Lian Tanner's Museum of Thieves presents as a very good starter book for readers who have a new-found interestin alternate universe sorts of books, and falls in with some very good company, such as Brandon Mull's new Beyonders series, and Du Prau's City of Ember (which, as is often the case, is better than the film based upong it, despite Soairse Ronan's great performance), and even to a lighter degree, Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series.
Living in a world where anything even remotely risky (dog germs, anyone?) is disallowed and removed, and children are--literally--chained to adults at all time to prevent accidents, Goldie ends up unfettered and recruited to become the fifth keeper at The Museum of Dunt. Only the phrase 'the museum' turns out to be interchangeable with 'building in which several actual realities exist, all of which are prone to shifting about and bulging at the seams when they get themselves in a snit".
A snit is exactly what the museum gets into when the ambitious Fugleman plots to overthrow his sister, The Protectorate, for rule over the city of Jewel, and sends in his lackeys, The Blessed Guardians (who, incidently, are the tyrannical imperialists over all the chained children during regular business hours) to nail down all the rooms in the museum.
It's up to Goldie and the other Keepers (tall, smooth Sinew; grandmotherly gypsy-like Olga Cyavolga; hulking Herro Dan; and shape-shifting brizzlehound, Broo) to thwart the Fugleman and calm down the musuem enough that all of life's atrocities don't come spilling through the walls into Jewel, threatening life and limb of every being therein. But can they do it without unleashing something just as bad, or worse?
I did happen to BUY this one, and at nine bucks for the paperback copy, I'm perfect content with that choice. I'll read the follow-up books, no doubt.