Book Review of 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

My daughter insisted that I read 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson. A friend of mine, who knew that I enjoyed fantasy fiction, recommended it to me years ago. So, I finally got around to it and just finished devouring this story. I enjoyed it very much. This book belongs in the “children entering other worlds through secret doors” genre. With children as the main characters, it naturally appeals to young readers.

I give this book three stars, which is a pretty strong rating in my view. It is worth reading, especially if you enjoy fantasy fiction. Here are the positives:

  • Wilson delivers an intriguing plot and creative twist on engagement with other worlds or dimensions.

  • The “real-life” part of the book was grounded and realistic, which made the story more believable.

  • The reader meets an interesting and somewhat developed set of characters.

  • The story unfolds slowly and carefully, but not too slowly. Mystery is presented in helpful doses.

  • There is a clear presentation, and even the scent and feeling, of good and evil.

I give it three stars mainly because it is sometimes choppy and lacks depth. The story could have touched a deeper place in the reader if we had more glimpses into the  thoughts and feelings of the characters. The story mainly stayed on the surface, like watching a TV show. Wilson did not take full advantage of the opportunity that literature provides to take things deeper.

Despite all this, if I were rating this book from a young reader viewpoint, I would be tempted to give it four stars. And since it may appeal to young readers, parents should be aware that the book includes genuinely creepy characters and violence. It is probably appropriate for ages 12-13 and up, depending on the maturity of your child. 

It is important to point out that this is the first book in a trilogy. 100 Cupboards leaves the impression it was primarily a set up for the real story. We get peeks into other worlds and brief encounters with mysterious and powerful characters. We get snippets of a long history and ancestry that hint of epic developments in subsequent books (which I have not yet read). I assume we will get a more developed moral and metaphysical worldview as the story continues. I look forward to reading it!

Magic Alert: There is magic in this book, including what appears to be "good magic." If you do not believe such stories are edifying, then this book is not for you.

Have you read this book? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!