Friday, March 16, 2012

ARC Review: The Cabinet of Earths

The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbit, 2012. 272 pages. Published by HarperCollins. Source: Published for review (requested).
On their first day in Paris, Maya and her little brother, James, find themselves caught up in some very old magic. Houses with bronze salamanders for door handles, statues that look too much like Maya's own worried face, a man wearing sunglasses to hide his radiant purple eyes . . . nothing is what it seems. And what does all that magic want from Maya?

With the help of a friendly boy named Valko, Maya discovers surprises hidden in her family tree--grandmothers who walked in magic, a cousin so unremarkable she's actually hard to see, and a terrible family habit of betraying one's brother. And now the shimmering glass Cabinet of Earths, at the heart of all these secrets, has chosen Maya to be its new Keeper.

As she untangles the ties between the Salamander House, the purple-eyed man, and the Cabinet of Earths, Maya realizes that her own brother may be in terrible danger. To save him, Maya must take on the magical underworld of Paris . . . before it is too late.
First Sentence (ARC):
It was his own grandmother who fed Henri-Pierre to the Cabinet of Earths, long ago when he was only four.
What made me want to read The Cabinet of Earths was the mystery behind the cabinet of earths. I had to know what it meant and how it would take Maya and her brother James on an adventure. Did it live up to my expectations, yes.

One of the things I really enjoyed about The Cabinet of Earths was Ms. Nesbit's writing. I thought she did an excellent job of blending together the various elements in the book-magic and a evil society with their devious plan.
I loved the fact that just as you thought you had the Society's past and present all figured out and were positive you knew where things were heading, you'd read a little more and bam, that face of the game had changed and you were back at square one. I absolutely love when the plot is pretty complex and I do not know how everything is going to end, and for that The Cabinet of Earths is spot-on.

I must talk about chapter one. I really think that Ms. Nesbit did an excellent job of setting the story up by starting the book with backstory and a little history on the Cabinet. There's only been one other book that I liked that started out with back story and when done well it can be the best thing for a book, which is just what happens in The Cabinet of Earths. It definitely helped having that little bit of history of the Cabinet and the role it played in various characters life.
I found Maya to be a pretty likable character. One of the reasons I found her to be a good character was that she cared deeply for her family and that she, unlike most characters her age, was able to look beneath the mask of normality that her parents tried to present and that she was able to see that her mother was not doing nearly as well as she could be.
I am not all together sure why, but Valko was my absolute favorite character in The Cabinet of Earths. It could have been that he was an excellent friend to Maya and that he was just genuinely a nice kid or because he seemed to be ready to participate in an adventure even when the stakes were not clear to him.
Gosh, favorite thing from The Cabinet of Earths would have to be Valko. Yes, I know that's a character and not a thing, but Valko was absolutely my favorite person in the book. I thought he made an excellent addition to the cast and I loved how he was willing to go along with Maya even when he did not really know that truth of what was going on.
While The Cabinet of Earths was a highly enjoyable read, there was one thing that kept it from being a five pineapple read for me. And that would have to be that it was kind of sad. While having a sad element is not a bad thing for a book to have especially when it is done well, which it definitely was in The Cabinet of Earths. My problem is that I was not expecting it. I thought it was going to be a light, action-packed read. Regardless, I thought Ms. Nesbit did an excellent job of portraying the desperation that drove Maya to make the deal that would save her mother.... Sorry I cannot tell you how that goes because it would give EVERYTHING away.
Final Verdict: The Cabinet of Earths a magical book full of twists and turns.
The Cabinet of Earths earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.

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