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The Cabinet of Wonders (The Kronos Chronicles #1)

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  3,591 Ratings  ·  487 Reviews
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
ebook, 272 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Lucienne A little, but it escalates more in the 2nd and 3rd books. It's no twilight, but there's enough to keep it interesting.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 14, 2008 Betsy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It seems to me that today's average everyday fantasy author for kids has to walk a delicate line. You want to create an alternative history novel laden with magical elements? Fair enough. Here is the choice set before you. Nine times out of ten books of this sort, whether they're of the steampunk variety or the more common knights + wizardry type stuff, are written for kids thirteen and up. Think about it. The King of Attolia books, Philip Reeve's Larklight series, Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeu ...more
Aug 26, 2009 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves gorgeous fantasy, fans of Anne Ursu's books
Recommended to Lucy by: Liz
Petra Kronos lives an unusual life, but a happy one. She lives in a small Czech village with her father, an artisan who can move metal with his mind and works with invisible tools. When her father is commissioned by the prince to build a marvelous clock, he goes off to Prague—and comes back blinded. The prince has stolen his eyes. Even worse, the prince now has control of a clock that has the power to control the weather.

Petra doesn’t know a lot about the world, but she knows this: she will go t
Tamora Pierce
Dec 14, 2009 Tamora Pierce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-ya-yr
A fascinating book in which magic education is restricted in Bohemia (roughly similar to the Czech Republic before WWI) to nobles only, and those who aren't noble manage as best as they can. When Prince Rudolf steals Petra Kronos's father's eyes after her father builds a clock that could control weather, Petra runs away with her living mechanical spider to steal them back. In Prague she makes friends with a Romany (Gypsy) family, particularly Neel and his sister Sadie, who help her to get work i ...more
Jun 05, 2009 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hesitated to give this four stars, as the heroine Petra was a pretty generic YA-fantasy bright and plucky lass who showed little development. And of course she almost immediately met up with a clever and jolly gypsy to help in her quest. What is it with fantasy writers and gypsies?! One, there were never so many friendly, helpful gyspsies around that so many protagonists should have them as sidekicks, and Two, just because most people have never met any doesn't mean that it is ok for authors t ...more
I think this book felt a bit immature. Not in terms of ideas and writing style, because obviously this book is meant for children and so isn't going to be "mature" in that sense. The ideas were great, though I think the author lifted heavily from other young adult fantasy books, most notably His Dark Materials (Astrophil felt kind of like a non-soul tin Pantalaimon to a very Lyra-esque Petra). I think mostly everything seemed to come together too easily - Petra never really had any difficulties ...more
I love, love books with strong, spunky heroines. And The Cabinet of Wonders has one of the spunkiest heroines out there. She’s not infallible, in fact, she’s entirely too fallible but there is a charm to her that draws you into her world and keeps you there right beside her as she has escapades that would make any respectable mama swoon. Petra’s father, as you will know from the summary, has been relieved of his..uh…eyes by the boy-prince of the country in which he lives. So Petra decides to get ...more
david y biblioflick
Just brilliant. Sometimes, YA is too complicated, or trying to be complicated... and sometimes even repeating some ideas over and over again with an over powered heroine plus a "jaw dropping" twistsss, even with those concepts, they still received five stars and overhyped. That's why I'm reading children and sometimes adult sci-fi novels.

This book is aimed mostly for children, with it's light but quite good plot. The heroine is on par with the villain. And even with no twist in the end, this boo
Renee Ross
goddd I know it's a children's series but it's magical and lovely and I love it so so much
Owen Danyal
Nov 17, 2011 Owen Danyal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sixth-grade
this was a page turner. it really hard to put down. i liked this book for several reasons my top reason is it was CREATIVE. talking spiders, magic clocks, stolen eyes a whole mish mash of creative fun. my faveriout part is a the begining when petra finds out the the prince has stolen her fathers eyes. she want revenge...
Lisa Nocita
Aug 05, 2010 Lisa Nocita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
The young Prince has commissioned a special clock to be made in his honor. But in his haste and greed, he wrongly assumes the clock has been finished to his specifications. He has the eyes of the clockmaker removed so that he cannot make another like it for anyone else. However, the clock is not finished and will not do all that the Prince desires. But the Prince decides that he wants to finish the clock himself and can do so with the eyes of the maker guiding him. The clockmaker is returned hom ...more
Alison Livingston
Aug 14, 2009 Alison Livingston rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Four chapters. That is all I give books these days. If it hasn't captured my interest by chapter four I put the book down.

The Cabinet of Wonders has a great story idea, but ultimately I could not get over the poor writing. I know the book was written for children, and thus more simplistic, but there are so many adjectives in the story as to render imagination bored and rote. An example: "She went into a room with a square window" Okay, I don't know about you, but I assume windows are generally g
Patrick Burgess
May 12, 2010 Patrick Burgess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Readers, Wanne-Be-Young Readers, Wannabe Readers
Shelves: reviewed
Fun But Awkward

Mechanical animals that are just like real animals only they can talk (and only live on oil made from wildflowers), people whose natural skills are augmented by magic, silver eyes that can be plucked from someone else's head and then exchanged for another's like any accessory, this is the quirky, whimsical world of Rutkoski's Cabinet of Wonders.

A little bit steampunk, a little bit historical adventure, and maybe a tad less enjoyable than I wanted it to be at times, it's still a bo
~♥~ happinesslife

Praga. Siglo XVI. Magia. Una niña valiente que intentará devolverle a su padre algo que nunca debería haberle quitado, con ello conoceremos a grandes personajes, sin duda una mezcla para un lectura muy entretenida.
Jan 23, 2009 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Miss the magic of Harry Potter? Hunger for the smartness of The Mysterious Benedict Society? Looking for the next Lightning Thief to take you on a fantastical adventure? Cabinet of Wonders should fill the void, for now.

Here's what our Kid Critic, Rachel, age 10 has to say about it:

"This book was a very good book! There is a lot of tension & waiting, but when you get to the last few chapters there is a lot of excitement. This book is about a girl named Petra Kronos. When her father returns h
Emma Rogers
Oct 04, 2014 Emma Rogers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, I grabbed it when I was at the library because Marie Rutkoski wrote one of my recent favorites; "The Winner's Curse". There's always a danger in reading more of an author after you love one of their books so very much, sometimes it's great but mostly it's a big let down. This book, however, was amazing. It was so different and fun, Petra, our young heroine, reminded me of Arya from Game of Thrones, and feisty, brave young girls are always fun to root for. I loved this ...more
Aug 19, 2015 Ruby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Petra's father has magic to bring metal to life. He made her tin spider Astro and her best friend's dog along with several other critters that wander around their village. It is when her father builds a huge clock for the prince that things go bad. The prince orders his wizard to remove Petra's father's eyes and sends him back to the village blind. Without his eyes, how are they suppose to live and what does the prince need with them anyway? It's high time Petra found out.

This is a charming stor
An Odd1
Sep 03, 2012 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fan
"The Cabinet of Wonders" (Kronos #1) by Marie Rutkoski is the room where Prince Rudolfo 18 secures his most unusual valuables, such as the silvery eyes of magical metal-worker Mikal Kronos, removed after building a magnificent unique showpiece clock. One final piece, the heart, and the clock will change weather, so the Prince can be the chosen heir to the emporer, ruler of 16th century Bohemia. But Petra 13, also silver-eyed, wants her father's eyes back, and r
Apr 28, 2009 Terrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a Bohemia meets Gypsy meets Fantasy/Sci Fi tale set in Prague during the European Renaissance. This is not something I would normally pick to read, but it held my interest. I think it will be a very popular series. I really liked Petra and Neel and, although I hated the initial concept of a mechanical spider, he was important to the story and I enjoyed his character also.
My main complaint about Fantasy is that it usually fails to achieve my goal of any book- enlightenment more than ente
Maureen E
by Marie Rutkoski

Opening line: “The yellow hills rose and fell in sunny tops and valleys.”

Petra Kronos’s father understands metal. Not only does he know which metal has the best memory (silver), but he can work with it using only his mind. But now he is in Prague building a wonderful clock for the Prince of Bohemia. After he returns, blinded, Petra sets out for Prague herself.

I started to read this book when it first came out and, I don’t know, it was the wrong day or I was in the wrong mood, or
Barb Middleton
Oct 06, 2013 Barb Middleton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
When I was young I hated to cook. I remember purposefully burning the lefse so I could get out of making it with my mom and two sisters. As a newlywed I'd be asked by my mom to bring a dish to some family holiday and it never tasted very good so eventually she asked me to bring the rolls or pickles. Alas, I wasn't trying to get out of that duty, but cooking for me is like flying. I'm only good at it in my dreams. When Petra gets a job at the castle with the plan of stealing back her father's sto ...more
Oct 09, 2011 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Cabinet of Wonders, by author Marie Rutkoski, is a relatively new young readers novel that's part fantasy, part science fiction, and part 'look at me and my wild wacky imagination'.

Petra Kronos is the daughter of a famous magical inventor, Mikal Kronos, living in early 17th century Bohemia. She is horrified one day to find her father's eyes have been brutally removed after having completed a special project for the dastardly Prince Rodolfo. Petra goes on a quest to infiltrate the Prince's ca
Feb 15, 2011 Cami rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
I thought this was a really great story and a great tale of courage with a young female protagonist.
I always enjoy alternate history fiction (ieSeventh Son, Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus or Sunshine [though this one's more alternate present])
The story is set in Prague where a young, selfish Prince using others to create greatness and set him up to be the next Emperor.
Petra's father is one such person. He has just finished the Prince's great clock, meant to control the weather
Sep 16, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Teen Book Club selection
Petra's father has an affinity for metal and creates mechanical animals that can think and act like real animals. His talents made him so famous that the Prince of Bohemia asked him to build him the most beautiful clock in the world, and secretly told the metal worker to give the clock the power to control the weather. To prevent the prince from having the power to control the weather, Petra's father made the weather controller a puzzle, after which the prince cut out the metal worker's eyes and ...more
Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen)
I don't know if I was just in the wrong frame of mind while reading this, but I just couldn't wait to be done with it. I really liked the idea of it, but some of the writing was just a little too juvenile. And before someone points out that this is a YA book and that is to be expected, please let me explain. I absolutely hate when an author starts a sentence with "and that's when..." To me, that is just bad, amateurish writing and shouldn't be done. The author does this several times. Or just a ...more
Apr 06, 2009 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful story that is part fairy tale, part fantasy, and part history. A very clever blend of my three favorite genres. The fact that it is set in a real place and time made it feel like it really could have happened. (It was based very loosely on the court of Rudolf II in the late 16th and early 17th century Prague.)
I loved the characters and thought they were well developed. The story is complex enough for middle to high schoolers, but elementary students won't get lost in overly
Ema-Lilly Dream
I REALLY wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, I didn't. It was well written, the story was cool, but it just wasn't...good enough. my main problem was that I couldn't connect with the main character. She is this philosophical, smart scientist girl. While I on the other hand am much more like Neel. Artful, daring, and reckless. Another thing that bugged me was the age-to-smarts ratio in Petra. At the end of the book she turns 13, but throughout the book, she acts like a 16 year old would, not ...more
Apr 05, 2010 Loren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was in Prague, I also fell in love with the amazing clock on Staro Square. I shivered at the story that the clockmaker was blinded to prevent him from ever making another clock as beautiful. This YA book spins off that same experience. I was so completely bound up in it that it will be difficult to wait for the release of the next book in the series.

Two things prevent me from giving this 5 stars: I had trouble remembering that the resourceful and learned heroine was only 12 -- and the sto
Asma Iceybooks
Jan 08, 2016 Asma Iceybooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I read this wayyyyyyyyyy back but I remember loving it a lot.
Annie Oosterwyk
I've been looking for a book club selection for my middle school and this may be it. I can't believe I picked up this book so late.
The writing is terrific, with deep concepts presented often enough to make you jerk back out of the story and think, "WOW". The plot is seamless and so interesting I read until the wee hours to finish. The characters are real and multifaceted.
I couldn't believe my library only had the first book, so I ordered the rest of the series myself. I am looking at them righ
Raina Strack
May 23, 2016 Raina Strack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BR #8 7blue
Petra Kronos is just an ordinary girl with a best friend named Tomik. But her life is anything but normal, she has a pet tin spider that lives in her hair and gives her advice, her best friend can trap lightning in a sphere and her father can move metal with his mind. Her father was invited to Prague to make the worlds most astounding clock. And one day he comes back with no eyes. The place where his eyes used to be are wrapped in a bloody cloth and he is blind. The 18 year old princ
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Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner's Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the olde
More about Marie Rutkoski...

Other Books in the Series

The Kronos Chronicles (3 books)
  • The Celestial Globe (The Kronos Chronicles, #2)
  • The Jewel of the Kalderash (The Kronos Chronicles, #3)

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“Just because you don't know something doesn't mean it's not true.” 8 likes
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