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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

Congrats, Melina!

Now, onto today’s feature.

The Iron Thorn

Book 1, Iron Codex

By Caitlin Kittredge

(Copy provided by Delacorte)

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.

I was very excited to read this book, because a) it’s steampunk, b) the MC’s name is Aoife, c) enter the Fae.

Yep.

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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What was in my mailbox for the month of march?

Books I talk about in this edition:

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (gift)
The Iron Thorn by Catlin Kittredge
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
The Hunt of the Unicorn by C.C. Humphreys
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Also…can you spot the tot?

Thanks to Harmony, of Harmony’s Radiant Reads, Random House, and Harcourt.

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren

 

 

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Steampunkapalooza is here!!!

First off, I’d like to announce the winners of our Steampunkapalooza kickoff giveaway of five copies of Rise of the Iron Moon.

And the winners are…

Tina

Katherine Wagner

Nicole

Carlie A.

*lizzie starr


Please contact me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to collect your prize.

Today to officially kick off Steampunkapalooza 2011, I am very excited to introduce Caitlin Kittredge.  I also have a copy of her new YA Steampunk The Iron Thorn to giveaway   to one lucky commenter.

Caitlin Kittredge writes the Iron Codex novels, steampunk fantasy for young adults.  She also writes urban fantasy and horror for adult audiences.  She lives in Massachusetts with comic books, cats and far too many vintage dresses.

 

 

 

Why Steampunk Fantasy

by Caitlin Kittredge

I get the question a lot: Why steampunk fantasy?  Why choose to set a story about Lovecraftian monsters, evil faeries and blood-drinking nightstalkers in an alternate 1950s where steam power runs the world and the atomic age never came to be?  Couldn’t I just as easily have set my novel in modern-day Akron, Ohio?

No offense to the lovely city of Akron, but yes and no.  I love steampunk—I was a genre fan long before I decided to take a crack at writing it.  More than steampunk, though, I love genre remixes—two unexpected story elements juxtaposed so they prop each other up, rather than conflicting.  One thing that always surprised me, though, was the rigidity of some steampunk proponents.  It must be set in the Victorian era.  It must only have a science fiction basis, no magic, monsters or otherworldly creatures mucking it up.  Not to say that you can’t choose what steampunk is your steampunk—you absolutely can, and should.

My steampunk happens to have tentacle monsters.

Steampunk called out to the type of story I wanted to write—one not just about a girl trying to save her brother from the machinations of the faerie court, but one about a totilitarian government who keeps its citizens “safe” with its great machines, but also uses those same machines to grind dissidents under its heel.  Take away the vast winds of change swept in by the Manhattan Project, and you’ve got a government that won World War II with the help of steam, a government that demanded total obedience from its people, lest they lose faith in science and reason and allow the unthinkable to happen—to allow in the magic that, though science might try to stamp it out, is evident in every corner of the world I created.

Steampunk usually features at least some alternate history, and I love it.  I love asking what if, so when I decided to write my alternate history, big steam powered cities and fleets of dirigibles slotted themselves in pretty naturally.  I also think it’s a genre that suits itself wonderfully to combining with others.  The rigidity doesn’t need to be your steampunk. I don’t necessarily follow the “steampunk can be anything you want” school of thought—goggles and gears don’t make a story, movie, or whatever steampunk on their own—but I do think it cries out for fresh blood, for new elements, be they fantasy, mystery, horror, what have you.

So that’s why steampunk fantasy, on my end.  I’d love to keep combining, keep remixing.  I get so excited when I authors or creators doing things  like noir steampunk, 1920s grit and darkness fused with automatons and ray guns, or Imperial Japanese steampunk, set during the conflicts of Meiji Japan. (Steam-powered samurai, anyone?)

Those are my remixes.  I’d love to hear some of yours!

~Caitlin Kittredge

http://www.caitlinkittredge.com/

 

Contest ends Sunday, April 10th at 11:59 PST.  Open internationally.

 

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I totally forgot to put up the Feb edition of “In My Mailbox.”   I’m still very new to the whole Vlog thing.  I get so nervous and I just know I said something wrong.  And, oh, the faces I make!  I don’t think I’m doing this right.

The books I talk about in the Feb edition are

Invasion by Jon S. Lewis (YA, a C.H.A.O.S novel)

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge (YA)

Heartless by Gail Carriger (Adult, book 4 Parasol Protectorate, released July 2011)

Thanks to Orbit, Thomas Nelson, and Delacorte Press for sending me these books.

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren

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