Of Iron, Engines & Insanity

Lovecraft, Massachusetts. A city where Proctors rule over the people with an iron cruel fist and an engine turns beneath the ground. Where Aoife Grayson has grown up and watched the people she loves most go mad. The place she cannot escape…but the place she must leave behind.

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge painted a fantastic picture of a world that mirrors the 1950s…only it’s not our 1950s. We are drawn into a world of iron, madness and engines, a world where ghouls, disgusting ugly creatures roam the darkest parts of the city and where magic is condemned, not even to be spoken of or read in books.

Aoife Grayson is a ward of the state. Ever since her mother was placed in one of the madhouses in Lovecraft, she and her brother Conrad became the state’s business. But then her dear brother, on his sixteenth birthday like their mother, succumbed to the necrovirus that Aoife, and everyone else, believes pulses in their blood from birth. Her brother escaped Lovecraft after he attempted to kill Aoife and she was left alone. So alone she visits her mother in the madhouse and listens to her speak of going to lily fields and seeing faeries. All Aoife wants is to remain normal passed her sixteenth birthday…which is only weeks away. She attends the School of Engines, one of the only girls in her class of future engineers, her best friend Cal is as loyal as a dog and she, like any ward of the state who is looked down upon because of her mad mother and brother, cannot bear to watch the burning of the people who supposedly ‘practice’ magic in the streets. There is no such thing as magic or faeries. Aoife knows this. She relies on science and facts.

But Aoife has not heard the last from her brother Conrad. He has managed to send her notes since his disappearance, notes with hidden messages behind the words. As Aoife uncovers his latest secret message she finds a cry for help from the brother she still loves. Her mind wars within her, wondering if this is just another rambling from a madman or if it’s possible that her brother has conquered the necrovirus and is finally sane once again. No matter what, he is her brother and she will not abandon him.

The Iron Thorn was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time! Caitlin Kittredge created a world of iron, madness and creepy creatures that enthralled me from the beginning. I fell in love with Aoife’s character immediately. You feel deeply the misfortune of this young woman and are just as anxious as she is to see if she will develop the madness that claimed her mother and brother when she turns sixteen. With her birthday looming just a few weeks away, she feels the eyes of everyone, including her best friend Cal, on her. Waiting for her to break. Waiting for the nightmares to claim her mind, the mad talk to spill from her lips. Yet, even with this dark fate shadowing her future, all Aoife can think or care about is helping her brother.

So, with her faithful friend Cal by her side, Aoife sets out to Arkham to find her brother. But two students, underage and leaving the city requires tact and speed. They know they will not be released easily, so the only way is to run. Aoife and Cal soon discover that their troubles are far from over. In the darkest part of the city of Lovecraft, they are nearly taken below ground and fed to the ghouls…but a mysterious boy who smokes cigarettes and has silver eyes saves them both from that. Aoife meets Dean, the young man she ends up hiring to guide her and Cal out of the city to Arkham where she may or may not confront her father, Archibald Grayson, at his home called Graystone. Everything in Conrad’s letter is leading her to that house and to the unknown.

There was a decent amount of everything in this book. From Cal’s loyalty to Aoife, even though he believes she will eventually go mad, to Aoife’s growing relationship with Dean. I found this book refreshing and exciting. But I would also say that it may not be for everyone. For those of you who don’t like seeing bad language, even a little bit, in a book, then this may not be for you. More than once, one of our characters curses. It doesn’t bother me, but if you’re the type who prefers not seeing that, then that could put a damper on the story for you. While there was some suggestive talk once or twice, you have nothing to worry about in the ‘steamy’ category where this book is concerned. The romance that begins to unfold between Aoife and Dean can only be described as sweet, and in my opinion that’s the best kind of romance for any book. 🙂

With danger lurking around every corner, a dash of romance between Aoife and Dean, and a cliffhanger ending, The Iron Thorn had everything I could ever want in a fantasy novel! I loved it and am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. So, I highly recommend The Iron Thorn to anyone who enjoys a good YA Fantasy novel.

the iron thorn

Coming Soon: The love of her life leaves her behind…her best friend turns on her…heart and soul broken, will Bella still run away to save the life of the boy who deserted her? Look for my review of New Moon by Stephenie Meyer, tomorrow!!


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