by Lian Tanner
Delacorte, 2010. 312 pages. Fiction
Lian Tanner riffs successfully off a familiar theme in children's dystopian fiction: children growing up in a repressive society, the constraints in place to keep them safe. Goldie Roth hates the normal chains with which children are kept close to their parents or bound by The Blessed Guardians, but she hates the Punishment Chains worse, which she is wearing as the book begins on Separation Day, when she will finally be cut loose. But when the Separation ceremony is canceled, Goldie makes a break for it and winds up at the Museum of Dunt where wildness and randomness are still alive and well and where she, some grownup helpers, and a young boy named Toadspit must learn to work together to thwart the Fugleman, the Guardians, and the traditions of their own people to save the city of Jewel from all that threatens to break out from the Dirty Door. Along the way they (and you) meet the shape-shifting brizzlehound, the frightening but sometimes friendly slaughterbirds, and the museum itself which shifts and sizzles with life, with both treasures and horrors. Ms. Tanner has created a memorable world and a cast of lively, sympathetic characters in this first in the Keepers trilogy. Hope the next book is not long in coming.