Book Review: Dandelion Fire

Dandelion Fire is the second book in N.D. Wilson’s series. Read my review of the first book, 100 Cupboards here. Some small spoilers about 100 Cupboards ahead. Basically it is impossible to talk about Dandelion Fire without a bit of background from 100 Cupboards. This is not a series to read out of order. In 100 Cupboards we learn that Henry is a very special boy who lived with his parents until one day they were kidnapped and he was sent to live with his Uncle Frank, Aunt Dolly, and three cousins in Kansas. During his stay in Kansas, Henry discovered 99 cupboards hidden behind the plaster in the wall behind his bed. With the help of his cousin Henrietta, Henry found one more cupboard in a secret room behind a secret door that could only open with a magical key. Using dials located upstairs in the attic, Henry and Henrietta explored the 100 magical cupboards with the help of their grandfather’s diary. As a result of their adventures, a boy named Richard followed them back into the real world as well as an evil Queen that Henrietta and Richard managed to shove back through the cupboards into another world after Henry had fought her. Henry was hurt, but he was alive.
In the second book, Dandelion Fire, Henry is starting to heal from his adventures with the 100 cupboards and dealings with the Evil Queen. His parents have been found and in two weeks he must return to live with them and leave Kansas. Henry has no desire to live with his adoptive parents. Henry was adopted because he is actually from one of the magical worlds behind one of the cupboard doors. He doesn’t know which cupboard and he doesn’t know why his biological parents sent him through the cupboards to Kansas. After the fight with the Evil Queen, Henry’s cousin Henrietta buried the magical key that opened up the secret door to a secret room that led to the magical cupboards. Henry figures his only way to not go with his adoptive parents is to explore the cupboards again, and so he and Henrietta dig up the key. Then some magic happens right there in Henry, Kansas and it is the start of an all new adventure for Henry and Henrietta.
The second book in this series was extremely interesting. Once again the book dealt with some dark and scary moments, even though it is a book for kids. I’ve been telling the story to my 6 year old niece and I’ve prettied up the story a bit for her. Though the book is marketed toward younger readers, I think it would depend upon the maturity of a kid as to whether this is a good series for them to read. However, I loved the mysteries presented in this book, the different connections that crept together, and was thoroughly surprised by the direction the book took. It is a though provoking book, the children do learn lessons, and they grow as people. A trick that not every author does as aptly as N.D. Wilson.There were some points in the book that felt like filler, but mostly everything that happened had a purpose which was revealed by the end of the book.  I thought this was a great fantastical series with some overtones of Judeo/Christian beliefs that were not so heavy handed as to take away from the over all story of the book. I read through the book quickly and found it a fun read. The direction of the story definitely did not go as I thought the series would go, which was a pleasant surprise, but also a bit off kilter from what the first book presented. I guess I thought I was going to get Indian in the Cupboard or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and instead I got a Harry Potter book by C.S. Lewis. Dandelion Fireis a good book, an interesting series, and I am definitely going to read the third book.

Read another review here and here.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Dandelion Fire

  1. Great review, Jami. You’re definitely right in that this one has some surprisingly dark themes and moments–the third is very dark, too. I think ND Wilson is a Christian scholar (although I could be wrong), which partly explains the CS Lewis-like vibe! Of course, given my background I suspect that I missed quite a bit of the Christian symbolism myself…

    • According to wikipedia N.D. Wilson has a definite Christian background. I thought the Christian symbolism was permeated much of the book, but the story was also full of other concepts, ideas, and religions that I thought it was well done. I enjoyed the darkness of the story, and was not disappointed. Maybe slightly wistful that there was less humor to be found than the previous book.

  2. nice review, I especially like the “Harry Potter written by C.S. Lewis” remark. I, too, was happy to find this series and N.D. Wilson and am glad to find someone who is enjoying these books, and for similar reasons.

    thanks for the link.

  3. Pingback: Review: The Chestnut King | Absurdly Nerdly

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