Monday, April 4, 2011

Museum of Thieves

 All children in the city of Jewel are chained to a Blessed Guardian until their Separation Ceremony. This is for their own good and protection. On her way to the Separation Ceremony,  12-year-old Goldie, is in trouble again and is wearing the heavier, more cumbersome chains of punishment around her wrists for not obeying the Blessed Guardians. Goldie longs to be free and cannot wait for her chains to be cut, but while the ceremony is in process the man in charge of the Blessed Guardians, Fugelman, bursts into the auditorium announcing to the parents that there was a bombing that killed a child. Horrified, the adults stop the ceremony because they feel the children should not be separated from their protectors, the Blessed Guardians, with a Bomber on the loose.

Goldie cannot stand the thought of being so close to her freedom only to have it snatched away. She escapes from the ceremony and finds refuge in the Museum of Dunt while her parents are imprisoned for her running away. The museum is alive and keeps balance in the city. Goldie is taught to be a "keeper" of the museum with the help of another runaway named, Toadspit, a magical dog, and three adults. When the museum comes under attack, Goldie is the only one who can save it and the city.

The story is full of action and has some some strong characters. The plot has some incidents that are never explained such as who set off the bomb. I think it is Fugelman who wants to control the city but it is never confirmed. Also, why does the museum need Goldie as a Keeper? I think it's because she can withstand the wildness of it better than the others when they sing the First Song, but again, it never says exactly why. I also found it too unbelieveable when the levee broke that the people wouldn't run to higher ground for safety because the city had crippled them so much with the inability to think for themselves.  The citizens do show signs of disobeying the system with Goldie. I think survival instincts would have kicked in for them to run. I thought Fugelman was a one-dimensional villian and that the friction between him and his sister, The Protector, should have been explained more. Why was he jealous of her? There is a scene at the end of the book where she basically says good ridance to her brother who is probably dead and deserves it. She's a kind person and it was out of character. I would have shown her to be sad as well as angry. I think their relationship should have been fleshed out more and made more complicated.  But these were small incidents in a book that overall had fine pacing and a strong main character.

One reason Goldie is chosen as a Keeper is that she is a thief like Toadspit. The author tries to explain through the adult, Olga, that she doesn't mean thieving but being brave and standing up for what is right. She means civic duty or civic responsibility but uses the word thief. I thought Olga got preachy at one part about overprotective parents as well. It wasn't really necessary because the whole novel shows this. I feel like I'm nitpicking this book because I know students will like it, but I think all the little things make it an average read.

Reading Level 4.7

:-) :-) :-) 3 Smileys

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