The Jewel of the Kalderash


Here is where I notice that my being bothered by language discrepancies is selective… Rutkoski also fails to use proper feminine endings on last names, but since her last names sounded more Latin than Czech to me to start with, it didn’t bother me.  Petra really should be Petra Kronosova if her father’s last name is Kronos. 


The Jewel of the Kalderash by Marie Rutkoski

Our three friends, Petra, Neel and Tomik are all sailing on a gypsy ship when we meet back up with them.  They are traveling to the secret Romany kingdom of Vatra, located off the coast of India, where Petra hopes to learn how to turn her father back from an evil killer Gray Man.  But when they get there, these concerns are quickly overtaken by Neel’s difficulties. It seems that the Romany have a rotating 4-year rulership, and Neel is the bastard son of the current, near-death queen.  Once king, Neel will have the power to help Petra and Tomik – but also be the very young ruler of four competing tribes, many of whom would like to see the crown just rotate to the next tribe.  There are several assassination attempts, and also a lot of upset that Neel’s closest friends are gadje.  While Petra is trying to learn how to control her magic, they receive news from Bohemia that the evil Prince Rodolfo’s brothers, the other potential heirs to the Empire, are mysteriously dying off.  Leaving Neel to fend for himself, Petra, Tomik and of course, Petra’s little spider Astrophil, journey to Austria to try to intercept Prince Rodolfo on his journey to pick up his crown.  In the midst of all this, neither Neel nor Tomik is content to be just friends with Petra anymore, and both are trying to be romantic and win her over.  There were just the barest hints of this in the earlier books, and, inveterate romantic that I am, I was surprised to find that I didn’t like the romance.  I enjoyed the purity of just being friends with multiple people of the opposite gender, without having to bring romance into it.  I was also not sure that I agreed with Petra’s choice at the big climactic moment, though of course I could tell that the story had been building to some kind of choice for a long time.  The ending was, therefore, a little disappointing to me on two levels.  Still, the intrigue and politics from three kingdoms, combined with lots of personal action, and vivid, growing characters was impossible to put down and should definitely be read by fans of the first two books. 

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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