Synopses & Reviews
Petra Kronos has a simple, happy life. But its 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 worlds finest astronomical clock. Petras 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 doesnt know, but she knows this: she will go to Prague, sneak into Salamander Castle, and steal her fathers 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 fathers clock has powers capable of destroying their world. This startling debut novel, about the risks we take to protect those we love, brims with magic, political intrigue, and heroism. The Cabinet of Wonders is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
“Readers . . . who enjoy literary fantasy are likely to savor Marie Rutkoskis debut novel, which was inspired by the grisly legend associated with the famous astronomical clock in Pragues Old Town Square.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Like Phillip Pullman's young Lyra, [Petra] matures in worlds more complex than she had imagined.” —The Chicago Tribune
“Add this heady mix of history and enchantment to the seasons list of astonishingly accomplished first novels. . . . [Petra] proves herself a worthy relative of, say Philip Pullmans quick-thinking, fearless heroines. . . Infusions of folklore dont slow down the fast plot but more deeply entrance readers.”
—Starred, Publishers Weekly
“Loved this book. Strong girl character. Fascinating alternate Bohemia world. Clever silhouette cover.” —BOUND, MSN Entertainment Book Blog
“For those who like their fantasy with a splash of history, or their history with a twist of magic, this book is ideal.” —School Library Journal
“Fresh and fortuitous.” —The Horn Book
“Rutkoski poses searching questions about perception and judgment, and plants plenty of seeds for future installments, but this first novel of adventure, loyalty and familial love (not to mention magic) wraps up quite satisfyingly.” —Shelf Awareness
“The Cabinet of Wonders is just that—a book to get lost in, to be amazed and astonished by, to explore with curiosity and delight.” —Books & Books, Miami, Florida
“Rutkoski's fantasy features quirky characters, imaginative world building, and a hint of trouble to come that will create demand for the next book in the planned Kronos Chronicles series.” —Booklist
“Though Rutkoski wraps up her magical tale beautifully, her lovable cast and intriguing scenarios are certain to bring readers back for a second round in The Kronos Chronicles.”—BookPage
“Rutkoski effectively uses the romance of the region and the mystique of gypsy legends to evoke an atmosphere of danger and adventure. Her well-crafted fantasy world is a mix of magic and technology . . . that, along with the thoroughly likeable characters, will quickly draw readers in and have them eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series.” —Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books
"It was like a mix of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings."— A YALSA YA Galley Teen Reader
"Fans of Hardinge will not be disappointed in this latest spine-chilling, creative work that offers a nuanced depiction of grief within the structure of a well-wrought fantasy."
"Hardinge slowly and craftily builds a horrific yet spellbinding narrative that culminates in an unforgettable confrontation...and those who like horror served with a side of hopeful frightfulness will thoroughly enjoy this book."
"Nuanced and intense, this painstakingly created tale mimics the Escher-like constructions of its villainous Architect, fooling the eyes and entangling the emotions of readers willing and able to enter into a world like no other."
"In addition to her beautiful, enrapturing, and careful use of language, Hardinge’s story is vivid, frightening, and inventive, with narrative twists and turns that feel both surprising and inevitable....A piercing, chilling page-turner."
"In the guise of a gorgeously written and disconcerting fairy tale, Hardinge delves deeply into the darker side of family life, particularly sibling rivalry and the devasting effect war can have on those left at home."
"Cuckoo Song is a sophisticated, disturbing tale that shivers with suspense and touching moments of bravery."
"With a combination of horror and wry humor reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, Cuckoo Song transcends its teen-reader designation. The pyschological and historical nuances...will mesmerize older readers as well."
"Hardinge’s quiet but elegant prose moves the story seamlessly from an effectively creepy horror tale to a powerful, emotionally resonant story of regret and forgiveness."
My family has always had a way with metal.
Petra Kronos has a simple, happy life. But its never been ordinary. She has a tin spider named Astrophil who likes to hide in her hair and give her advice. Her best friend can trap lightning in a glass sphere. And Petras father is able to move metal with his mind. He has been commissioned by the prince of Bohemia to build the worlds finest astronomical clock. Then Petras father returns home—blind. The prince has stolen his eyes, enchanted them, and now wears them. Petra doesnt know why, but she does know this: She will go to Prague and steal her fathers eyes back. When she finds out that her fathers clock has the power to destroy the world, Petra realizes she may never make it home alive.
Talking spiders, stolen eyes, a clock that controls the weather—a “heady mix of history and enchantment” (Publishers Weekly).
When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry, her sister seems scared of her, and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest to find the truth she must travel into the terrifying underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family—before it’s too late . . .
Set in England after World War I, this is a brilliantly creepy but ultimately loving story of the relationship between two sisters who have to band together against a world where nothing is as it seems.
About the Author
is the author of The Kronos Chronicles
. The Cabinet of Wonders
was her debut novel and was named an Indie Next Kids List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Childrens Book of the Year, among other honors. Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She attended the University of Iowa, where she took Writers Workshop classes and studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner James Alan McPherson. After graduating, she lived in Moscow and Prague. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, childrens literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City.