The Sixty-Eight Rooms (Sixty-Eight Rooms #1)
The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone reminds the reader of a cross between The Indian in the Cupboard and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler but told without the skill of those timeless books.
Although well-conceived and well-plotted with a great premise, the book frequently feels forced; it bravely tries to delight with the inherent magic of the Thorne rooms but seems too structural; its plotting does not feel innate and the ending is not at all fresh. It tells when it should show and explains when character development should stand on its own. It also explains technicalities, e.g., how the characters get into and out of and back into rooms rather than actual exploration of the rooms. This weighs down the tale.
On the whole, newcomer Malones debut novel comes across like a first novela good effort, but not great. On the upside, the novel creates awareness of the Thorne Rooms and the Art Institute of Chicago and does engender a certain amount of curiosity about the exhibit.