29 January 2012

The Cabinet of Earths; Anne Nesbit

The Cabinet of EarthsThe Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun, interesting twist on the idea of immortality and the marriage between magic and science. Maya is the bookish, normal daughter in the Davidson family; her mother is recovering from cancer, her father is a scientist and her younger brother, James, is one of those naturally charming, gregarious kids everyone loves. The family moves to Paris for a year while her father works with the Society of Philosophical Chemistry, and she's thrown into a school where she must speak French and is an outsider - although she does make one friend, a Bulgarian named Valko, who lived in America for four years and speaks English.

Maya spends time with her cousin, Louise, a very faint, forgettable, grey woman who as a child survived a church collapse in Italy and through Louise meets another cousin, Henri-Pierre, who lives a very secluded life making opera sets and watching over a rather odd looking cabinet. There's another cousin, another Henri, who is young and dashing and yet somehow a little creepy. The three Fourcroys are descended from the original Fourcroy, a scientist, and his wife, a Lavirotte, a witch. Maya appears to take after the Lavirotte side, which will have consequences for her family...

There are touches of Lewis' Magician's Nephew, Tuck Everlasting and more modern "weird things happen to ordinary people" books, but the blend is new and fresh.

ARC provided by publisher.

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