Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bookanista Review: Museum of Thieves, by Lian Tanner--and a Giveaway!

Since I missed Marvelous Middle Grade Monday this week for the Paying it Forward with Partials giveaway, I thought I'd use today's Bookanista review to spotlight a fabulous middle grade book--the first of a new series: THE MUSEUM OF THIEVES, by Lian Tanner.

The Random House publicity people RAVED about it when they gave me the ARC at Comic Con, and it has been staring at me from my TBR pile ever since like, why are you neglecting me? (To which I've been whispering: I'm sorry, it's been a CRAZY summer.) But I *finally* had a chance to dive in and wow...I've been missing out. It's every bit as wonderful as the PR people claimed--and then some.

I mean, even the cover is beyond awesome:



I LOVE how it's illustrated, but it doesn't show the kids faces--my preference, I like to imagine their faces myself--and it's the kind picture I could stare at for hours, soaking up all the details.

Here's the official blurb from the publisher:

Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime.

Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day.


When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving.

Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum—plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him. . . .


Museum of Thieves is a thrilling tale of destiny and danger, and of a courageous girl who has never been allowed to grow up—until now.

What's cool about this book--well, one of many things--is that it has a slight dystopian vibe going on. Goldie lives in a world where they literally keep their children in chains, trying to guard and protect them from every little thing--which of course just means they've created a society riddled with fear and unhappiness and children who are never allowed to grow up. It's a society where even a tiny cut requires a month of bed rest, where they fear water, where they've gotten rid of animals because they fear plague, and where the Blessed Guardians have supreme, unjust power. And amongst all the suffocating, debilitating rules is the Museum, a place full of dark secrets and terrible dangers--and the more the Guardians try to control it, the more they threaten to destroy everyone.

I won't say more on the plot (wouldn't want to give anything away), but I have to gush just a little bit more. I love strong, smart, brave female characters--especially in middle grade (where there sometimes aren't as many)--and Goldie is a fabulous example. And the world--especially the museum! Stairways that are alive and walls that have to be sung to and rooms that shift and move. Not only was I completely jealous of the imagination and creativity required to create a place like that, but the museum itself is also a beautiful metaphor about the futility of trying to lock bad things away and pretend they don't exist. They can be calmed and contained--but they can never be ignored or forgotten. Or even fully controlled.

Some very cool lessons run through this book--but they're so intricately woven into the world and the plot that you never feel like you're being preached to. And the story is so page turning I read the book in one sitting. So yes, in case you can't tell--I loved this book, and can't wait for the next one (which...sadly, will be awhile. They just released this book in September--le sigh). And because I love it so much, I want to share my ARC with one of you.

And again, I'm going to make the giveaway nice and simple. If you're a follower of my blog, leave a comment on this post between now and 11:59 PM on Friday, November 19th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Saturday, November 20th. International entries welcome. 


For more awesome book recommendations, check out what my fellow Bookanistas are raving about today:


Lisa and Laura Roecker and Myra McEntire spread some love for SELLING HOPE
Elana Johnson is nuts about NIGHTSHADE
Christine Fonseca swoons over SIREN
Shelli Johannes-Wells is over the moon about THE ORACLE TO REBOUNDS and her fab giveaway.
Carolina Valdez Miller is struck by SHIP BREAKER.
Megan Miranda is in love with I AM THE MESSENGER

54 comments:

  1. Okay, i'll be the first one. This book does look cool. And even though mg doesn't usually get as much buzz online - it's okay. If it's good, then word spreads between kids!

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  2. Looks like a super book, Shannon! I think perhaps you are plotting to make MG the new black. Your reviews are making it hard for me to keep blasting through my reading pile of YA and adult. I will, of course, have to pick this one up as well. It sounds very mysterious and fun. Loving the whole "control" premise and how Goldie breaks away to go her own way. Super review, as usual!

    P.S. That cover is fantastic! So vivid and eye catching!

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  3. Ahh--it looks like comments weren't working this morning for some reason--sorry about that, guys! But I reset the post and they're up now. *grumbles about technology fails*

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  4. This entry was emailed to me:

    Hi there Shannon!

    I can't seem to comment directly to the site. Hope it's okay that I email you!

    I'm not much of an MG reader, though I have read some great ones lately. :)
    I like the sound of Museum of Thieves, and the cover is so, so pretty.

    Old GFC Follower.

    Cass

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  5. How fun! Exciting book. I would love to read it. Count me in!

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  6. Oooooh, this looks right up my alley! Count me in. :) I'm definitely putting it on my TBR, win or no win.

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  7. I'd love to enter. This looks like a book I'd love to share with my kids

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  8. Sounds like an awesome book. And I could stare at that cover for hours! So detailed, it's amazing.

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  9. Here I am! I made it! And this book sounds beyond awesome - I wants it. My precioussssss. :-)

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  10. The book sounds AMAZING! I love the cover!

    Don't you hate it when technology starts acting up, though? :D

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  11. I'm loving the cover too. Its sounds like a great book, so please enter me in the giveaway!

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  12. Ooh, yeah - a dystopian Middle Grade! And the cover is so rich, you're right - I could stare at it for hours, too. Enter me for sure!

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  13. This book sounds great. Thx for pointing it out. Would love to win!

    jenbighear(at)yahoo.com

    Jen @ I Read Banned Books.

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  14. Okay, I write and read lotsa MG. So I gots to have this one. PICK ME, PICK ME! *she jumps up and down*

    BTW , what a MOST awesome cover.

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  15. +JMJ+

    The cover looks amazing and the story sounds great! When Dystopian Fiction meets MG, I get happy. (Anyone else love The City of Ember???)

    Please enter me in the draw, Shannon!

    I'm an old GFC Follower and my e-mail address is on my profile.

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  16. I'm kinda fascinated by dystopian books, they seems so "possible" you know? They make us think about our actual world and habits etc
    This one sounds really great!
    Thank you very much for the contest! I'd love to enter :)

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  17. You always find the most wonderful books! And you've had this one since Comic-Con?! You're holding out on us!

    But seriously, it sounds like a truly wonderful book. Love it!

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  18. I must agree with you about the cover. My son would pick this book up in a heartbeat. As always, thanks for the great review!

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  19. What a great book - and perfect timing too! I totally need some great MG reads for Christmas presents. Yea, that's right...I give books for Christmas. :D

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  20. Shannon, thanks for the awesomeness.
    Christmas is coming way to fast and this would be a great gift.

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  21. Damn! I didn't think to just email you my comment.

    *shuffles off and grumbles about blog readers that are smarter than he is*

    (I learned how to do those stage directions thingies from my daughter. It is right to use third person, right?)

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  22. Oh and who won Wondla? And how did I miss the announcement? If it wasn't me I have to go buy it.

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  23. Dear Sharon, thanks so much for the outstanding review. As I'm sure you know, it's a terrifying thing to send a new book out into the world, so it's particularly nice when someone pats it on the head and tells you that you raised it well! *gr*
    I agree totally about the cover art. The longer you look at it the more you see, and I love it to bits. Jon Foster did an amazing job. Incidentally he has also illustrated some of the other rooms in the museum, in the game on the series website http://www.thekeeperstrilogy.com

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  24. Oh my stinkin' root! I love that cover...and I love your gushing. It's okay. Hey, thanks for the memo. *winky*

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  25. Toadspit and shifting rooms. I'm sold. :)

    I'm glad it kept harassing you from your TBR pile, because now I'm adding it to mine.

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  26. Great review. I love how you let me know about books I'd love that I never heard of. Please enter me in the contest.

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  27. Okay, you seriously find all the coolest sounding MG books. I love the idea of this museum!

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  28. Cool book! Glad you enjoyed it!
    Thanks for the giveaway! Not much of an MG fan, but it looks good!
    rivkarno1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  29. Dude you had me at the cover! It's awesome! And the plot sounds really cool--where would I be without you in my life Ms. Shannon? Definitely missing out on all these awesome MGs for one thing!

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  30. Oops, I called you Sharon! Sorry, Shannon. I hate it when people get my name wrong!

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  31. Ok the cover is just Ah-Mazing! And the story sounds totally intriguing too! You can be sure I want to be entered for this one! :D

    ~Briana
    thebookpixie[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  32. LOL Lian--no worries at all! (I didn't even notice) Thanks for stopping by. So glad you enjoyed the review. Your book deserves every ounce of gushing and praise I can give it. I WANT THE NEXT ONE!!!!! :D

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  33. Ooooo! I want this one - it would be perfect for my classroom. I love daring, female MG characters!

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  34. Is it the first one in a series then? It sounds like a great read.

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  35. okay I love this cover...you peaked my interest with your wonderful review. I decided to pop my head out during NaNo and LOVE that I was able to view another wonderful Bookanista review!!

    Sounds like a wonderful read!

    As always a lovely post!

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  36. I would have been interested in this one simply because of the cover.

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  37. Middle Grade, how I do love thee... Thanks for an excellent review, Shannon. This looks like a great read.

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  38. I just saw this at the book store today. Looks awesome. Enter me please :)

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  39. I keep pledging not read series/ trilogies til the last book in the series is coming out. I read Hunger Games and Catcing Fire a month before Mockingjay and it nearly killed me.

    Let's not get started on Harry Potter. Read the first four in a week, and had to wait a year for the 5th.

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  40. Awesome cover! I agree with you, Shannon, about liking to see the characters faces. I like to see their expressions. This sounds like a really good book. Thanks for sharing about it.

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  41. Your review of this book had me thinking about it on the way to work! I want to go in that museum!

    I'll post a link on my sidebar.

    lsloan (at) yahoo.com

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  42. Oh my gosh!!! I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK!!! I'm such a nut for MG. It looks and sounds stunning!

    I just finished a completely delightful MG today that I'd never picked up before even though the series started a few years ago: OLIVIA KIDNEY. Ever read it? So much fun! And ghosts! And kooky people in a Manhattan apartment building. LOVE!

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  43. This book looks great and I LOVE the cover. Very excited to read it! Thanks! seescootread[at]gmail[dot]com

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  44. I love the dystopian aspect to this book. It sounds like a really good read.

    thanks for the review and giveaway

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  45. This book sounds like great fun. Please include me in the contest.

    Thanks for a faboo review. :)

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  46. Count me in please!:D I'd love to read this.
    k_anon[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

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  47. First time I hear about this but it sounds really good. I like the sound if it's dystopian side :P
    Thanks for sharing!

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  48. Me!! Me!! me!!! :-) *Waving hand and jumping up and down cos dang!! There's a crowd already and they're all taller and earlier than her*!!!!!

    :-) Take care
    x

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  49. As a middle school teacher I'm always looking for great MG books that aren't lame and cutest. This sounds AWESOME. Thanks for the contest!

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  50. Sounds like a great book! I'd never make it in Jewell. Love the cover as well.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

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  51. Looks nice! As a review blogger, I love MG!

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  52. I'm not an entry, because I already have a copy, but I just wanted to chime in with the love for this book. It's made of awesome.

    I picked it up on a trip for work in a tiny little independent bookshop. The author's a local, and they were making a point of getting her stuff front and centre. Good lesson there about making connections!

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  53. Woops!I left an incorrect email address.

    sloanl29 (at) yahoo.com

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3