Saturday, 30 October 2010

Review: Museum of Theives by Lian Tanner

Museum of Thieves (The Keepers #1)
by Lian Tanner

Genre: Fantasy
Age group: 8-12
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: October 2010
Format: Hardback, 330 pages
ISBN-13: 9781742371573

RRP: $22.99 AUD
Source: The lovely Kate from Allen & Unwin, for a "Bookmark It!" review. Thank you!
Cover love? 
Left - Australian Cover, Right - US Cover.
I actually prefer the US Cover, because of the amazing, beautiful art. The AUS cover is also wonderful, and looks artfully decayed.

'You're in the Museum now - and ANYTHING can happen!'
Goldie Roth lives in the city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime. But Goldie is both bold and impatient. She runs away to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets a boy named Toadspit and discovers dangerous secrets. A monstrous brizzlehound stalks the museum's corridors, and only a thief can find the way through its strange, shifting rooms.
Goldie and Toadspit have a talent for thieving. Which is just as well, because the treacherous Fugleman has his own plans for the museum, plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a very bold thief to stop him.
A thrilling tale of action and adventure.

Opening The Keepers is like taking the first step on an amazing adventure into a fantasy world. Magic springs off the very first page, as the reader is drawn into an enchanting universe where children are chained to Guardians, museums come alive, characters communicate with fingertalk, and people become nothingness.

Lian Tanner weaves the city of Jewel with a pen dipped in magic, and interlaced threads of originality and imagination. Her writing takes after Diana Wynne Jones, in that a captivating storyline, fantastical universes and magical abilities are  intertwined into a story that filled my mind with wonder.

While The Keepers is aimed at a younger age group that mine, it holds appeal to older readers too. It seemed to me that every chapter brought strange and unexpected possibilities, with a cast of characters that were unique and dynamic. The concept and setting are sensationally original, making for a story that all children will love to read.

One thing that I didn't like was the casual use of capitals in dialogue and exaggerated repetition of letters in words such as "HRRRRRRRMMMMMMMMMM". While onomatopoeia is expressive in moderation, I felt that the excessive use in this book is unnecessary. Vivid use of language devices such as similes and metaphors could have been used instead to give children a better sense of proper language convention.

However, The Keeper hold much potential as a classroom text, teaching children values of compassion, bravery and justice, while exposing them to a fantasy world. There are also interactive online games and support material on the official website that are wonderful supplements to the book.