The Cabinet of Wonders is the first in the Kronos Chronicles, in which we learn of the adventures of Petra Kronos, a young and vibrant girl living in the kingdom of Bohemia during the time of the Hapsburg Empire. Petra's father, Mikal, is a brilliant inventor with a magical talent for working with metal. He receives a commission from the young prince to build a clock- one that is unprecedented in its beauty and its magical abilities. Mikal succeeds, and is returned to his home without payment and without his eyes. Petra is horrified by the injustice, though her father is adamant that his injury is for the safety of their family. Determined to infiltrate the castle and recover her father's eyes, Petra sets off for Prague with her tin spider, Astrophil. He is just one of her father's inventions, and his unrivaled intelligence helps Petra out of more than one tricky situation. In Prague, Petra makes friends with a pair of siblings- Romanies with the connections she needs to get into the castle. Petra plans to steal her father's eyes and return home, but there are countless obstacles cropping up, including the intimidating and notorious John Dee. Petra finds herself in more danger than she could have predicted, and even worse, she has put her friends in danger too.
Marie Rutkoski has captured my attention with The Cabinet of Wonders, and I am anxious to follow the series and explore more of her work. I loved that the story was set in a period of real history, Rutkoski did an incredible job of weaving magic into the story in such a way that it felt like it was naturally part of the historical setting. Petra and her friends are so likeable and so genuine, and their relationships have room to grow- something that I am looking forward to in the next two books. I am eager to see what becomes of Bohemia, as I became very fond of the quirks of Petra's home. Another reason to add this to my favorites list? Petra is what we refer to as a 'mighty girl'- that is, she is a female character who exhibits independence, integrity, and intelligence, all role model traits for young readers (both boys and girls!).
Recommended for grades 5-9
Bottom Line Rating: 5/5
Title: The Cabinet of Wonders
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., 2008
Price: $16.95 (Paperback on sale on Amazon for $3.20!)
Source: Public Library
Book #3 of 2014