My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed 100 Cupboards for the most part. The fantastical aspects, mainly the cupboards, were very intriguing. They reminded me a bit of the mini-series The Lost Room. It was their surface mundanity but with a fantastical aspect underneath that charmed me. I mean one of the first cupboards the children open is to a mailbox. But it is a mailbox not on Earth.
The story introduces a lot of different elements that aren't quite explained, but this is clearly the first in a series, so that's to be expected. It starts simple enough. Henry goes to live with his aunt and uncle in Kansas after his parents are kidnapped. One night in his new room, a strange cupboard emerges from the wall. He uncovers 98 more and discovers how to open them. Each one connects to a different place. Some good, some bad. One of the bad ones notices him and reaches through.
I liked Henry, the protagonist. His sheltered life, his conflicted feelings over his parents, and simple yearning to play baseball were handled very well. But many of the other children made me want to punch a wall. (Because hitting a child is reprehensible, but Anastasia would have sorely tested me.) I don't recall having such a visceral rage for a child in a story for a long time. Especially not one in juvenile fiction, but two of the girls - Anastasia and Henrietta - had my blood boiling at certain points. And the girls never seemed to appreciate the consequences that are visited upon them. They are physically hurt, loved ones are almost killed, and they're still going, "La, la, la, I want to go through a cupboard." Like I said, striking a child is evil, but locking one in a room without supper is still okay, right?
I'm not sure if I'll read the next one. I am intrigued about the worlds N.D. Wilson hints at in the book, but I may have to skim a bit to see how many times the names of those two girls appear. My blood pressure may not be able to handle much of them.
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