Kevin's Reviews > The Chestnut King

The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson
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's review
May 21, 12

Read in March, 2010

The second two volumes in the 100 Cupboards trilogy were interesting to me. I greatly enjoyed the first book, and felt that it was opening up a fascinating world, and I eagerly awaited learning about that world. However, Wilson takes a very "soft magic" approach to the series, and few answers are forthcoming, though many may be hinted at. Spoilers for the first volume follow. The story continues to follow Henry York, who now knowing that he is not from this world, wants nothing more than to avoid Boston and find the place he is truly from. However, he is still being hunted by the evil and immortal witch of Endor, who was not destroyed by being put through an unknown cupboard, but rather given an opportunity to find new servants. It is only as Henry begins his travels through many worlds that he realizes that this witch wants his particular blood and that he will not be safe until he is reunited with his family. Meanwhile, the witch's hunt drags the rest of Henry's family and friends from Kansas into the journey, and Henry's cousins discover that they may not be as rooted in Kansas as they had believed. These novels were very good, but they also show that Wilson has some room to improve as a writer. He excels at creativity and painting pictures of of large and mysterious worlds that feel quite deep. While the lack of explanations and softer world building isn't necessarily to my taste, I didn't find it to be detrimental to the books, and, in fact, I think that this might even make the series more exciting for young readers, as they can fill in the gaps with their own stories. The highlight of each of the novels in the series is the conclusion. Wilson showed an excellent hand at resolving issues and giving an emotionally satisfying conclusion that leaves a feeling of pleasurable contentment in your gut. So, in the end, where is the room for growth? Unfortunately, it's in characterization. I didn't feel like I was wrapped up in any of the characters, and the second two books introduce so many characters so quickly that you barely know them before you realize that they are major players. Still, I would recommend the series.

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