The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski
Last night was the book release party for Marie’s first book, The Cabinet of Wonders. It was filled with professors, economists and rock climbers. And my husband was right, the bathroom was astonishingly large. Marie, though not the actual host, did a wonderful job of getting people to mix and introducing everyone around. We had fun and stayed later than we should.
Marie was bullied into giving us a copy of the book pre-release, and it’s really a joy though it’s been a couple of months since I read it. It’s being reviewed very well and getting publisher’s weekly stars and sequels will be released. I think this book will be an easy sell. It’s got a pretty cover, a plucky heroine, a mix of believable history with magic and fantastical science, and a wry sense of humor I had forgotten about until hearing Marie read aloud from it last night. If clockwork-punk isn’t a thing yet, it should be.
Based loosely on Prague’s Astronomical Clock, in the story a powerful clock is built for the Bohemian prince by Petra’s father. Upon completion, the prince steals the clockmaker’s magic eyes not only so that nothing can built to rival it, but so that he can unlock its secrets on his own. Petra travels to Prague hoping to bring back the eyes, not realizing how entangled in the castle she’ll become and how dangerously close she’ll get to the prince.
The time period, as both created and recreated by Marie is dangerous and exciting, it’s a world on the brink of scientific change and discovery, with stakes made high by the presence of small magics.
Ages 10-13 are the best fit for the book and I think it would find a happy place in both children’s and young adult collections.