Monday, September 17, 2012

MMGM: The Cabinet of Wonders

(Disclaimer: I love the MMGM series, but trying to build "platform" came at the cost of writing, of which I should be doing more. So I'm going to try and get a MMGM post every other week, or even once a month and not feel regret about not doing more. Thanks for understanding!)

Book image from Goodreads
Title: THE CABINET OF WONDERS, The Kronos Chronicles: Book 1

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Date published: 2008, FSG

From Goodreads:
"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."

Part steampunk, part magical realism, part history, THE CABINET OF WONDERS is a wonderful adventure set in the Czech Republic. Petra is a determined heroine who sets off to reclaim something the Prince took from her Father. In order to succeed, Petra has to navigate the depths of Salamander Castle and determine who she can or cannot trust.

Rutkoski's debut novel is a great adventure, complete with animated metal animals, a woman who can create color, and an astronomical clock.

THE CABINET OF WONDERS feels like it straddles the line between YA and MG. The protagonist is younger and the content is younger as well. But on the other hand, the first half of the book spends a lot of time explaining various mystical elements of the world, and I wonder if the extra information would keep a MG reader's attention. On the other hand, maybe this has nothing to do with MG or YA, and is due to the fact the story is fantasy.

I enjoyed this book, but I feel it would be better received by a upper level MG reader who is willing to take the necessary time to immerse themselves in the world. If a MG reader were looking for a quick paced story, I don't think this book would work.

I thought the astronomical clock was a wonderful premise, but it seemed "off screen" through the book. I wanted to know more about it! I'm interested to read the second book in the series, but I hope there are more steampunk elements than the Father who can move metal with his mind, and the pet companion, Astrophil.


  1. I don't really read middle grade, but the title alone is intriguing. :)

  2. Nice review - I'm always curious about new MG books.

  3. Umm this sounds awesome. And right up my alley

  4. "animated metal animals, a woman who can create color, and an astronomical clock" - this sounds right up my alley!

  5. I'm so glad you liked this book! I have also thought about picking up the second book in the series.


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