In book 1, 100 Cupboards, N.D. Wilson wove a fascinating story about a boy named Henry, visiting family in Henry Kansas. And if The Wizard of Oz has taught us anything it's that things that start in Kansas can get very strange. Continuing right from the previous book, the story picks up the pace and races on.
Henry must find out what he is really made of. After being touched by the magic life of a Dandelion, things for Henry change even more than he ever expected. He travels back and forth between Kansas, an unknown land, and some of the worlds from the cupboards. He meets fairies, wizards, friends and foes along the way. He travels to the central fairy mound, and even finds out who he really is.
There are battles and adventures galore in this book. The story follows Henry, his cousin and her family, as all three are separately making their way to the same location for a climactic battle between good and evil. Wizards turn against wizards, fairies revolt against the general counsel, and brothers thought long lost return to stand and fight shoulder to shoulder.
This story is full of magic, myths, mysteries and mayhem. It is a grand adventure across worlds and spanning generations. It is a story incredibly well written and masterfully told. The pacing is excellent, the characters real and believable. N.D. Wilson is on his way to becoming a master story teller. One day his name may be ranked with Lewis, Tolkien, Kipling and others.
Only a couple of weeks have passed since Henry York and his cousin, Henrietta, had their adventure in the mysterious cupboards adorning the wall of Henry's attic room.
Since he'd come to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousins in Kansas, Henry discovered the hidden wall of cupboards accidentally, and learned that each one leads to a different time and place. Built by their grandfather, who listed the combinations to the different worlds in his journal, the cupboards can only be traveled through via the large cupboard in Grandfather's room, which had been locked tight until the battle with the witch of Endor.
Henry's aunt and uncle receive a letter from his parent's lawyer saying that Henry must return to Boston in two weeks. Henry can't stand the thought of going back, especially now that he might have more of a history in one of the cupboard worlds than he'd ever imagined, and he grows desperate to escape through the door to Badon Hill, which calls to him in his dreams.
Henrietta, who'd stolen the key to Grandfather's bedroom so that she could explore the cupboards on her own, finally relents, and she and Henry go behind the barn to retrieve the key. While Henry keeps watch in the growing storm and Henrietta digs, he spots a curious dandelion that appears to glow. Reaching for it, Henry sees a flash of light and is knocked unconscious, with only a dandelion shaped burn on his hand to indicate what happened.
After a stranger visits him in his dreams, and he awakens blind, Henry knows that he must escape into the cupboards to find a better explanation of what's happening to him. Unfortunately, less compassionate forces are already interested in his growing abilities...
I must admit that I liked this book much better than its forerunner, 100 CUPBOARDS, if only for the fact that I felt much more involved with the characters and that we find out more about the history of the cupboards. Everything comes together in this volume, and, taken as a whole, this original concept makes for an interesting, action-filled story that will keep horror and fantasy lovers on their toes.