Publisher: HarperCollins Childrens
Publish Date: January 3, 2012
On their first day in Paris, Maya and her little brother, James, find themselves caught up in some very old magic. Houses with bronze salamanders for door handles, statues that look too much like Maya's own worried face, a man wearing sunglasses to hide his radiant purple yes...nothing is what it seems. And what does all that magic want from Maya?
With the help of a friendly boy named Valko, Maya discovers surprises hidden in her family tree -- grandmothers who walked in magic, a cousin so unremarkable she's actually hard to see, and a terrible family habit of betraying one's brother. And now the shimmering glass Cabinet of Earths, at the heart of all these secrets, has chosen Maya to be its new Keeper. As she untangles the ties between the Salamander House, the purple-eyed man, and the Cabinet of Earths, Maya realizes that her own brother may be in terrible danger. To save him, Maya must take on the magical underworld of Paris...before it is too late.
Honestly, I’m desperately sad I didn’t like this one more.
I was attracted to The Cabinet of Earths because it sounded like a new and unique idea with a good heaping helping of adventure. I did end up experiencing a really new idea, but the adventure just kind of fell a little flat. I liked the Paris aspect of it, but it didn’t play into the story as much as I’d hoped.
There are mysteries that make you want to flip forward as fast as you can to find out what happens next and there are mysteries that make you want to flip backwards because you constantly feel like you missed something. I felt like I spent ¾ of the book with my forehead creased in confusion! Confusion definitely has its place in books, but this one just didn’t work for me.
The story wasn’t all bad. I really appreciated Maya’s love and commitment to her family. The cabinet and all its elements were pretty fascinating as well. I wish it had been in the story a little more.
The Nutshell: All in all, The Cabinet of Earths wasn’t a win for me, but it had a few good elements. The fantastical elements with the cabinet and earths was interesting, the Paris setting was good, and Maya was a good protag who loved her family more than anything. My biggest complaint lies in the fact that the story simply didn’t draw me in.
Series: Maya and Valko #1
Rating: 3 stars