Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner

Title: Museum of Thieves
Author: Lian Tanner
Series: The Keepers #1
Published: Sept. 28, 2010 by Delacorte Books
Pages: 256 (hardcover)
Obtained from: CCBC book sale

Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime.

Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day.

When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving.

Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum—plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him. . . .

Museum of Thieves is a thrilling tale of destiny and danger, and of a courageous girl who has never been allowed to grow up—until now


For the first 50 pages or so I was scratching my head, trying to figure out which genre this book belonged to. Was it fantasy? Sci-fi? Steampunk? Dystopian? Well, the answered turned out to be none of the above…and at the same time, all of the above. Museum of Thieves was one of those rare books that spice up the genre by creating its own—and by doing it well. Tanner does a nice job constructing Goldie’s world without screaming “THIS IS HOW THINGS ARE,” at the reader. Instead, we get to figure things out by running away from a tyrannical government, exploring a shape-shifting museum, and chatting with the last brizzle hound—a kind of dog that can change its size depending on the situation. There is wonder on every page of this book, and Goldie was the kind of character you want to see discovering it for herself.

However, even though I LOVED the world that Tanner created, I never became emotionally invested in the book. The supporting cast of characters were flat, and some of Goldie's moments of self-discovery felt forced. We aren’t given much back story on anybody--even when the opportunity presented itself--and as a result, characters who should have come alive in my mind were just names on a page. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I spent more time wondering, "What did [insert name of a character] do to get here?" than paying attention to the life lessons they were trying to teach Goldie (which were a little obvious, I might add).

Despite this, I plan on reading the next book in the series since Museum of Thieves was so different than anything else I've read before. Young fans of fantasy will be able to enjoy this book easily, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something totally original. Plus, the idea of exploring an endless LIVING museum is pure, unfiltered awesome. I mean, come on, think about it: with the world's history at your fingertips, who needs school?