Book review of the Cradle of all Worlds
The Cradle of all Worlds by Jeremy Lachlan is a middlegrade/teen fantasy book. It’s the first in the Jane Doe Chronicles about the girl Jane Doe.
I honestly picked up this book because I liked the cover (again) and the title seemed enticing. I mean, show me a fantasy-reader who doesn’t appreciate a good portal-story, right? Furthermore, the description on the back sealed the deal for me. I just had to have it.
The Cradle of all Worlds
“We enter the Manor at will,
We enter the Manor unarmed
We enter the Manor alone.
Fourteen years ago, Jane Doe and her father arrived on the steps of the Manor. The entrance to a dangerous labyrinth connecting the island of Bluehaven to many other worlds. That was the same night the earthquakes started, and Jane and her silent, troubled father, John, have been feared and despised ever since.
When the strongest quake yet strikes and John disappears back into the Manor, Jane embarks on a perilous adventure to find her father and save her world – perhaps all worlds – from destruction…”
This description is kindly borrowed from the back of the book.
Jane Doe and Bluehaven
Bluehaven sounds like a nice place, and it might be too. Just, not for Jane and her father. They live in a basement and Jane can’t even attend school. Luckily, the little girl in the house, likes to hang out with Jane.
The whole community of Bluehaven is like this tiny, tight-knit group of people, who almost all agree on disliking Jane and her dad. It’s a great beginning for their adventure. There are many distinct personalities in Bluehaven, one more dis-likeable than the next. Humorously portraied, colorful personas, reminding us of exaggerated versions of people most of us have met in the real world.
In reality, they are scared of Jane and her perceived curse (or powers). Since they believe she is causing the earthquakes. I mean, Jane and her father are certainly anything but popular.
The Manor and the worlds
The Manor is a wild place, let me tell you! Going straight into a big, seemingly neverending Manor, more like a mansion. With doors and giant portals to other worlds, where most of them seem inaccessible to Jane. As she ventures further and further into the Manor, strange and unexpected things happen. She finds both friends and enemies, as well as morally grey characters. There are indeed different motives and destinies at play.
I like reading fantasy, when it is actually ‘fantastical’. Fantastical in the sense that is is otherworldly and imaginative – which The Cradle of all Worlds certainly is! Jane experiences so many riddles, rooms and oddities. There are giant doors, flesh-eating plants, rivers, ‘robot-dogs’ and much more. Just as the fate of the Manor itself, imagination runs wild here. And no one is safe.
Jane and the others
I didn’t expect it to be so good, but it’s an instant favorite. Jane is likeable and quirky and fresh. Add to that, that there might be an unexpected romance, albeit this does not steal the spotlight in The Cradle of All Worlds. I like a subtle romantic subplot, and the book delivers so far. Focus is definitely still on the quest, and I’m excited to see where the rest of the characters and the next books in the series, will bring us.
The dialogues and relations between the characters, as well as the worldbuilding, is really driving it home for me. I can hardly wait to see what’s waiting for Jane Doe, around the next corner!
Have you read The Cradle of All Worlds yet? Do you sometimes read Middlegrade and/or fantasybooks? Let me know your favorites in the comments below, I can’t wait to hear from you!
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