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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Museum of Thieves (The Keepers)
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on October 1, 2010
This new fantasy is something of a parable, which can be a didactic choice. But Tanner mostly gets away with it, thanks to some colorful world building and equally colorful characters.

In the city of Jewel, people are so worried about the safety of their children that kids are basically leashed, hooked to the Blessed Guardians by day and their parents by night with fine silver chains. (The harassed children have invented what they call fingertalk for communicating with each other). If children misbehave, they are chained more severely, in heavy Punishment Chains. When children reach the age of twelve, their chains are unfastened. Think of the chains as training wheels, preparing kids for sensible behavior. Only--how awful!

But just as Goldie Roth is on the brink of freedom in the public ceremony known as Separation, conducted by the city's kindly Protector, another official called the Fugleman bursts in with news that his office has been bombed and a child hurt. It is decided that Jewel is unsafe, and the Separation is canceled. Goldie, whose silver chain has been replaced by a white ribbon for the ceremony, can't bear the thought. She impulsively cuts the ribbon and runs away.

Her parents are jailed in the House of Repentance for what she has done, and if Goldie is caught, she will be placed in a reform school called Care. Before that can happen, though, she is taken in by the odd crew of the seemingly decrepit Museum of Dunt--admitted only after they have happily concluded that she is a thief!

And so Goldie starts learning the mysteries of the museum, assisted by a begrudging boy named Toadspit, the other three keepers, and a terrifying yet loyal dog called a brizzlehound. She discovers that the museum contains more than it seems, including swamps and lands and hidden places, and that even its exhibits are in disguise. The museum not only shifts its rooms around, but must be kept quiet and happy, or else it will let its darker contents out into the city. (The place is partly a Pandora's box.) Goldie begins her training to be a museum keeper, which means learning to be a special kind of thief. In one of Tanner's best passages, the girl studies the three kinds of concealment: Concealment by Sham, Concealment by Camouflage, and Concealment by Imitation of Nothingness.

Meanwhile, the Blessed Guardians are hunting for Goldie, helped and directed by the Fugleman, who is one of those handsome smiling villains. The Fugleman wants to take over the city, and he sees the mysterious museum as a means to that end.

I was left with a few minor plot questions unanswered, but the story flows nicely and comes to a full stop (which I appreciate), while still leaving room for another book. Goldie is a determined, courageous main character, and you'll no doubt enjoy watching her make her escape and defeat the bad guys in Museum of Thieves.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 29, 2012
This book has a great deal going for it, but the missed opportunities may weigh down your enjoyment of it.

Goldie starts out as a fine character - spunky, independent, alert and common sensical. She has some real spirit, and after the first chapter you feel she may be able to carry the whole book. But then she gets overwhelmed by the other characters, who are not nearly as compelling as she is, and by a clunky plot.

In a nutshell, things are so good and calm and safe in the City of Jewel that everyone is afraid of everything. Adults are controlled through a cult of fear of injury to their children. The Guardians of the children exercise tremendous power, and the most repressive measures are always justified by reference to what is best and safest for the children. The head guardian has designs to take even greater control, and acts villainously to grow and consolidate his power. Now, this is a pretty sly commentary on our excessively safety conscious culture and on "helicopter parenting", but it wears a bit thin as the main driving force of the action in the book.

Goldie ends up in the "Museum", which is peopled by strange keepers and seems to be a living organism, the repository of all of Jewel's suppressed dangers. O.K., you can have a lot of fun with this as a metaphor, but it gets very clunky very fast as the framing magical fantasy idea of the book. These keepers are never ever developed. What exactly the Museum is and what all it contains are never really addressed. There are a few brief set action or intrigue or fantasy pieces, but none of it hangs together and none of it withstands any thought.

And that, of course, marks the book's strength and its weakness. It is a light, quick, undemanding read. It is intro level dystopia and fantasy. Even the marketing blurbs emphasize that it's easy to read, strange and entertaining. That's fine, but it is not going to be engaging or satisfying for an advanced middle grade reader who has already done some Riordan or Nix or Delaney.

So, a fun introductory read with no big problems, and a heroine who may just be appealing enough to make the trip worthwhile.
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on August 11, 2011
I first found the game on my IPad and then realized that there was a book. As a middle school teacher I found this book to be a wonderful read with a strong female character and twisted adventures. I could see both boys and girls enjoying this story.
My only concerns, why I didn't give it 5 stars, were the lack of a visual of the museum rooms and the perpetuated idea of liars and thieves. The idea of a map of the museum seems ironic since the museum is ever changing but it would have made events that occur clearer to the reader to have a list of rooms and what they usually contain. The novel has a central theme of liars and thieves which seems horrible if taken literally. As long as readers understand that children liars and thieves exist only in the fictional world of the museum of Dunt to escape the oppression of the Blessed Guardians and manage the unusual rooms of the museum. Goldie and Toadspit are courageous and obviously lie and steal only when necessary. At no point does the text encourage lying or stealing for personal gains that would harm others. Overall, this story creates a world for young readers to escape to and shows how one person, no matter their age, can make a difference by listening to their conscience, being brave, and believing in themselves. Looking forward to the second and third books.
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on March 19, 2011
This is definitely a worthwhile book. It sports a good plot, surprising developments, and a family friendly ending. The descriptions are vivid and the characters believable. One more good thing about it is that, while it was written so that there could be a sequel, it doesn't scream, "YOU MUST READ THE SEQUEL, OR YOU WILL FOREVER WONDER WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!!!!!" The only caution I have to give is that there are some moments which might be a little bit intense for the young ones (I'm talking real young though, like six and under) so if a child is young enough to be scared by this, you will probably be reading it to the child. If you're reading it, you can edit it at your discretion.
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on August 13, 2017
Good read for kids and adults, very interesting components that make up the story. I enjoyed it, even the second time I read it.
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on November 19, 2016
Great book. My granddaughter's teacher is reading it in class. One day she came to me and said, "Nana, I have a book to recommend to you."
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on September 1, 2013
Although I enjoyed Museum of Thieves, I was not particularly impressed. I did not think it stood up to its stellar reviews, and I found it predictable and formulaic. That said, middle grade students who are fans of fantasy will enjoy this book and probably want to read the sequels. It is very well written, but the characters are pretty flat and uninspired.
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on September 26, 2014
This book is so good it is worth the money. This book would be good for people who like adventure and mystery. Overall it is a good book to bye
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on January 8, 2016
My daughter loves these books!
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on March 18, 2015
this is a very creative book. I loved it and highly recommend it
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