Chris's Reviews > Museum of Thieves

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
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's review
Jan 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, j, not-graphic

The smallpox virus. It used to cause great harm and kill many people. Now it's been wiped out and will never hurt anyone again. Unless . . . one of the few samples preserved for scientific purposes ever gets out to spread through a world unprepared to handle it.

Now: imagine that scenario taken to its extreme, applied to all dangers, with the representative samples hidden away in a museum no one knows of.

The city of Jewel is the safest city in the world. All dangers, big and small, from war and plague and famine to rats and snakes and even dogs are just legends from an earlier time. Until they are adults, children are constantly kept safe by Guardians, who watch over them and track their movements with the chains around their wrists that bind them together.

Except that Goldie can't stand the restraints. She is ecstatic that Separation Day now includes those who are turning thirteen, because it means she will experience freedom for the first time ever. Then there is a bombing and violent death, the first ones in recent memory, and it seems the dangers that the Guardians are always preaching about aren't just legends. Separation Day is canceled and Goldie, in a panic about losing her freedom, runs away.

She has no one to turn to and nowhere to go. Then a strange man leads her to the Museum of Dunt, where she discovers all the dangers of the past are secretly kept. And where she begins her training to become one of the museum's keepers.

But someone was responsible for that bombing. And Goldie and the museum may not remain hidden for long.

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"The people of Jewel," said Olga Ciavolga, "treat their children like delicate flowers. They think they will not survive without constant protection. But there are parts of the world where young boys and girls spend weeks at a time with no company except a herd of goats. They chase away wolves. They take care of themselves, and they take care of the herd. . . .

"And so, when hard times come--as they always do in the end--those children are resourceful and brave. If they have to walk from one end of the country to the other, carrying their baby brothers and sisters, they will do it. If they have to hide during the day and travel at night to avoid soldiers, they will do it. They do not give up easily. . . .

"Of course, I am not saying that it is a
good thing to give children such heavy responsibilities. They must be allowed to have a childhood. But they must also be allowed to find their courage and their wisdom, and learn when to stand and when to run away. After all, if they are not permitted to climb the trees, how will they ever see the great and wonderful world that lies before them?"
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