Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet

The Cabinet of Earths (Maya and Valko, #1)Maya's family moves to Paris for a year; her mother is seriously ill with cancer. Around the corner from their apartment, she notices a strange building with a salamander decoration on the door. It seems to be watching Maya, and her little brother points out the stone figure above them that looks just like her. An uncle lives inside the building, and an elderly cousin lives nearby. However, they do not get along. As the story unfolds, Maya discovers the uncle believes in immortality, while the cousin does not and guards a magical cabinet. The cabinet allows people to live forever, and it wants Maya to be its new keeper. She becomes the center of a struggle between life and death.

This book was a 2012 finalist for a Cybils award in middle grade speculative fiction. The plot is interesting and addresses the idea of eternal life. Maya and her brother are contrasting characters. Maya blends in, but her little brother is outgoing, trusting, and quickly makes friends. The author uses them as pawns in the conflict. I had some difficulty getting into the book. I was trying to understand the concept of the cabinet, the uncle's character and intentions, and Cousin Louise. People had trouble seeing her, but I was trying to understand why. I enjoy mysteries, but I guess I had trouble understanding the background of the story enough to enjoy the plot. By the time I did, I was halfway through the book. However, the book was a Cybils finalist, so it may be worth your time to check it out.

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