Mark’s #50 – Dandelion Fire by N. D. Wilson (466 pages)

In this sequel to 100 Cupboards (see my previous review here), 12-year-old Henry York decides to set off on another adventure through the cupboards in search of his birth parents.  Though the results of his last adventures in the cupboard were treacherous, this time things would get much worse for him, his cousins, his aunt and uncle, and others. Nimiane the witch has risen and has taken possession of a wizard named Darius into which the cupboards lead to an alternate world.

This story is meant for older kids (12+), with many dark scenes and scary moments.  It is a very creative storyline, though it was a bit convoluted at times, even for me.  This made it difficult for my daughter Zoe (age 7) and my adopted daughter Rebekah (age 13), who is still trying to grasp the english language, to follow along with the fast moving flow of the storyline.  I persisted in reading this lengthy book because I like the vocabulary and sentence structure that my daughters were exposed to, and the fact that if forced them to work hard to use their imaginations to follow along. I was happy to see the author tie up the loose ends of all the confusion toward the end of the book.

Though I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books, I imagine that this book, and the others in the series, is a bit like a mix of Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Lord of The Rings all together.  Henry’s adventures into the cupboards sets off an epic battle of Faeries, wizards, and men in place with names like Faeren Hall, Badon Hill, and Hyfling castle.  It’s a story of good versus evil, forgiveness, redemption, struggle, perseverance, finding your purpose, and sacrifice.  All these themes are richly woven into the story.

I’m guessing boys would enjoy the series the most, though there are plenty of valiant and heroic female characters throughout as well.  If you want to read highly imaginative book, or if you have some teenagers who would benefit from reading some good fiction, I would recommend this series.

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