Review Blog

Apr 22 2010

The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson

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Random House, 2010. ISBN: 978 1864719727.
(For ages 10 and up). Henry, the young protagonist of the story, has lived part of his life in Henry, Kansas, and part in the parallel universe of Hylfing. He visits the latter, using the cupboard as his entry point. On his return to Hylfing, he discovers his quest is to find the Chestnut King and enlist his help in defeating his enemy, Nimiane, the witch. Accompanied by his cousin, his friend and Franklin-Fat-Faerie, Henry follows his father's instructions and goes to meet his fate. He proves himself to be capable and truly comes of age by the end of the tale.
This is the third book in the 100 Cupboards series but, despite being a well written novel, I felt it did not work well as a stand-alone title. I had previously read the first title but missed the second book, Dandelion Fire. Hence, I found that, because of the sheer quantity of characters and events I had obviously missed, this story was initially quite difficult to follow. Usually, I find reading to be effortless and a sheer joy, whereas The Chestnut King was a chore until I had passed the mid way point of its 480 pages. Having finally placed the various characters and pieced together some of the events I had missed, I found the ending to be satisfactory and enjoyable. For the more mature readers and true lovers of fantasy, I have no doubt this would be a well accepted and sought after title but I would certainly discourage students from reading the series out of sequence.
Jo Schenkel, Pilgrim School

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