The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Cabinet of Earths
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The Cabinet of Earths

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by Anne Nesbet
     
 

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On their first day in Paris, Maya and her little brother, James, find themselves caught up in some very old magic. Houses with bronze salamanders for door handles, statues that look too much like Maya’s own worried face, a man wearing sunglasses to hide his radiant purple eyes . . . nothing is what it seems. And what does all that magic want from Maya?

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Overview

On their first day in Paris, Maya and her little brother, James, find themselves caught up in some very old magic. Houses with bronze salamanders for door handles, statues that look too much like Maya’s own worried face, a man wearing sunglasses to hide his radiant purple eyes . . . nothing is what it seems. And what does all that magic want from Maya?

With the help of a friendly boy named Valko, Maya discovers surprises hidden in her family tree—grandmothers who walked in magic, a cousin so unremarkable she’s actually hard to see, and a terrible family habit of betraying one’s brother. And now the shimmering glass Cabinet of Earths, at the heart of all these secrets, has chosen Maya to be its new Keeper.

As she untangles the ties between the Salamander House, the purple-eyed man, and the Cabinet of Earths, Maya realizes that her own brother may be in terrible danger. To save him, Maya must take on the magical underworld of Paris . . . before it is too late.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nesbet’s auspicious debut novel plunges readers into the story of 13-year-old Maya and her five-year-old brother, James, who are descendants of two feuding families with expertise in science and magic. After the siblings’ chemist father receives a fellowship, Maya and her family move from Cali-fornia to Paris, where she quickly becomes enmeshed in a mystery involving the disappearance of local children in decades past; “anbar,” an alchemical substance with rejuvenating powers; and the strange and beautiful Cabinet of Earths that seems to call out to her. With her mother’s health in decline, James the target of evil forces, and distant relatives coming out of the woodwork, Maya decides to answer the call of the cabinet, despite the dangers, to try to set things right. Blending elements of magic, science, and even horror with evocative prose and a confident narrative voice, Nesbet immerses readers in her contemporary Parisian setting. At its heart, this is a story about change, as Maya struggles to accept unwelcome developments while growing aware of the sinister extent to which some will go in the name of self-preservation. Ages 10–up. (Jan.)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Nesbet plays on both the charm of her Parisian setting and the shadowy eeriness of a city steeped in history to create an alluring sense of place that envelops readers from the first page.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Nesbet plays on both the charm of her Parisian setting and the shadowy eeriness of a city steeped in history to create an alluring sense of place that envelops readers from the first page."
VOYA - Jen McIntosh
"It was his own grandmother who fed Henri-Pierre to the Cabinet of Earths, long ago when he was only four." With this opening line, Anne Nesbet's fantasy novel instantly hooks readers and keeps them engaged throughout the entire story. Although the novel opens up with poor Henri's tale, thirteen-year-old Maya and her five-year-old brother James take center stage when they move to Paris and discover the Cabinet of Earths and its sinister secrets. Henri's ancestors found a way to merge science and magic, which they used to achieve immortality, but at a terrible cost. Maya has enough on her plate, dealing with homesickness, jealousy, and her mother's cancer, but the Cabinet of Earths chooses her as its next keeper. Maya must decide between saving her mother's life and doing what she knows is right. Nesbet has written a unique, interesting fantasy with just enough suspense to keep readers turning the pages long into the night. The language is descriptive and lively; the Cabinet of Earths and the mysterious Henri-Pierre's house leap off the pages. Fantasy readers of all ages, especially middle school students, will enjoy this story. Reviewer: Jen McIntosh
Children's Literature - Jody Little
When Maya and her little brother James move to Paris with their parents, they have no idea what adventures await them and what interesting people they will meet. First, there is Cousin Louise who seems strangely invisible. There is the beautiful and friendly, purple-eyed man they meet on the Paris streets, and then there is the old man who is the keeper of a mysterious cabinet filled with little jars of earth which Maya finds fascinating. Soon Maya is invited to a party hosted by a group of people which her new friend, Valko, calls the ?Beautiful People.' It is at this party that Maya and Valko begin to unravel a long history of secrets, including the blending of a family of magicians and a family of scientists who create a secret world of immortality. Tension arises when Maya discovers her brother has been kidnapped by the beautiful, purple-eyed man. Searching for her brother leads Maya through the underground tunnels of Paris where she learns the truth about herself, her family and the cabinet of earths. Author Nesbet skillfully weaves a fantastical tale of intriguing characters, plot twists, family secrets and the beautiful, mysterious city of Paris. The storytelling is at times old-fashioned and gothic in quality, but the pace is fast and readers will stick with the main character, Maya, as she searches for answers in magic and science. Reviewer: Jody Little
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Twelve-year-old Maya Davidson; her five-year-old brother, James; and their parents have moved to Paris from California while her father works on a research fellowship. Maya's mother, who is recovering from cancer treatment, has always dreamed of living there, so Maya tries to be positive in spite of feeling extremely out of place. As the siblings begin to explore the city, Maya sees a salamander-shaped doorknob that seems to move, meets a strange man with dark glasses, and is introduced to an almost-invisible cousin named Louise. With the help of her new friend Valko, she begins to learn about her family's secret past and their role as caretakers of the mysterious Cabinet of Earths and its magical glass jars. When James disappears, Maya has to use what she has learned and the mysteries that surround her to save her brother, escape her family's dark legacy, and try to find a new beginning. Maya's story opens slowly and then unfolds more and more rapidly as readers join Maya, Louise, and Valko in combining the clues they gather into an understanding of what the Cabinet of Earths is and its power of time. Maya is a fully realized character, well aware of her social awkwardness compared to her charismatic younger brother, and readers will be rooting for her to find her strengths and save the day. This unique fantasy will catch its audience's attention and leave them thinking about time, families, and immortality.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Paris. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Les Invalides. Then there's that sinister cult addicted to immortality. Prompted by her father's job offer and to ultimately fulfill the wish of her mother, 13-year-old Maya and her family uproot their lives in California for an across-the-pond move to Paris. Though she has her objections, Maya can hardly voice them to her mother, a delicate cancer survivor. So, despite her brewing frustrations, she is dutifully accommodating, all while acting as the unpaid babysitter for her ebullient younger brother, James, to smooth the transition. However, Maya and James soon discover a hypnotically alluring cabinet, peculiar branches in their family tree and an underground society with a morbid recipe for staying eternally young. Though it's easy to generalize this as a coming-of-age tale, Nesbet more specifically pinpoints this as the story of a young girl coming to terms with mortality while realizing that finding her intrinsic worth makes her content and also inspires her appreciation of those around her. The underground society (to which Maya and her brother are more closely tied than she could have ever imagined) morphs from simply a strange affair to an intriguing mystery to downright chills. While touches of the ever-popular fantasy theme of vampirism are definitely there, they are appropriately held at bay. A charmingly creepy European vacation for fans of chillers and thrillers. (Suspense. 12-15)
The Horn Book
“Nesbet’s first novel is an impressive achievement, its substance and style gracefully blended. Above all, Maya is a fully rounded, complex character, someone whose qualities and struggles are admirably and appealingly central to the fantasy.”
Shelf Awareness
“This debut novel of intrigue, family betrayal and an unsolved case of missing children will grip readers from first page to last. Readers will be swept along by the novel’s swift pace and enjoy the mystery’s unraveling with Maya and Valko as their companions.”
Booklist
“In her debut novel, Nesbet has crafted a carefully imagined, magical world—one that is shrouded in mystery and keeps the reader engaged and guessing. With imaginative alchemy, compelling action, and sensitive characterizations, this novel will undoubtedly win over fantasy fans.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“Nesbet plays on both the charm of her Parisian setting and the shadowy eeriness of a city steeped in history to create an alluring sense of place that envelops readers from the first page.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Nesbet plays on both the charm of her Parisian setting and the shadowy eeriness of a city steeped in history to create an alluring sense of place that envelops readers from the first page.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061963131
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/03/2012
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Anne Nesbet is the author of The Cabinet of Earths, which was named a Best of the Best Book by the Chicago Public Library. She is a professor of Slavic languages and literatures and of film studies at UC Berkeley. She lives near San Francisco with her husband, several daughters, and one irrepressible dog.

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