The Cabinet of Earths, Anne Nesbet’s debut novel for tweens, blends fantasy, science, and horror into an irresistible story in the vein of the classic His Dark Materials series. Twelve-year-old Maya is miserable when she has to move from California to Paris. Not speaking French at a school full of snobby French girls is bad enough, but Maya believes there is something sinister going on in her new city. A purple-eyed man follows Maya and her younger brother, James. Statues seem to have Maya’s face. And an eerie cabinet filled with mysterious colored bottles calls to her. When James becomes the target of dark forces, Maya decides she must answer the call of the Cabinet of Earths, despite the danger.
Anne Nesbet teaches classes on silent films and Russian novels at UC Berkeley. The author of The Cabinet of Earths and A Box of Gargoyles, she lives near San Francisco with her husband, three daughters, and one irrepressible dog.
The Cabinet of Earths 4.6 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
This is a fabulous book i recomend this book to people who like adventure and mystery literature great book!
More than 1 year ago
The Paris Maya moves to is new to her...and more than just a little out-of-the-ordinary. At turns creepy, fun, tender, and deeply thought-provoking, this story is filled with descriptions you want to read two or three times before continuing on. To be savored, not rushed through. An engrossing story for middle graders (and older too!).
Looking forward to sequel!
krau0098 on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
I got an advanced copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. This sounded like a fun and magical middle grade read. There were some neat concepts in this story but it takes a long time for the story to get moving. By the time things are really starting to get interesting the book is over. I had an absolutely awful time with this book keeping my attention; I am not sure why but my attention just kept wandering off.Maya just wants her mother to recover from cancer and be well again. When Maya's father gets an offer to move to Paris it is a dream come true for most of the family. When Maya's brother is kidnapped it is up to Maya to scour the magical underworld of Paris for him. Little does Maya know two families are feuding (one believes in science and one in magic); at the center of it all is the Cabinet of Earths.I stopped and started this book a couple times. I was finally determined to get through it, but it was still a slow read and I had trouble reading for very long without loosing my interest. It's not that this is a bad story, in fact it is a pretty neat idea...it just takes a very long time to set up the story and none of the characters were really all that interesting to me. The story is somewhat complex. There are two families in Paris's magical underground. Both of them know the secret to immortality and at the heart of this secret is the Cabinet of Earths, an addictive substance called anbar, and a history of missing children.Maya and the surrounding characters were all okay; they just seemed a bit two dimensional to me. None of the characters were all that interesting and, while I didn't mind reading about them, they never really captured my imagination.The Cabinet of Earths and its purpose was a mystery for the first half or more of the book; why Maya was drawn to it and what it was used for was speculated about early on, but uncertain throughout. There are a lot of things going on throughout the beginning of the book that don't seem all that related. In the end they are all important, but rather than coming off as clever this just came across as kind of cobbled together.Overall an okay read. I loved the Paris setting and thought the concept of the Cabinet of Earths was interesting. None of the characters really drew me in though and it took a very long time for the story to get to the interesting parts. I kept trying to read this book and my attention would wander because I just couldn't get engaged with the story. By the end, the story just wasn't that memorable and I was happy to be done with it. It is set up so that the characters could have more adventures in future books, but I wasn't able to find info on whether or not there will be another installment in this series. Middle grade readers who enjoy a magical realism type story set in a foreign country might find some here to love. I personally won't be reading future books in this series.
Ronrose1 on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
When a young girl, named Maya, has to move from California with her family to Paris, France, she is devastated. Her mom is just recovering from a bout with cancer. Her dad has been offered a job in Paris. Maya and her younger brother must leave all their friends and learn to speak French, while trying to fit in at a new school. The wonderful sights and sounds of Paris are not totally lost on Maya. She makes a new friend named Valko, who speaks English better than she speaks French. He is the son of a foreign diplomat assigned to Paris. She also discovers there is a sinister reason her father was chosen to bring his family to live and work in Paris. The strangely young and handsome man who has hired her dad is somehow related to her family. Maya finds there is an unusual cabinet that holds mysterious bottles containing what appears to be grains of earth. Locked behind the shimmering, almost viscous, glass doors, the secrets contained in this cabinet could be key to the mysteries of her deceptively young relative and the reasons she and her family have been brought to Paris. Why do young people who were once vibrant, full of life and fun, suddenly seem to change their personalities and almost disappear?This story brought back many fond memories to one who was once young and in Paris. The descriptions of the streets, the houses, the Eiffel Tower, and other sites, all evoked fond memories of a time spent in Paris that was all too short. The book is full of mystery and adventure, sprinkled with some sadness, as life tends to be. It is a wonderful tale of living in a magical city full of mystery and excitement. Provided for review by the well read folks at Amazon Vine.
theokester on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
From the initial premise I was intrigued by The Cabinet of Earths. It felt freshly different than a lot of the other children's and young adult lit coming out these days. The premise is fun and interesting¿Maya is a 13 year-old girl who moves with her family to Paris when her father is asked to take a new job. She feels isolated, awkward and nervous. Her mother has cancer and although she tries to put on a good face, Maya is very worried about her mother. Maya's younger brother James is magnetically amiable and quickly fits into their new life. This makes Maya feel all the more isolated and gives us a good jumping off point for a somewhat standard coming-of-age tale.Instead of following a traditional mundane path, the story takes all sorts of twists and turns. Maya catches glimpses of strange things happening around her. She slowly begins to piece things together and realizes that the world around her isn't what it appears to be.The initial chapter of the book introduces the magical device from which the book derives its title. The "Cabinet of Earths" is quite literally a cabinet full of Earth. It has a shimmery glass front and is filled with jars and jars of Earth. The initial chapter borders on the gruesome side as we learn just what that Earth is all about¿it hearkens back to the ancient adage "dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return." In a strange melding of magic and science, certain people have discovered how to remove the "Earth" from a person and thus grant them immortality. The Cabinet is the holder of these Earths.As Maya stumbles on more and more aspects of the mystery we find more and more disturbing revelations. The author does a fabulous job of weaving together a very intricate story. There are times when things felt a bit muddled and I hoped for a little more clarity, but at the same time I felt like my own confusion mirrored Maya's unsettling situation and so came across as a sort of metafictional element.The book is often slow paced which is both a boon and a detriment. Because of the twists and turns in the plot, it's helpful to have the pace slow enough to give you a chance to try and unravel the knots. At the same time, the slow pace can border on boring at times when you want to speed along and try to figure out what happens next. It's a tricky balancing act. For me it worked most of the time. Once you get a hold on the plot line, it is very compelling and interesting and made me want to rush on. The interweaving of the Cabinet, Maya's family and the family controlling the Cabinet were very fun and interesting.I especially loved the characters and the setting. I felt that both were well handled and a lot of fun. I've never been to Paris and I have no idea how accurate this book does at representing the roads and buildings (though the acknowledgements did point out some research). Personally I found the Parisian setting very vivid and fun such that even though I didn't have a good point of reference for the places indicated, I quickly felt accustomed to the location.The characters were especially fun. Maya is a well rounded and interesting character full of nervous curiosity and a growing sense of self amid the hesitation and self-doubt of growing up. Her brother James was a little more one-dimensional as far as characters go but his personality and mannerisms made him a lot of fun. Maya's friend Valko was intriguing and mysterious and while I thought he was well done, I kind of wanted a little more from him. I really loved her "invisible" Cousin Louise¿not so much for her characteristics (which were invisibly average) but for the way aspects of the plot pivoted on her existence. All of the plot threads that wound around Louise were fascinating to me.As should be apparent, I really enjoyed this book. I have three small hesitations about giving this a hearty recommendation to everyone. The first two I mentioned above: 1) The plot is a little complex and twisted and easy t
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