Museum of Thieves, by Lian Tanner, was published in 2010 by Delacorte Press.
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 guard chain 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 Musuem of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of ta 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 decent, if incredibly generic, middle grade fantasy. Goldie is the standard “impetuous female protagonist,” Toadspit is the standard “strange boy protagonist befriends,” and the villain is the standard “wants control over everything and is incredibly obvious from the beginning.” There are the standard mysterious mentors, the standard mysterious force the protagonist must help protect, the standard thought-legend-but-actually-real beasts, and other standard plot and plot resolutions.
Nothing surprised me in Museum of Thieves and nothing really disappointed me, either. It wasn’t a book I disliked reading, but I didn’t love reading it, either. It is an average, run-of-the-mill novel and the only thing wrong with it is that it’s too generic. Nothing stands out, nothing screams “read more!”, nothing compels me to want to know more about Goldie and Toadspit. And that’s probably the most disappointing thing about the book.
Recommended Age Range: 16+
Warnings: Some violence.
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
The man’s face was as forbidding as stone. “You’ve stolen something,” he said. “What was it?”
“Nothing!” said Goldie quickly.
Above the doorway the slaughterbird shifted on its perch. Goldie flinched. The man looked up. “Morg,” he said. “Come here.”
The slaughterbird peered down at him. Then, with a great clumsy hope, it dropped onto his shoulder.
Goldie gasped. The man called out, “Olga Ciavolga, if you please!”