Lying in bed at night, twelve-year-old Henry York can’t ignore the thumping and scratching he hears on the other side of the attic wall. He scrapes off the plaster and discovers doors—ninety-nine cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he hears the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room—with a man strolling back and forth! Henry and his cousin Henrietta soon understand that these are not just cupboards. They are, in fact, portals to other worlds.
100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson is the first book in a series of intrigue, adventure, fantasy, and world-hopping. I spotted it one day in a secondhand book store and had heard of the title before so thought I’d pick it up. I’m very fond of world jumping stories so was pretty excited about trying this book.
I was not disappointed.
Wilson has a very humorous flavor to his writing, making the reader smile and chuckle at every scene. Though the story did become its best about halfway through, I was pretty hooked from the beginning just from the quirky characters and writing style. As I followed Henry’s adventures as he tries to find out the puzzle of why there are these strange cupboards in his walls, I was deeply drawn into the mystery and fun of it all. This book had a very captivating flavor to it that really sets it apart from lots of fiction.
The book opens with Henry York coming to stay for a while with his aunt and uncle and their three daughters. As he tries to adjust to the bit of quirkiness of this family, he also discovers his wall is making strange noises. Soon he finds it covered in all sorts of curious cupboards. When one of his cousins, Henrietta, discovers it with him, they work together to attempt to solve the mystery of it all.
Henry soon discovers that there is much more to these cupboards than he ever expected.
With so many different doors, strange letters, fun characters, and mystery woven across every page, I found this story an extremely fun read.
The characters of this book really made it. I cannot say they were all well behaving, role models, but they were not all completely rotten either. Quirky is really the best way to explain them. Even amidst all the oddities happening around them, some of them act like it’s just another day. Though one of the cousins was pretty rotten, I fell in love with all the rest of the characters. They made me smile and laugh and constantly giggle at the bizarre things that came out of their mouths. Even if there wasn’t such an intriguing plot, I’d still probably love this book just from the fun the characters brought to it.
The main characters are pretty young, indicating this was meant for young readers, though the story is so interesting I think anyone would enjoy it really.
Pretty much all the material was clean. A bit of use of magic was in it. There was also a couple of little crude things in it, but, again, it was meant for a young audience so everything was very minor.
There was some violence throughout it. I think the author was fairly careful with this though, because whenever there was a moment of violence, he never went into deep detail over it, and often violent scenes were quickly brushed over.
So for ages…mmm…probably from 10 or 11 and up I’d think.
If you like stories that veer away from the mediocre, I’d highly suggest 100 Cupboards. It brings a very fascinating way of jumping across entirely different worlds, the most interesting of characters, and an all around captivating plot.
The next book of the series is called Dandelion Fire and I very much hope to acquire it soon!