The presentation of the book turns what could have been an epic fantasy into something a little more real and a little closer to home. Most of the book is spent in Kansas, which is the fundemental difference between this and other world-hopping novel's like C. S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew. In Lewis' novel, Digory and Polly run around with witches, talking Lions and flying horses like it's second nature. In 100 Cupboards, Henry and Henrietta actually manage a little disbelief before being overcome by curriosity. I'm not saying one is better than the other; I'm just saying that the two styles are very different.
After spending thirty minutes writing my best wrant about all the book's faults, I hope I haven't made it seem like it's not worth reading. It is, mostly because the second two novels in the trilogy, Dandelion Fire and The Chesnut King, improve upon the first novel. So, if you ever get a chance, read N. D. Wilson's 100 Cupboards. It's well worth it.
I did one on Dandelion Fire, which is book two. Just search, "Dandelion Fire *Book two of 100 Cupboards* or something like that. I just finished the third one this morning, and it does get much better.
Twelve-year-old Henry York wakes up one night to find bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall above his bed and one of them is slowly turning . . .Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room–with a man pacing back and forth! Henry soon understands that these are not just cupboards, but portals to other worlds.
100 Cupboards is the first book of a new fantasy adventure, written in the best world-hopping tradition and reinvented in N. D. Wilson's inimitable style.