Warning: If you have not read the first book, you may not want to continue. This review contains spoilers.
Aoife Grayson has managed to escape insanity…for now. She has discovered that there is no necrovirus pulsing through her blood. It is not a necrovirus that will drive her mad…it’s iron. Aoife has Fae blood in her and she is allergic to iron as her mother and brother before her are. But it seems now that being allergic to iron is the least of her problems. Lovecraft has been destroyed and nearly everyone in it…because Aoife fell prey to the lies of the evil Fae being, Tremaine. She used her Weird–her power to manipulate machines–to destroy the engine and open the Gates between the Thorn Land and the Iron Land. Now Aoife will do anything to right the wrong she has done and get her mother–who is possibly trapped in the asylum in Lovecraft–out of Lovecraft and as far away from iron forever.
The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge, was an incredible sequel to The Iron Thorn. Caitlin Kittredge weaved a very complex and compelling story, pulling us not only back into a world of iron, engines and insanity. But now she has opened a world of nightmares, Weirds and airships that will leave your heart pounding and your head spinning.
I thought Caitlin Kittredge had opened an exciting new world in the first book of this series The Iron Thorn. I didn’t realize then that she had only given me a glimpse of so many fantastical things to come. She introduces new worlds, new creatures and a whole lot of new problems for Aoife, Dean, Cal and Bethina. The Nightmare Garden was full of tension, sweet romance and plenty of edge-of-your-seat action.
The Nightmare Garden opens in the Mists, a sort of world between worlds, where Aoife’s brother Conrad has taken her and all of her friends to hide. But Aoife’s nightmares haven’t stopped and she’s about to be catapulted right out of the supposed ‘protection’ of the Mists and back into the dangers of the now ruined city of Lovecraft. Aoife is determined to get her mother back. Feeling as though she’d abandoned her after destroying the engine below Lovecraft, she is wracked with the deepest guilt. Of all the people she’d failed when she destroyed the engine below Lovecraft and broke the Gates between worlds, she fells she failed her mother the most. But it seems like everything and everyone in the world is going to stop her from finding Nerissa. Including her father and his much younger girlfriend, Valentina, who come crashing into the story quite suddenly. That was something I honestly wasn’t expecting, but enjoyed very much.
Getting to know Aoife’s brother, Conrad was…interesting. He was a bit stuck up and annoying at first, but then as the book progresses we begin to understand better the boy who ran away and reclaimed his sanity once he separated himself from the iron that was poisoning his mind. Watching how Aoife noticed the change in her brother’s behavior was interesting but we also get to see just how much Aoife has come into her own after everything she’s been through. She’s no longer worried about being the ‘proper young lady’ that everyone told her she should be when she lived in Lovecraft.
There were a couple of more steamy moments between Aoife and Dean, but the romance was still as sweet as it had been in the first book. I loved them to pieces in this book!! Aoife discovers in this book that being near Dean makes everything better for her. She doesn’t realize it, but in this book we watch how with every passing moment she has with Dean she slowly falls deeply in love with him. I loved how the author weaved their romance so gently into the story, it was perfect.
The world is falling apart all around Aoife and no one dreams anymore…no one except Aoife. As she searches for ways to right the wrong she did in Lovecraft, to fix what has been broken between the worlds, she comes face to face with Erlkin, the cold, frightening Winter Queen, the truth of her mother’s heritage and a strange man who continues to appear in her dreams. Through all this, Aoife can feel the iron in the world trying to seep in and poison her and she doesn’t know how much longer she can last in the Iron Land.
So worth the 5 stars and with an ending that left my stomach in knots, The Nightmare Garden didn’t top The Iron Thorn, but sure came close!
Coming Soon: Two enigmatic strangers…one girl with mysterious, beautiful eyes…a terrible secret that will change everything. Which side will Skye choose? Look for my review of A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies, soon!!