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[Read] ➲ The Cabinet of Wonders Author Marie Rutkoski – Cravenjobs.co.uk



10 thoughts on “The Cabinet of Wonders

  1. says:

    It seems to me that today s average everyday fantasy author for kids has to walk a delicate line You want to create an alternative history novel laden with magical elements Fair enough Here is the choice set before you Nine times out of ten books of this sort, whether they re of the steampunk variety or the common knights wizardry type stuff, are written for kids thirteen and up Think about it The King of Attolia books, Philip Reeve s Larklight series, Jonathan Stroud s Bartimaeus Trilogy , and so on and such All of these are mature books for mature readers They deal with large themes, long complicated plots, and dark motivations So do you skew your book older or younger Really, when you sit down and think about it, Marie Rutkoski s new series The Kronos Chronicles is a rare beastie In her first installment The Cabinet of Wonders, Rutkoski opts for the younger end of the spectrum, combining just the right mix of kid fantasy within a well planned historical setting I m as tired of new otherworldly series as the rest of you, but Rutkoski s new world is crisp and smart enough to win over even the most jaded fantasy fan.When they brought her father home with bloody bandages over his eyes, that s when Petra Kronos got good and mad Her father was given a remarkable commission construct a clock for the prince himself in Prague But instead of showering her father with gifts and praise upon its completion, the prince plucks out his eyes so as to make them his own and prevent her dad from creating anything quite as nice again Yet the clock is than it seems With the potential to control the weather itself, the Prince knows full well how powerful he could be if he just managed to put together the final piece Now Petra is determined to steal back her father s eyes before that happens, even if it means befriending the Roma, sneaking into the palace, helping a woman who can leak acid through her skin, and reluctantly working alongside the magician and spy John Dee Fortunately she has her tin spider Astrophil by her side and a host of talents that even she has been unaware of until now.One of the problems I ve had with a lot of fantasy novels lately is just how bloody long they are Blame Harry Potter, blame Twilight, blame whoever you like but the fact of the matter is that a lot of authors aren t taking the hint that sometimes your novel really doesn t have to be 300 pages Now let s take a gander at The Cabinet of Wonders Coming in at a trim 258 Rutkoski could have explained at length about everything from Petra s mother s death to the girl s experiences with her in laws while her father was away Instead we are plopped into the story midstream and Rutkoski has a clear enough sense of the story she s telling to fill the small background details along the way The result is a story that moves at a quick clip but never hurries so quickly that you loose the plot s thread or get confused about where things are going In spite of the fact that you are reading yet another book about a motherless daughter whose doting scientific father pays her little heed, this territory is still relatively new.I was a bit partial to the writing too Just because the author isn t indulging in ludicrous fripperies doesn t mean that she hasn t an ear for a keen description once in a while Check out this quickie encapsulation of our heroine s eyes Petra s eyes were gray or, to be precise, they were silvery, like they each had been made with liquid metal anchored in a bright circle by a black center More interesting still, Rutkoski sometimes makes the executive decision to switch point of view willy nilly between Petra and someone near her Interestingly enough, the person she does this with the most is the evil prince Making the executive decision to enter the head of your villain is something we ve been seeing a lot of in children s literature lately see The Underneath by Kathi Appelt and is always a risk You could go too far and confuse the reader with this change of personality Rutkoski s transitions aren t as smooth as they could be, but they ultimately serve the tale she s telling and don t go so far as to hurt it or anything.As the Author s Note at the end is careful to point out, the book takes place during the European Renaissance at the end of the sixteenth century in Bohemia, part of the Hapsburg Empire In this note Ms Rutkoski mentions that she was at first a little worried that people would take issue with the way in which she has manhandled history She has little to fear Historical fiction is one thing Pseudo historical fantasy another altogether though I d be willing to debate with someone on this point So while she may not be 100% accurate at all times I doubt anyone would demand it of her In any case, she works in enough real details to give the book spice I was particularly pleased with the moment when John Dee shows Petra a painting of Queen Elizabeth that shows her wearing a yellow dress covered in eyes and ears It sounds like just another fantastical idea on the page, but the actual image known as The Rainbow Portrait is rather famous and well worth searching out.Let s talk gypsies Over the years I ve shuddered each and every time I ve seen them in a work of children s fiction Gypsies are like fairies or elves to most authors You just throw them into a plot and hope that they end up kidnapping kids telling fortunes at some point There s never any acknowledgment that there are real Gypsies in the world, nor any complexity to their characters So it was that I was amazed at how careful Rutkoski was with her Gypsy which is to say, Roma characters In her Author s Note she acknowledges their past and the fact that they are certainly real And when she uses them in the book, it s almost as if she s mocking those old literary tropes A Roma woman does indeed offer to tell Petra her future but when the girl politely refuses it s seen as the correct action What s , I loved how Neel would work Roma stories into the narrative alongside concepts like the idea of zero There s a lot going on here, and it s handled with evident care.There isn t exactly a lack of child friendly fantasies out there, sure But we ve finally gotten to the point where the Harry Potter wannabes have slacked off a little, leaving room for other kinds of series And as for fantasies written with the 9 12 year olds in mind, The Cabinet of Wonders is joining books like Savvy and Out of the Wild to entertain our slightly younger readers With enough originality to choke a nag, Rutkoski firmly establishes herself as a new author to watch I ll keep an eye eagerly peeled for her future books.Ages 9 and up.


  2. says:

    Petra Kronos lives an unusual life, but a happy one She lives in a small Czech village with her father, an artisan who can move metal with his mind and works with invisible tools When her father is commissioned by the prince to build a marvelous clock, he goes off to Prague and comes back blinded The prince has stolen his eyes Even worse, the prince now has control of a clock that has the power to control the weather.Petra doesn t know a lot about the world, but she knows this she will go to Prague and somehow steal back her father s eyes It s a tall task, but she won t be alone she has the companionship for Astrophil, her tin pet spider, and the help of Neel, a Roma boy with fingers that extend into invisible ghosts that can pick locks What I like about this book pretty much everything Petra is a wonderful character spunky, determined, immensely likeable, and often entirely na ve about the way the world works What s wonderful about this book is that people call her on it when she plans to do something ridiculous, like, say, sneak into the prince s castle and steal back her father s eyes, that doesn t get to be something that makes sense She s young and sheltered, and sometimes that s why she succeeds even when odds are against her.I also love how sometimes this book nods at clich d plot points and then moves past them Like when Petra first goes to Prague, she cuts off her hair, to blend in as a boy a classic spunky heroine move and then discovers that no one is really fooled, and life would have been somewhat easier if she had just kept her hair and called herself a girl from the start.The flavor of Marie Rutkoski s Czechoslovakia is also delicious, and unlike anything else I ve ever read A changing Europe with a dangerous prince who courts danger and foments unrest among his people The commonplace feel of magical talents and the nature of those talents is fantastic Invisible ghost fingers that can pick locks The ability to move metal with your mind Marie Rutkoski has a gorgeously creative imagination, and this is a beautiful book It s the sort of novel that feels solidly based on a history only slightly different from our own it feels like it might have been true in some parallel universe It s lush with detail even the little things and feels like a full literary meal.Cabinet of Wonders has a solid ending and stands comfortably alone, but is clearly the first in a trilogy says so right on the cover and I am eager and hungry for from Marie Rutkoski.


  3. says:

    A fascinating book in which magic education is restricted in Bohemia roughly similar to the Czech Republic before WWI to nobles only, and those who aren t noble manage as best as they can When Prince Rudolf steals Petra Kronos s father s eyes after her father builds a clock that could control weather, Petra runs away with her living mechanical spider to steal them back In Prague she makes friends with a Romany Gypsy family, particularly Neel and his sister Sadie, who help her to get work in the castle There she meets a wizard who has days when her skin oozes acid, the spy from England, Dr Dee, and the prince himself, when he s wearing her father s eyes.There is so much that is cool about this book glass bombs that release wasps or waves, swap able eyes, living mechanical animals, and the invention of a new primary color Now I just have to wait for the second book sigh


  4. says:

    I hesitated to give this four stars, as the heroine Petra was a pretty generic YA fantasy bright and plucky lass who showed little development And of course she almost immediately met up with a clever and jolly gypsy to help in her quest What is it with fantasy writers and gypsies One, there were never so many friendly, helpful gyspsies around that so many protagonists should have them as sidekicks, and Two, just because most people have never met any doesn t mean that it is ok for authors to continually stereotype them But happily, Rutkoski does have some original twists on magic use and some great imagery Her villainous prince and the sinister English diplomat Dee are complex and interesting than her heroes even if Dee has been stolen from history by many a writer prior This was also a pretty quick read so I m happy to continue the series and see if there is a bit character development in later books.


  5. says:

    I think this book felt a bit immature Not in terms of ideas and writing style, because obviously this book is meant for children and so isn t going to be mature in that sense The ideas were great, though I think the author lifted heavily from other young adult fantasy books, most notably His Dark Materials Astrophil felt kind of like a non soul tin Pantalaimon to a very Lyra esque Petra I think mostly everything seemed to come together too easily Petra never really had any difficulties doing anything she simply decided upon a certain course of action, and then did everything she needed to without any true sense of complication With the exception of the final escape scene there was no real sense of peril surrounding her otherwise dangerous quest I just didn t feel terribly drawn in, and was a bit disappointed because I really liked the concept and all the fairly original fantastic elements in it but I just didn t enjoy it as much as I had hoped and wanted to.


  6. says:

    I love, love books with strong, spunky heroines And The Cabinet of Wonders has one of the spunkiest heroines out there She s not infallible, in fact, she s entirely too fallible but there is a charm to her that draws you into her world and keeps you there right beside her as she has escapades that would make any respectable mama swoon Petra s father, as you will know from the summary, has been relieved of his..uh eyes by the boy prince of the country in which he lives So Petra decides to get them back It s a foolhardy and almost impossible plan but Petra s not one to let little things like impossibilities slow her down.The book is a glorious read The pace is fast at times and honeyed at others The fictional and real world intersperse brilliantly and you can almost believe that such a world once existed somewhere in time The characters, all of them, are so awesomely crafted, their detail, their characteristics, the subtleties within their personalities they are a pleasure to read There is no real romance right now and I am sort of glad because Petra is, to me, not at that age where she is distracted by the notion of boys being than playmates we start off with Petra being 12 But there s a promise of it from two different boys who are going to hopefully turn into interesting men once the books continue.The intrigue is well layered so that even at the end of the book, the promise of the future is delicious on your tongue and you can t help but imagine what other hijinks Petra will get into And oh, there are mechanical spiders, puppies and monkeys steampunk ish You can t lose with this book, guys Marie Rutkoski s debut novel joins the ranks of much loved spunky heroines shelves that contains other gems such as Julia Golding s Cat Royal series, Stephanie Burgis s Kat series and Bloody Jack series by L A Meyer.


  7. says:

    this was a page turner it really hard to put down i liked this book for several reasons my top reason is it was CREATIVE talking spiders, magic clocks, stolen eyes a whole mish mash of creative fun my faveriout part is a the begining when petra finds out the the prince has stolen her fathers eyes she want revenge


  8. says:

    Four chapters That is all I give books these days If it hasn t captured my interest by chapter four I put the book down.The Cabinet of Wonders has a great story idea, but ultimately I could not get over the poor writing I know the book was written for children, and thus simplistic, but there are so many adjectives in the story as to render imagination bored and rote An example She went into a room with a square window Okay, I don t know about you, but I assume windows are generally going to be square, and if it isn t square, then let me know Also if you are going to mention a window at all, it should be because the window is going to play a role later That s a petty example, I know but the book is bursting with too much word fat Not only that, but almost every conversation was artificial The main character s father comes through the door with an old bloody bandage over his eyes, having had them gouged out by the prince and their pet mechanical spider asks him what the palace library is like Huh Then the father goes on to talking like he s not phased at all by being blinded and having to be pack carted home by two thungs It just didn t ring true It feels to me like this woman either speaks English as a second language or she somehow got her first or second draft of this thing published and not the 10th 20th draft it takes to finish a good novel.I am sad because the story was interesting and the author looks like a cutie pie, so I am sorry this one didn t work out After four chapters I was done.


  9. says:

    Overall, this book was a delight, at least to this early 50s but a child at heart reader Author Marie Rutkoski is a skilled world builder if a little uneven 12 year old protagonist Petra Kronos s hometown was non descript and evoked absolutely no imagery in my usually very active imagination, but Salamander Castle in Prague where a good chunk of the action a little than half, I believe takes place is lavishly conveyed Details of layout, lighting, architecture, clothing, faces, etc were exquisitely described, but skillfully imparted also were the moods and overall personality of different sections of the castle the stables, the prince s private quarters, the dye mixing lab in which Petra works This imbalance in the care taken toward the verbal illustration of the palace vs the lack of the same for the other locales even Prague on the outside of the castle wasn t really noticed until I finished the book, but then it explained why I just didn t find the earlier part of the book nearly as vivid or enthralling The author has obviously done a lot of research, as this can certainly be considered to be in the general realm of historical fantasy She s used the folklore of the astronomical clock in Prague and the general framework of the Habsburg dynasty to situate her story, and in general she does a great job of convincingly weaving her narrative into 16th century Bohemia However, there were a couple of glaring anachronisms that really bothered me, because they both will mislead young readers into believing wildly incorrect historical facts Now, please understand, I m not being a super anal retentive stickler here I don t mind at all if the characters use speech out of time, or if minor details don t fit, such as a character wearing a type of hat that was not invented until 200 years later But these two stick out than that First, apparently young people in Rutkoski s 16th century Czech Republic have no sense of the concept of zero, as Petra s companion Neel describes it to her utter amazement, and claims its invention discovery as one of his people s, the Roma a.k.a gypsies Well, the use of zero mathematically and even its name was introduced to Europe nearly 500 years before, so I doubt that a reasonably well educated child of 12 would be be hearing of it for the first time in the timeframe of The Cabinet of Wonders Nor can I find any evidence that the Roma had anything to do with it The second example may be or less egregious, depending on how late in the 16th century the book is set In addition to being utterly gobsmacked by zero, Petra has also never heard of the theory that our solar system is heliocentric Copernicus published his groundbreaking book on the subject earlier that same century, and since Petra and her father who are effectively magical metallurgists are fairly knowledgeable about European happenings especially with regard to science and magic I am unconvinced that Petra would have not heard of Copernicus s work, since it raised quite a hullabaloo in European society The thing that gets me is that neither of these false revelations have ANYTHING to do with the plot, and are really just conversational fillers In that case, why bother to create these alternative narratives around historical facts that kids will actually need to know the truth of in their future educational careers I realize I dedicated a lot of words to this when I know it sounds kind of petty, and many of you might argue that I m nitpicking If you totally remove the issue of kids remembering these untruths once it s time to really learn about them in their academic careers, you re still left with what it does to the flow of the narrative, which is jolt you right out of it The best example I can invent on the spot is something like this Imagine that in the Harry Potter series, everything is exactly the same as Rowling wrote it, but for no reason connected to any plot points, she made the river that goes through London be the Danube rather than the Thames That would not advance the fantastical plot elements a whit, and would instead make you say, Huh and wonder if it was some weird mind lapse typo and why an editor didn t catch it But my major complaint about The Cabinet of Wonders was the occasional contradictions in Petra s and Neel s the main characters behavior This is likely a problem all authors writing young heroes have to grapple with, and I am likely particularly sensitive to it because I just came off of extremely glaring examples in the persons of Teo and Renzo in The Undrowned Child, where protagonist kids are intelligent and resourceful beyond their years, only to show up in the next chapter acting like petulant kindergarteners that you want to send to their rooms for a long timeout This drives me nuts, and is actually the main detractor for me of the book at hand Petra is appealing and smart and brave, but not so much so that she is unbelievable or a caricature Neel on the other hand may be a little bit over the top cocksure and undamaged by his rather rough upbringing and childhood losses and quite jaded for being barely out of his tweens So there they are, each living independently and supporting themselves while plotting a daring heist and escape against a sovereign monarch and his entire armed forces, but then they ll get into an argument, and you ll seriously think they ve both been suddenly possessed by hysterical, attitudinal toddlers that have dirty diapers and are 2 hours late for their bottle These supposedly awesome, amazing kids occasionally turn SO infantile in Petra s case, not only to Neel but to another character introduced midway through the book , that not only do you lose your respect, admiration, and empathy for them, but you straight up have the urge to smack them As I said, I m sure every author writing kids must work to find the balance between keeping a child hero relatable and age appropriate, while still imbuing them with maturity and the special qualities needed to make them heroic The operative word there is balance a successful child hero cannot be bipolarly alternating between being preternaturally awesome and throwing temper tantrums section to section Fortunately, Petra and Neel aren t always as extreme as the worst case scenario prototype I detailed above, but Petra in particular is devalued in the readers minds each time she reverts to being so pointlessly childish Advance notice the situation actually worsens considerably in the next book in the series, The Celestial Globe, with Petra spending a long period of individual time with someone she is unrelentingly babyishly hostile toward, while Neel, on the other hand, all but morphs into a swashbuckling Errol Flynn Thankfully, no other characters veer toward unbelievable and unpalatable extremes, but are well fleshed out with understandable motivations The highlight for me in the cast of characters was definitely Astrophil, Petra s wise, mechanical spider companion The plot is engaging and well paced, and, as I said at the beginning, takes place in a version of our past where magic infuses life, both enhancing and complicating it My rating is really a 3.5 as opposed to a 3 I ll definitely be checking out of Rutkowski s works maybe ones without children.


  10. says:

    The young Prince has commissioned a special clock to be made in his honor But in his haste and greed, he wrongly assumes the clock has been finished to his specifications He has the eyes of the clockmaker removed so that he cannot make another like it for anyone else However, the clock is not finished and will not do all that the Prince desires But the Prince decides that he wants to finish the clock himself and can do so with the eyes of the maker guiding him The clockmaker is returned home, blinded It is rud that the Prince keeps the eyes in his Cabinet of Wonders If the clock should ever be finished, it will change the balance of power in the kingdom and have far reaching consequences for the world His young daughter, Petra, decides to take matters into her own hands to restore her father s sight She slips away to the Castle intending to steal back her father s eyes She is a clever and likable protagonist Along the way, she enlists the help of new friends Part alternative history, part fantasy, Cabinet of Wonders promises to be the first in a new series Although you may have to suspend your disbelief a bit, it is a fast read with plenty of suspense and intrigue.


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download The Cabinet of Wonders, read online The Cabinet of Wonders, kindle ebook The Cabinet of Wonders, The Cabinet of Wonders 6ffa0d30f9d7 Marie Rutkoski S Startling Debut Novel, The First Book In The Kronos Chronicles, About The Risks We Take To Protect Those We Love, Brims With Magic, Political Intrigue, And HeroismPetra Kronos Has A Simple, Happy Life But It S Never Been Ordinary She Has A Pet Tin Spider Named Astrophil Who Likes To Hide In Her Snarled Hair And Give Her Advice Her Best Friend Can Trap Lightning Inside A Glass Sphere Petra Also Has A Father In Faraway Prague Who Is Able To Move Metal With His Mind He Has Been Commissioned By The Prince Of Bohemia To Build The World S Finest Astronomical ClockPetra S Life Is Forever Changed When, One Day, Her Father Returns Home Blind The Prince Has Stolen His Eyes, Enchanted Them, And Now Wears Them But Why Petra Doesn T Know, But She Knows This She Will Go To Prague, Sneak Into Salamander Castle, And Steal Her Father S Eyes BackJoining Forces With Neel, Whose Fingers Extend Into Invisible Ghosts That Pick Locks And Pockets, Petra Finds That Many People In The Castle Are Not What They Seem, And That Her Father S Clock Has Powers Capable Of Destroying Their World