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The Cabinet of Wonders

(The Kronos Chronicles #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,609 ratings  ·  562 reviews
Marie Rutkoski's startling debut novel, the first book in the Kronos Chronicles, about the risks we take to protect those we love, brims with magic, political intrigue, and heroism.

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
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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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.…moreA little, but it escalates more in the 2nd and 3rd books. It's no twilight, but there's enough to keep it interesting.(less)
Madi It has some magic in it so a fan of Harry Potter might enjoy it. The plot was a little confusing at times but if she is reading Harry Potter than I am…moreIt has some magic in it so a fan of Harry Potter might enjoy it. The plot was a little confusing at times but if she is reading Harry Potter than I am pretty sure this will be no problem for her. Overall it was a good book and I think that she would like it.

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Tamora Pierce
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Owen Danyal
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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...
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Alison Livingston
Aug 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Overall, this book was a delight, at least to this early-50s-but-a-child-at-heart reader. Author Marie Rutkoski is a skilled world builder if a little uneven – 12-year-old protagonist Petra Kronos's hometown was non-descript and evoked absolutely no imagery in my usually very active imagination, but Salamander Castle in Prague (where a good chunk of the action – a little more than half, I believe – takes place) is lavishly conveyed. Details of layout, lighting, architecture, clothing, faces, etc ...more
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Four dazzling, startling blood-red (blood-read?) stars from this fairytale-myth-alternative history-fantasy novel! This was my first book by Rutkoski but it definitely will not be my last (I have two more from the library currently waiting for me! so I don't say that lightly).

This was an interesting read, an alternate history that takes place in and around Prague. It was more gory than I expected from the reading level/cover (it's an older MG/early YA) but not to the level of horror. It just rem
Lisa Nocita
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Emma Rogers
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Patrick Burgess
Dec 15, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 home
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 bo
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
Pop Bop
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A Breath of Fresh Air

I was a bit hesitant about this book at first. The cover, the blurbs, and the general vibe suggested that it would be light on action, character and style and might tilt rather toward gearhead steampunk, alternate Bohemian history, and court intrigue. Well, please excuuuuuse me for being too quick to judge. Within a few chapters, (and certainly once we get to Prague), we have a ripping action/adventure, a feisty and resourceful heroine, and practical magic that is charming a
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Welcome to Book City
Date: December 21, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

The Cabinet of Wonders
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 astronomica
I love the way magic is used in the story and how it unfolds. The story has an Old World feel to it that felt to me like a cross between Dickens and Pinocchio. Although Petra is the pivotal character, there are several relationships that have the dynamic of being quite realistic. The story arc is not completely predictable, and the author does an excellent job of weaving in "unintended consequences" of events that, as a 12-year-old, Petra wouldn't see or consider.

Read our reviewers notes about t
Barb Middleton
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk, fantasy
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
Amy Webster-Bo
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
good first book, doubt i will ever get to read the others though
Jan 21, 2018 marked it as lincolns-books
Listened to on road liked it.
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
The Prince has stolen Petra’s father’s eyes! Peter Kronos returns home blind, after a trip to Prague to help the prince build an amazing clock at Salamander Castle. Petra’s father can move metal with his mind, but he is not able to prevent the Prince from betraying him. When Petra realizes that her father can do nothing to win back his eyes, she takes matters into her own hands and sets out to Prague, secretly, with her tin spider, Astrophil. In the city, Petra meets gypsies, who just might be a ...more
Hannah Heath
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mg-fiction
3.5 stars. Cute story. I didn't like how on-the-nose the writing style was, but it wasn't overly annoying. I loved the characters and the world-building. I would read the rest of the books in the series, as I think it will get better as the characters get older. MG isn't really my thing. ...more
An Odd1
Aug 14, 2012 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
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 12, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Cabinet of Wonders is the debut book of the Kronos Chronicles, inspired by the legend of the Prague’s Old Town Square clock. It follows Petra Kronos, a fiery countryside girl from the Bohemian kingdom, as she embarks on a journey to the city of Prague to steal her dad's, metal controlling, eyes back from Prince Rodolfo. She is joined by her book loving metal spider, Astrophil, and a gypsy thief named Neel. As she searches for her father’s eyes, she finds out how beauty can be deceiving and t ...more
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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Marie Rutkoski is the New York Times bestselling author of The Winner's Trilogy, which begins with The Winner's Curse. She also wrote the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders. Her next project is a YA duology set in the same world as The Winner's Curse. The first in this duology is called The Midnight Lie and will be ...more

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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