Monday, February 21, 2011

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

Title: The Iron Thorn
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
E-ARC, 492 pages
Date Published: February 22, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.
The Iron Thorn is my first real venture into steampunk and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The world of Lovecraft, an alternate 1950’s Massachusetts, is all iron and machines. I could feel the cold, hard metal with each page. Caitlin Kittredge is a master at bringing this world to life and is so detailed in her storytelling that I not only read about Aoife’s journey, but I became a member of her rogue group.

Aoife herself is far from the 1950’s standard of an upstanding lady. Her brash behavior and strong demeanor makes her stand out amongst other girls, and it does not go unnoticed. Not by her best friend Cal, nor Dean, their rough and tumble guide out of Lovecraft. This possible love interest is nearly eclipsed by Aoife’s search for her wayward, and most likely mad brother, Conrad. Her need to help him propels her into a world of magic and witchcraft and things she never would have believed to be real.

The magic plays a huge role in the story and I hadn’t really expected that, though I welcomed it. Learning all the details of the past that Aoife never knew opens up so many doors and unexpected twists. I didn’t even know that one very large aspect of the story was going to come into play, though in hindsight I probably should have. Either way, I loved it. I loved getting to know Aoife, wanting to punch Cal, inching closer to Dean, and discovering an interest in the clockwork house of Graystone.

The necrovirus that lays dormant in Aoife’s blood is never forgotten about, even as she desperately tries to find her brother before the madness takes hold. Her encounter with ghouls and voices and diaries that show her images really add to this feeling of a lingering insanity. Surrounding all of this is Dean. I’m pretty sure I need to have a closet (like several other bloggers) to lock book boys in to keep forever. Dean is joining Will from Angelfire in my closet because I want him. He has a James Dean air about him with all his swagger and bravado, but he can be vulnerable too. I can’t blame Aoife for wanting to let him in.

The Iron Thorn is creepy and dark and filled with things that go bump in the night and I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s a story full of secrets and surprises, old-fashioned ideas and language, but more so about a girl desperate to cling to the only family she ever had, despite the fact that she may be losing her mind. Long as it may be, The Iron Thorn opens up a trilogy that I plan on devouring and rereading many times in the future.

Opening lines: There are seventeen madhouses in the city of Lovecraft. I’ve visited all of them. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines (This book is too quote-worthy, so here are a few):
“Sometimes, madness isn’t the worst of life,” Conrad told me afterward. We sat on the steps even though it was raining, looking down from the courthouse at the dense brick-lined veins of Lovecraft, where normal, usual, uninfected people lived. “Sometimes, it’s the belief that madness has a cure.” ~ pgs. 152-153

“Stories usually start true, Miss Aoife,” Dean said. “A touch of truth makes a lie worth believing.” ~ pg. 161

We fight and we bleed for this hidden world, and the world eats us alive. ~ pg. 225
*This is the ARC version and lines, cover art, etc. may be subject to change before official publication 
4.5
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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13 comments:

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I absolutely love the sound of this one, and I really have a thing for steampunk. I don't think I've read nearly enough of the genre! Fabulous review (as usual), Nikki!

Shannon the BookStalker said...

I don't really read steampunk either, but I'm really looking forward to this one since it sounds so good!

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Haha, well, I love steampunk, so I'm predicting I'll love this one even more. Great review! Dean definitely sounds closet-worthy (AHH, WILLLL) and I'm just glad this book lived up to its intriguing plot. :)

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I've been debating on whether or not to read this one, but after reading your review...TBR list it is! I guess I never realized what The Iron Thorn was actually about. I thought it was more fairy fantasy than steampunk, but I'm glad I stand corrected. Can't wait to give it a shot myself!

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiner's Book Blog) said...

Thanks for awesome review, I've been debating on this one but now I wanna get my hands on it.

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Jessica (BookLover) said...

This is the first I hear of this book and it sounds wonderful. Great review! :)

Candace said...

I'm dying to read this one! If I had the money I'd buy it right now (well, preorder it). I'll have to restrain myself for until next payday though, I think.

Lori said...

OOOO! This is on its way to me right now and I can't wait to dive into it!! I'm so happy to hear that you loved it!

Sniffly Kitty said...

Interesting, this is steampunk? I'm intrigued~~

Sniffly Kitty
Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books
Loving the Reviews Challenge

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

If I can say anything about this book, it's: Give it a shot!! I was surprised by just how much I loved it.

Chelsmac91 said...

This book sounds pretty good and you seemed to have really liked it too. I've been hearing about it everywhere but now I think I'm gonna have to make sure that I check it out.

~The Book Pixie said...

I have been wanting to read a steampunk book and just haven't gotten the chance to yet. Judging from your review, I think I'm really going to enjoy this one and am glad I've got it on my wishlist. Very much looking forward to meeting this Dean character. *waggles eyebrows*

~Briana

Bere said...

I'm so glad you reviewed this one, Nikki! This is one of the books that I'm very excited to read and I can't wait. It sounds really great! I love that its creepy and dark. My favorite. Again, fantastic review. Thank you, Nikki! =)

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