This is basically a story set in our world, but one thing has been changed. We think that our parents go overboard with the safety thing, antibacterial gel when it really isn't necessary, not being allowed to take the bus home alone, that sort of thing. Lian Tanner takes it all to a new level.
In the "perfect" city of Jewel, from the moment they learn to walk until they are sixteen, children are physically chained with a silver guardchain to their parents or the dreaded Blessed Guardians in the day, and chained to their beds at night. All potentially harm-causing things, including dogs and birds, have been driven out.
Goldie is both impatient and bold, two very sinful things in the city of Jewel. When the Seperation Day is moved down to twelve years of age, she is so excited she even manages to keep herself from snapping at the awful Blessed Guardians. Then it's cancelled, due to a bombing, and Goldie just can't take it anymore. Right then and there, she runs away, endangering her life and all those around her.
Then she comes across the Museum of Dunt. I guess it's really more of a character then a setting. It has a life of its own. The rooms shift, letting you discover what you need to learn or find. It contains all the wildness that Jewel has tried to drive out ("You can't have high mountains without deep valleys").
She meets the museum's keepers and another boy who also escaped, called Toadspit. They teach her useful things, like how to pick locks, lie, and about the wildness of the museum. And since it's wild, it can't be contained.
When catastrophe threatens the museum and with it, the rest of Jewel, it's up to Goldie and her new friends to show the city the value of thinking for themselves, and independence.
This is a very good book with plenty of action that I would recommend to people of 10-12 years of age. I am really looking forward to reading the next book, and seeing what else the museum has in store!