Christmas in August continues with a new giveaway. Today we’re featuring Caitlin Kittredge’s The Iron Thorn and one lucky commenter will win a copy!
But first, the winner of the Yoda ornament…
Melina from Reading Vacation
Now, onto today’s feature.
The Iron Thorn
Book 1, Iron Codex
By Caitlin Kittredge
(Copy provided by Delacorte)
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 was very excited to read this book, because a) it’s steampunk, b) the MC’s name is Aoife, c) enter the Fae.
The Iron Thorn is set in Lovecraft, MA. But her world is a completely re-imagined version of the US, a dim and grim world that’s been ravaged by a virus purported to cause madness and mutation. The citizens live in fear of the virus, strange creatures, and of the government. Any thought deemed illogical is heretical, including fairy stories, magic, and witchcraft. Heretics are burned–or worse. The city of Lovecraft is so gritty, the fear the citizens live in so intense, it leaves me wanting to take a shower then cower under the blankets.
Because this world is so very different from ours, Kittredge has to do an incredible amount of worldbuilding to set the stage. She does an amazing job of weaving her world–from the explanations of the machines to the social structure of her world–without being intrusive.
As much as I’m intrigued by Aiofe’s life–her being a student at the school of engines, her relationship with her mother who’s been deemed insane, and the orderly fear-driven life she leads in Lovecraft, for me the story really picks up when she and her best friend Cal flee Lovecraft to aid her brother.
From the moment she and Cal go to find a guide to smuggle them out of the city, she starts to realize how different the world is from what their leaders want them to believe. The further she, Cal, and their guide Dean get from the city the more she’s pulled into the “heretical” world of magic and witchcraft her city’s government is so against.
This book is full of surprising twists and turns. Aiofe is a great MC-strong, smart, and open-minded yet unwavering in her core beliefs. Cal, her best friend, is very much the opposite for much of the book–a hard-core rule follower and believer in what the city’s leader’s tell her. But Cal does go with her on her dangerous adventure outside the city and comes through when she needs him most. Dean, their guide, is a great foil for Cal. Dean is a bit shady and operates outside the rules.
Kittredge does a great job of seamlessly interweaving magic and the Fae with the stark grimness of her Steampunk world.
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next.
Want to win my copy? Leave a comment below. Open internationally. Contest closes August 28th at 11:59 PM.
Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens. Her debut novel, Innocent Darkness, book one of The Aether Chronicles, releases August 2012 from Flux.
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