Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: The Iron Thorn

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Iron Thorn
  *Series: The Iron Codex (Book 1)
Author: Cailtlin Kittredge
Publisher: Delacorte
Pages: Hardcover; 512
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Source: Library
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild violence
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy immersion in a fabulous fantasy world.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Librarything / Amazon / B&N
In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

I'm honestly not sure how to explain how much I love this book! I mean, really. It blew me away in all the best ways possible. I'm a huge fan of Fantasy and of Steampunk. Caitlin Kittredge takes these two genres, throws in a bit of dysptopia, and blends it together into something  beautifully unique and wonderful. Looking for something to chase those reading blues away? Take this for a spin!

The Iron Thorn follows Aoife through a tough time in her life. Her family has a history of madness, and it seems to hit them each around their 16th birthday. Unfortunately for Aoife....that's just weeks away. The reader watches as Aoife is swept up in a whirlwind adventure to figure out her past, her present, and her future all at once. This is a dark and epic quest, that is filled with some of the most intriguing and disturbing creatures imaginable. I don't know if these characters live in Kittredge's brain, but if they do I'd love to talk creepiness with her! I love that there is an underlying link to fae here as well. Keep a look out, it's hidden wonderfully well.

It is really the world building that brings this book to life. The city of Lovecraft is built from bits and pieces of H.P. Lovecraft's writing, with other elements thrown in. As I mentioned above, this isn't just a Fantasy novel. There is so much more to it. Lovecraft and it's surrounding areas are gorgeously dismal. There is a sense of fear and darkness that lays over everything. The atmosphere that is built makes you want to crawl under a blanket and read by lamplight, even if it is daytime outside. No kidding, there were descriptions in this book that made me shudder visibly. However it's not all dark if you're worried about that. Underneath everything is that fantastical sense of adventure and camaraderie. I won't spoil anything, but it's fantastic.

The characters, even besides just Aoife, burn off the page! Aoife is fierce, brave and utterly loyal. Her friend Cal is very rooted in what is right, normal and "proper" but is also an extremely loyal friend to Aoife. Then there is Dean, sweet Dean. The vagabond boy who turns guide, and just so happens to be the apple of Aoife's eye. Brave to a fault, and more than what he seems, he was absolutely my favorite character in the book. Each one of them has their own beautiful personality and wit. Add in the colorful characters that they encounter as they travel and I was completely swept away into the world of Lovecraft.

I can't say anything more. I just don't know what else to write. If you can't already tell, The Iron Thorn was everything I was looking for in a book. It pulled me out of my reading slump, and back into a love of the written world.

I wouldn't quite call this High Fantasy, since it still has one foot in reality, but definitely do your research if you aren't generally a fan of this genre. The Iron Thorn might not appeal to you. However, if you are a lover of Fantasy, of Steampunk, or even of Dystopian fiction, pick up a copy stat! I promise that if you allow yourself to get lost in the words, lost in the world, you'll experience something so amazingly unique it might just make you drop your jaw. The next book is still so far away! 


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