is the perfect choice.


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