By N.D. Wilson
Twelve-year-old Henry York wakes up one night to find bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall above his bed and one of them is slowly turning…Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room—with a man pacing back and forth! Henry soon understands that these are not just cupboards, but portals to other worlds.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book. I was expecting something so juvenile that I would be bored and was preparing myself for something cutesy and not interesting. It does have a deliberate sort of tone that makes some people say it is a slow read, but in my opinion it is a ponderous and thoughtful tone that makes it a comfortable and enjoyable read. Henry is like many 12-year-old protagonists, a boy who has led a relatively sheltered life up until he has to go live with his aunt and uncle and cousins. He is relegated to the attic, and finds to his surprise one night, plaster in his hair and a doorknob in the wall. Henry proceeds to carve away the plaster in the attic, revealing not one door, but 99 doors that all seem to lead to different places. Places that don’t seem like earth. With the help of his cousin Henrietta (yeah, that bugged me) they begin to discover the rules of the cupboards and unravel the mystery of their family. This was, as I stated, a surprising read and I was liking where the book ended and was promising to go in the next 2 books of the trilogy. Henry is a likeable everyman character, and this series is one I’d recommend to boys especially and those who enjoy fantasy and magic.