Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21, 2014: 'The Cabinet of Wonders'

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 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.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Petra's father comes back without his eyes. Petra visits her friend Tomik who shows her glass balls that he used to trap a wasp and lightning. Petra starts sleeping late. She gets money for two Worry Vials that Tomik's father Tomas makes. Tomas comes with glass eyes for Petra's father. It rains sand, and lightning strikes. Petra goes with Lucie Tomik's sister and her fiancĂ©e Pavel to Prague. She leaves them when she arrives. She is pickpocketed by Neel a Roma. She saves Neel from being put in jail. Neel brings Petra to his sister Sadie. After that, they head to the wagons belonging to Neel and Sadie's group. Astrophil sleeps and reveals himself by accident. Petra gets a job as a kitchen in the castle. She is fired and goes into the Dye Room with Mistress Iris. She works with Iris, making different colors. Iris has an acid attack because she sweats acid. Petra gets a day off while Iris calms down. She sees Neel who works in the stables. They visit the garden. Petra gets a pass to the library to research minerals. She asks Sadie about residents or guests with Worry Vials. Iris makes a new primary color for the prince. She gets to the fourth floor. With Neel, they steal the captain of the guard's Worry Vial. They use water to get some worries and find out where Petra's father's eyes are hidden. Emil catches her, making her flee back to the castle. The prince's birthday happens. Petra sees fireworks for the first time. She talks to Dee an English spy. She makes a blood oath with Neel and tells him the truth about the clock her father made. She gets a job as a maid to the prince. She stays in Iris's room one day. Astrophil her spider gets caught by the prince. Petra and Neel break into the Cabinet of Wonders. She finds her father's eyes and the heart of the clock Dee was looking for. She destroys the heart and flees. They find Iris's room. The mistress helps them escape. They get to the stables where they take a horse from Jarek. Neel leaves Petra with the promise to meet again. Petra goes home to Okno. She gives her father his eyes back. She prepares for soldiers to come, taking up an invisible weapon to practice. 
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Stubborn. Reckless. Loves her family. Tough. Knows metals. Has a pet spider named Astrophil. Daughter to the creator of the clock. Hard worker. Determined. Sets her mind to things and gets through the task. Meets a Roma boy named Neel. Befriends easily. Cheeky. 

I was really impressed with this book. As some background information, I've been looking for this for around four years. Give it take. I finally found it. And I was impressed. 
I really liked Petra. She had spunk. Sure. She was younger than the characters I typically read, but she was as reckless as some others that are eighteen or nineteen. (That is simply annoying.) Petra cared for her father. She was reckless in a bad/good way. She was kind. Petra was one of those characters you love. Not matter what they did. She was funny in an odd way. You root for Petra. Hope she succeeds. 
And Neel. I can't believe Neel. He has magical fingers. What thief wouldn't love that? Neel was really interesting. A family guy. He cared for his family. Really cared. Even if he wasn't blood related. He cared for Petra too. In his own way. (The present. Look at that scene. The horseshoe. Wow. Just wow. I smell a relationship.) He was interesting. I want to know about his past. How he got to be with the Lovari. Why he stays. Who he is. 
The magic was amazing. I loved the idea of having metal abilities. Tomik's powers too. And whatever the prince has. (Is that just intuition or something? Can't tell.) I love magical worlds in general. Especially if they're done well. This combines magical elements with the actual world. There is a Bohemia. Or was. There was a Hapsburg Empire. It combines realistic elements with fantastical ones. I don't expect magical beasts. This isn't 'Leviathan'. (You'll know what I mean if you've read it. It's a historical fiction with steampunk and animals used as weapons. It's a good book. I recommend it.) This book isn't too high fantasy. It's not 'Lord of the Rings'. But it's not light fantasy like some urban fantasy these days. It's amazing how this book works. 
I can say I liked most of this book. I really did.
The cliffhanger drove me crazy. I'm happy I don't haw to wait weeks to read the next one. Will they get caught? Will they escape? What happens next? What about Neel? I really liked Neel. What happens? Questions linger in my mind. I can't help it. This book leaves you wondering. You know the prince will come. The story foreshadows it. I can't wait for the next one. 
The quick ending annoyed me. I wish there was more. I know it's juvenile fiction. I know. But I wish there was more. This series could be young adult. If it was longer. And has an older protagonist. (You can barely tell how old Petra is sometimes.) I wish the story was a bit slower. We get a bunch of scenes in the castle. And a lot of different jobs. But the ending is rushed. The action scene where they escape is skimmed through. I wanted more action. Maybe more fighting. Even if neither Neel not Petra could fight. It would have been interesting. Really interesting. 

Clear skies

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