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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

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

16 comments to The Cabinet of Wonders

  • I loved, loved, loved the first book. The second book… I enjoyed but did not love, love, love it. I am excited about the third book – I hope it doesn’t let me down!

    • Cat

      You have me very curious about the second book now. I am certainly going to pick it up in the next 2 weeks. I can feel it in my bones.

  • Forth time I heard of this one but your review makes me want to go out and find it 🙂

  • Gah – I meant first time I heard of this one…. silly typo 😛

  • Sounds good and I LOVE the cover.

    • Cat

      The colours on the cover make me think of.. I don’t know. Candy, I think. They are rather comforting. You should certainly try this one, Juju!

  • I love, love, LOVED this book. It combined adventure and the supernatural so awesomely with just a hint of a potential romance. I’m glad you liked it too!

  • Excellent review. I had to go to Goodreads and add the book on my wishlist before leaving a comment here. I couldn’t risk forgetting the title 😉

    • Cat

      Woohoo! I am so happy this one is either loved or has now caught the attention of others. I am so thankful my friend sent this to me!

  • I am pretty sure I NEED THIS BOOK NOW! You rated it as being up there with Plain Kate which was AMAZING. So yes, this is going on my want list.

    • Cat

      It’s not nearly as emotional as Plain Kate though, but it has the same folk-tale feel! I think you’ll enjoy it!

  • Ugh this is so true: ” Why is it the higher up in age a story goes the less plot and more useless romantic lusting is thrown in there?” And this is why I love YA a lot more than adult fantasy, sometimes.

    • Cat

      Thank you! I feel alone in my thoughts about that, so you made me feel better. People think I’m a cynic because I don’t like all the romantic crap in YA. I’m not! I just like a good STORY and most of those stories are all LOVE TRIANGLE and a teeny bit of mystery and plot thrown in. 😉

  • Chi


    I’m new to the blog world but came across this post and thought it’s about time started working on producing a credible wishlist! There are so many books I want to read!

    Drop bymyblog and say hi!