Title: The Nightmare Garden
* Series: Iron Codex (Book 2)
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 432
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence/Language
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who devoured the first book and were eagerly awaiting the next!
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Everything Aoife thought she knew about the world was a lie. There is no Necrovirus. And Aoife isn't going to succumb to madness because of a latent strain—she will lose her faculties because she is allergic to iron. Aoife isn't human. She is a changeling—half human and half from the land of Thorn. And time is running out for her.
When Aoife destroyed the Lovecraft engine she released the monsters from the Thorn Lands into the Iron Lands and now she must find a way to seal the gates and reverse the destruction she's ravaged on the world that's about to poison her.
The Nightmare Garden is the second book in the Iron Codex series. I've been eagerly awaiting it ever since I read the first book last year. In this series we follow Aoife and her ragtag group of companions on a quest for answers and ultimately redemption. All Aoife wants is to fix the things that she has broken. To find a way to be normal again. Unfortunately for her that doesn't seem to be in the cards. Everything that comes her way is dark, and adventurous.
One thing I completely loved about this second book is how much more of Kittredge's world we get to see. In The Iron Thorn Aoife shows us Lovecraft and a glimpse at some of the surrounding area. In this book we are treated an in depth view of The Mists. A drab, cold and in between place that is hauntingly beautiful. On top of that, Aoife treks across all manner of new and interesting areas. From a high flying city in the sky, to a quiet shanty town, it was a delight to watch Kittredge effortlessly craft more of the world I wanted to be lost in.
Making it even easier to get lost in this book, is the fact that all the familiar characters are back. Aoife and her brother interact a lot more here, and I loved the way that they were so different. Dean is back and sweet as ever. I was so excited to find out more about him this time around! My one gripe was Cal. Poor, sweet Cal. In the first story he was such a standby for Aoife, such a best friend. In this one he doesn't really make much of an impact and is kind of just there to be counted among the group. It bugged me that he changed so drastically and Aoife just seemed to push him to the side.
The other thing that nagged at me was the pacing in the book. I understood that it was a slow buildup to what was coming at the end, but it felt bogged down at times. Although I deeply love these characters, the first few chapters were a slight chore for me to get through. I am happy to say though that, once things were off and running, I was in for the long haul! Despite the length of this book, it seemed to fly by once I was fully immersed. If you are a reader who is easily daunted by slow first chapters please keep reading! The Nightmare Garden picks up pace and you'll be breathless by the end.
Speaking of the end, cliffhangers. I am thourougly hooked and baited, waiting for the next installment. Although this isn't my favorite in the series, I'll be honest and say it is still fantastic! The Nightmare Garden sets up some questions that I really want to see answered in the last book. If you enjoyed getting lost in Lovecraft the first time, I can guarantee you'll find even more to love this second time around.
Other books reviewed in the series:
The Iron Thorn (The Iron Codex #1)
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.