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The Jewel of the Kalderash

The Jewel of the Kalderash (Kronos Chronicles, #3)
by Marie Rutkoski

Upon arriving in the Romany homeland to deliver the Mercator Globes, Petra Kronos, Tomik, and Neel formulate a plan to save Petra’s father, who has been transformed into a Gray Man. But when a long-held secret is revealed, Neel finds himself bound to his country. The friends are quickly swept up in an epic battle for power. Thrones are at stake. Spies are afoot. Murder is common. Worst of all, Prince Rodolfo is close to becoming emperor, and ruling half of Europe.

How much is Petra willing to sacrifice to defend the people she loves? Her search for answers will take her to castles and cities, through mountains, and even underwater as she tests her strength and gambles her life. (goodreads.com)

Release date: October 25, 2011

I promise I am not reading books that are releasing in the Fall just to taunt you! I just happen to be dying to read them and I didn’t even look at the release date on this once since it’s not a review book – it was a gift! (THANK YOU!) As you might remember from my gushing over this series earlier this year, I love the Kronos Chronicles! Once I had this third book in my hands I just couldn’t wait!

I sort of thought that Petra, Tomik and Neel were going to the Romany homeland to GET the jewel from the Kalderash. At least that is what my memory told me. Apparently I was recalling the end of the second book wrong? Some surprising things happen in this third (and final?) book and I realized two things – I no longer like Petra, she seems rather bratty and self-centered. I liked her very much in that first book and pretty sure enough in the second, but I hated her in this book. I just wanted to smack her and say “Will you maybe take a second to think of someone other than YOURSELF for a while? You don’t want to hide, but in doing so you are endangering the lives of your friends! You selfish little brat!”

The second think I noticed is that I really, truly liked Neel. I was sort of whatever about him for most of the series and didn’t take him very seriously because he seemed the brat until they arrive to his homeland and he grows up – a lot. I was enjoying the chapters about him and his part of the story much more than the ones about Petra and Tomik.

Everyone seems to have a cameo in this last (?) book. Iris, who is the something of someplace titled (I can’t recall and I never actually realized they were talking about her when they’d rattle off her titled name, so I am sticking with Iris. ;)) John Dee and his daughters (although the daughters were mentioned and didn’t actually say anything.) Even Sadie over at the Prince’s palace was around.

Oh, and the Prince! Whereas I found him evil and creepy like anything in the first book, he was sort of an unimpressive bad guy this time around. I think that was mostly because he was on the peripheral of the story and not directly involved with the characters until the end. Those Grey Men freak me out, though.

I still think the first book is my favourite in this series, but I loved each book that has followed in its own way. My one problem with The Jewel of the Kalderash was my dislike of Petra. It was so strong that I wasn’t enjoying her parts of the story as much as I wanted to. She treats people like crap (mostly Tomik and Neel). I just don’t like the person she has become and I am certain that was shaped by what’s been going on with her. However, I have read other fantasy stories where the protagonist goes through a lot and is still able to think of others as well during their struggles. Petra just loses sight of everyone else and focuses on her, her, her and saving her father. People died because of her and she needed to think of that but she didn’t it seemed.

Oh, and there are a couple of parts in the story that had me close to tears – once at the stupid hair salon while I was under the cooker for 30 minutes!! They had to do with Astrophil who is the ONLY spidery type thing I will EVER care for. Thankfully I didn’t burst into tears in public (or later, at home) because what I thought was happening didn’t. Still. I couldn’t believe I was so attached to a SPIDER (metallic or not). I will miss him the most from these books and sort of wish I had an Astrophil of my very own.
Kronos Chronicles

  1. The Cabinet of Wonders
  2. The Celestial Globe
  3. The Jewel of the Kalderash

The Celestial Globe

The Celestial Globe (The Kronos Chronicles, #2)
by Marie Rutkoski

When Prince Rodolfo’s monsters attack her, Petra Kronos is spirited away to London.  As she struggles to escape, Neel and Tomik sail the high seas, in search of her. Though separated by many miles, the three friends draw closer together in this sequel to The Cabinet of Wonders, called “astonishingly accomplished” by Publishers Weekly. Readers will not be disappointed in this adventure-filled novel that includes man-made monsters, the unraveling of a murder mystery, and the hunt for the Celestial Globe, which the prince of Bohemia will do anything to own. (goodreads.com)

I don’t quite like the summary on Goodreads, but I’m a creature of habit and I don’t feel like searching longer for a better on on the internets. =P The Celestial Globe is a fantastic sequel to The Cabinet of Wonders! I had the usual apprehension when embarking on a follow-up book to one I adored completely, but that apprehension vanished within the first couple of pages.

Why am I always so fascinated by stories of espionage and murder? Maybe in a past life I was a spy. Who knows? What I do know is that I loved the element of who dunnit in regards to the murder of one of the Queen’s men and how that involved John Dee and Petra and those around them. I wasn’t as keen on the parts on the ship with Tomik and Neel but I slowly came around to their accidental friendship. I shall sheepishly admit I was happy when the story went back to focusing on Petra though.

The main reason for that, and I swear this is the only time I will ever admit something like this, was because of Astrophil. Darn it! I love that spider! And he’s a SPIDER so I shouldn’t even be able to read about him without breaking out into a rash and feeling terrified. I am unhealthily afraid of spiders.

But I love Astrophil so much.

The back of the book has “Trust No One” written before the summary in large font and I have to say that is a very apt warning for this story. Just when I thought I was trusting the right person it turned out I was. Not one character followed the path I was certain they were going to take. The plot kept me guessing until the end when I started to piece together what was going to happen.

I still found this sequel to be folkish and charming even though it had a totally different feel from The Cabinet of Wonders. I have been told by some that they did not like this book as much as the first and whereas I can see why, I think I liked both equally but for different reasons. I find this story so utterly enrapturing that I don’t know if I can wait for the paperback of the third book to be released in more than a year. I would love to see where the author takes Petra, Neel and Tomik in her next book – the land of the Roma.

I wish there had been stories like these when I was a middle grade reader, I would have devoured them in one sitting as I do now!

Kronos Chronicles

  1. The Cabinet of Wonders
  2. The Celestial Globe
  3. The Jewel of the Kalderash

The Cabinet of Wonders

The Cabinet of Wonders (Kronos Chronicles, #1)
by Marie Rutkoski

Petra 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 clock. Petra’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 back. Joining 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. (goodreads.com)

Good golly! This was just a superb book! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to read the other night and this has been sitting in my TBR for, like, ever, and I picked it up and wrinkled my nose and thought “I don’t know if this is what I am looking for”. *points to self* Hi, Mood Reader here. I started the prologue and was just… I don’t know, swept away? Enchanted? Captured? The flow of the words, the dialogue between the two men, the feel of the book just from those few pages washed over me and settled my nerves a little. I wasn’t completely sold until the end of the first chapter and I had grown very fond of Petra and her little mechanical spider, Astrophil.

Thing is, as soon as I read the back and saw that there was a pet spider in this story I almost ignored it completely. I am deathly afraid of spiders and I can’t even talk about them without shivering and sweating. Having a pet spider wasn’t the best way to sell this book to me. But he’s made of metal and he is so. utterly. charming. I described him to my husband as C3P0 in teeny spider form. He was let into my heart the second he said “I was trying to read about other spiders, like me”. Oh my gosh, sympathy and tears rushed through me and I thought, ok, well, he can’t be that bad. In fact he was one of my favourite things about the entire story.

This is another one of those stories that feels like a folktale. I’d put it up there with Plain Kate and the series Tales From the Sinister City. I don’t want to call them just fantasy because I feel that makes people think of dragons and swords and sorcery. These are fantasy in folktale form. Folk-fantasy? What the heck would you call that? It’s just a very Storytelling sort of feel. There are magical elements to the plot, but it’s really a different feel than regular high fantasy.

All the characters were charming and/or creepy as heck. The Prince is a loon and I love that about him. Petra is a good person and her actions win her many allies. I loved her relationship with Iris in the Dye Room and I think Iris is up there in my list of favourite characters with Astrophil.

As I have mentioned before, I do not like eyes. Stories about them, medical whatnots, ugh. It’s gross. (also on that list are: feet, armpits, nakedness of any sort…) Something about eye stuff just grosses me out way too much so I had to skim over the parts where they talk about the stolen eyes and the bandages and ….. ugh.. have to stop. I can’t even write about it. *shudder*

I have added this book to the pile of books I have told my husband he needs to read. Oddly that pile is just made from Middle Grade books. Why is it the higher up in age a story goes the less plot and more useless romantic lusting is thrown in there? There are a ton of fantastic middle grade books right now that are long and well written and just full of STORY. I wish there was stuff like this out when I was 10-12 and was reading everything in sight. At that time I was going through my father’s fantasy collection and devouring Piers Anthony’s Xanth series and anything else he had on his shelf (oddly enough it took me until I worked in a bookstore at the age of 20  to discover David Edding’s Belgariad series. I don’t know if I just didn’t notice them when I was 12 or my father had given them away?)

The Cabinet of Wonders was indeed wonderful. To the point that when I finished the book Saturday night I made my husband look on the Chapigo site to see if the second book was in stock anywhere. (My computer was already off and i was about to fall over asleep so I made him do it. heh). The second book comes out in paperback this month! March 29th to be exact. One store has a copy already and I might mosey on over there this week at lunch and find $7 somewhere and get it. I was so enamoured by the story that I would honestly like to continue on as soon as I can because that is the mindset I am currently in. I am in the world that is created, an old timey Prague and I have the voices and characters in my head. Trying to read anything else right now won’t work very well, I know myself too much.

I love a great story and great storytelling and this book was exactly that.

Kronos Chronicles

  1. The Cabinet of Wonders
  2. The Celestial Globe
  3. The Jewel of the Kalderash