Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Iron Thorn Review

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

The Iron Thorn
Caitlin Kittredge
Series: The Iron Codex
Hardcover, 512 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published Date: February 22, 2011 
ISBN-10: 0385738293
ISBN-13: 978-0385738293
*Note* I did receive this book from the author

Product Description from Amazon:

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.

My Review:

The Iron Thorn was my first step into the world of steampunk, and what a first step it was!  I am not unfamiliar with the writings of Kittredge, as I’m a fan of her Nocturne City and Black London novels as well.  Although the latter is adult paranormal/fantasy the former is a delight in young adult fiction that can be appreciated by young and old alike, and even us middle aged folk in between.

In a world of gears and clockwork, machines and iron bridges, Aoife Grayson is a young girl waiting for the day the familiar madness of her mother and brother will take over her life. In the meantime, she occupies herself with studies at the School of Engines, using math to keep herself sane.
                “Far from busywork, numbers are solid and steady. Numbers keep the mind orderly.
                An orderly mind can’t fall into madness, become consumed by its dreams, get sick on
                the fantastic and improbable nations that only the mad can visit.” (pg 21)
 In this time and place, there is no God, no belief in the spiritual or magical. There is only the “rational” following of the Master Builder, of science and reason. Proctors roam the streets, and the believers in magic - the heretics - when found are kept in the Catacombs to be tortured and/or put to death.  The people are afraid of the necrovirus that causes madness and feel safe behind their walls, in their city run by the Great Engine.

I found this to be an amazing novel, and I can’t wait for the continuation of the saga. The world-building was rich with details while still keeping with the mystery of the story.  The reader will think they have a grasp of what is going on only to be thrown for a loop in the next chapter.  There are twists and turns up until the very end.  We are able to grow with Aoife as she discovers things about her family history, things that she could never have imagined to be true. Unfortunately for Aoife life is not going to be easy, and this path of discovery will lead her on a journey of a lifetime.  Thankfully, she has a few friends willing to take the journey with her.

Many thanks to Caitlin Kittredge for writing this interesting and engaging adventure in steampunk.  I think this novel would make an excellent addition to anyone’s shelves. Now that I’ve gotten a taste for it, I may just have to read some more steampunk adventures!

1 comment:

  1. Great job on the review. I have this on my TBR list now because of the review.