The Cabinet of Wonders begins with a rickety cart making its way through the Bohemian countryside to the village of Okno. After being in Prague for quite sometime, Mikal Kronos is finally coming home to his daughter Petra. Yet, when Mikal returns with bandages across his face, Petra knows something has gone terribly wrong. It seems that after building the magnificent clock requested by Prince Rodolfo, the Prince had Mikal's eyes removed to prevent him from ever building another clock and he has decided to wear Mikal's eyes himself. Petra can't understand why her father isn't upset but she knows she must go the the Castle and steal his eyes back. Petra learns that the clock her father built is powerful enough to control the weather, but the Prince may other more sinster plans for it as well. When Petra makes her way into the city, she finds help from Neel who has magical talents of his own, together they hope to bring down the clock before it can destroy anything and locate The Cabinet of Wonders holding her fathers eyes.
While at the school book fair recently, I got to talking about fantasy books with the book sellers (we have similar interests in books and they always bring some really neat series) and The Cabinet of Wonders was one that came up. My copy is the paperback up above but I'm posting the hardcover down below too. I must say I like both of them. The hardcover has really nice elements from the story and conveys some of the action but the pet tin spider up in the left corner of the paperback really screams steampunk.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the Cabinet of Wonders are the varied magical abilities the characters possessed. Like moving metal with your mind to make spiders, birds and dogs, and bending and enchanting glass to trap lightening inside, very cool. Even Neel's ghost like fingers that can pick pocket with ease added some action to the story. I also enjoyed how Rutkoski choose to set the story during the European Renaissance. Although she does point out that the people and events in the story are loosely based on some historical events and actual people that she knows, she goes on to give more detailed information in the Authors Note. I highly recommend making sure your copy has the Authors Note at the end for information about the characters origins, history about cabinets of wonder and Bohemia. Overall, a nice mix of magic, steampunk with historical fantasy. Favorite quote "The horseshoe makes its own luck." Review copy was purchased.