The Pumpkin Queen (wheeker) wrote,
The Pumpkin Queen

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The Cabinet of Wonders, Marie Rutkoski

If the name 'Sloane' (or, previous to that, 'Knot') is known to you in relation to the author of this journal, then you will probably understand why this YA novel nearly made me squeal in front of my entire 2nd period class in the library when I recently discovered it.

Petra Kronos has a simple, happy life. But it's never been ordinary. She has a tin spider named Astrophil who likes to hide in her snarled hair. 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 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.

Mortal Seeming
If Beatrix Potter were to drop acid, Sloane would be her heroine. The orange, Peruvian poncho she wears as an armor against an ambiguous chill shrouds most of the upper portion of her too-thin form, neither short nor tall. But beneath, an eccentric style comes to the fore. She wears a drab olive, moth-eaten V-necked sweater over a black T-shirt with white lettering, the only letters of which are visible are 'WAN' at the gap of the neckline. Sliding closely down her slight frame to brush against the tops of her shoes is a black, woolen, straight skirt. Her canvas hightops are tied with nightmare knots that leave the long laces to drag as she walks. No less than a dozen rubberbands hang loosely around her bony wrists; and wound like a choker around her throat is a thick, larger sized rubberband that constricts the skin in a manner that can’t be altogether pleasant. The woman's hair is a mass of unkempt braids nearly as dark as her bruised-looking eyes. Some long-formed habit sketches her words in hushed, broken tone that can be contagious.

Fae Seeming
Dive beneath a pile autumn leaves on a chilly October morning; this is the distinctively loamy scent of Halloween and hayrides, of Jack-O-Lanterns and burning leaves that intimates Sloane's proximity. With a tangle of hair that most certainly contains a nest or three, and unblinking, bruised-dark eyes seemingly lacking of iris, Sloane regards the world with an expression that is a constant collision of aloof fascination and involved mistrust. Beneath a poncho that seems to swallow her up, the Sluagh wears a dress of autumn leaves, woven together by a half dozen silkworms who continuously repair and weave the garment. Her shoes are the same in this seeming and just as incongruous. There is no questioning her kith after first glance at her gaunt cheeks or upon hearing the hoarse rasp of her voice when she speaks. Despite her race, however, she most often takes the garish sights and sounds of the world with stoic aplomb.

**Let's not forget her familiar (I don't remember all the vernacular), M'nemnii, the chimerical spider who lives in her hair. It was my idea first!

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