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Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski fantasy authorMarie Rutkoski received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. Ms. Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College. She lives in New York City with her husband and cat. The Cabinet of Wonders is her debut novel. Learn more at Marie Rutkoski’s website.
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The Kronos Chronicles

The Kronos Chronicles — (2008-2011) Ages 9-12. Publisher: 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. This startling debut novel, about the risks we take to protect those we love, brims with magic, political intrigue, and heroism.

1. The Cabinet of Wonders (2008) 2. The Celestial Globe1. The Cabinet of Wonders (2008) 2. The Celestial Globe1. The Cabinet of Wonders (2008) 2. The Celestial Globe 3. The Jewel of the Kalderash

The Cabinet of Wonders: Charms, chills, and whimsy

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The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski

The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski is perhaps not itself a "wonder" (that sort of praise is a bit too breathlessly over the top), but it comes close enough to deserve an enthusiastic recommendation and a preeminent place on any child's shelf. Start with several appealing and richly drawn characters; add an inventive mix of history, folk tales, and the author's own plotting; toss in an original blend of various magics and technologies, sprinkle a few grim moments about and several more whimsical ones; add one villain who both charms and chills, and a possible ally who mostly just chills; and top it all off with an intelligent mechanical spider and what you get is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Cabinet of Wonders is set near the end of the 16th century in quasi-historical P... Read More

The Celestial Globe: Solid and rewarding YA

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The Celestial Globe by Marie Rutkoski

The Celestial Globe is the second book in Marie Rutkoski’s Kronos Chronicles, following last year’s Cabinet of Wonders, which was a wonderful start with strong characterization, a creative mix of 16th century history and folk tales in service of a compelling plot, and a wonderful sense of both light and grim whimsy. The Celestial Globe isn’t as strong, but it’s a rewarding read in its own right and more than fulfills the purpose of a second book: convincing the reader to stay with the series.

The young girl Petra is back as the central character, along with her several compatriots: a mechanical spider named Astrophil, a young Roma named Neel whose magical gift... Read More

The Jewel of the Kalderash: A wholly satisfactory close to the trilogy

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The Jewel of the Kalderash by Marie Rutkoski

The Jewel of the Kalderash is the third and final book in the children's historical fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles by Marie Rutkoski. The first, The Cabinet of Wonders, was excellent (I gave it a strong 4 in my review) and while the second book, The Celestial Globe, wasn’t quite as good, that was mostly due to Cabinet being so strong. The Jewel of the Kalderash, like its predecessor, doesn’t quite reach the quality of The Cabinet of Wonders, but it is quite good — certainly better than much of what I see — and makes for a wholly satisfactory close to the trilogy.

In this final volume, the villainous Prince Rodolfo is quic... Read More

The Winners

The Winner’s Trilogy — (2014-2016) Young adult. Publisher: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

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The Winner’s Curse: Rutkoski won me over

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The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Marie Rutkoski is a good writer. I’ve known that from when I read The Cabinet of Wonders, the first book of her KRONOS CHRONICLES, a Middle Grade trilogy. While the subsequent books weren’t quite as good, I still enthusiastically recommended the series. And I can tell Rutkoski is still a good writer after reading her newest YA entry, The Winner’s Curse, because even though I had some large issues with the novel, issues that normally would have made me not recommend it, somehow, Rutkoski still had me whipping through the book in a single sitting. And has me ending up happily recommending it. Despite my list of things I didn’t like. A curse indeed.

Kestrel is the too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter of General Trajan, commander of the Valorian Empire’s army. Ten years ago, that arm... Read More

The Winner’s Crime: A richly layered middle book in a strong trilogy

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The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Crime is the second book by Marie Rutkoski in her young adult WINNERS TRILOGY, and like the first, though I had some issues with some aspects, Rutkoski’s writing fully won me over even before we got to yet another great ending. It’s pretty much impossible to not have some spoilers for book one, The Winner’s Curse, in this review, so fair warning. Any spoilers for The Winner’s Crime will be minor. Spoilers for book one start in the next paragraph.

At the end of The Winner’s Curse (told you spoilers were starting), Kestrel had managed to avert major bloodshed and battle by negotiating with the Emperor to have Herra... Read More

Other books by Marie Rutkoski

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Shadow Society — (2012) Publisher: Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere — but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population. Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her. As if she were his enemy. When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything — not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever… In this smart, compulsively readable novel, master storyteller Marie Rutkoski has crafted an utterly original world, characters you won’t soon forget, and a tale full of intrigue and suspense.fantasy and science fiction book reviews


Jacks and Queens at the Green Mill — (2012) Publisher: Few know that the Great Chicago Fire was started deliberately, as a genocide of deadly creatures called Shades. Fewer still know that they didn’t die, not quite… but one human will confront the truth when an ominous beauty makes him gamble for his life.


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