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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

Title: The Iron Thorn
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Genre: Steampunk YA
Release Date: 02/22/11
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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.

Plot: 4 Stars
The Steampunk details the author brought to the table were my favorite part of this novel. Not only were all of the different vehicles and machines explained in detail, but also the social structure of the world that was built. The city of Lovecraft ran on steam and was controlled by order. There was a slight "Big Brother is watching" feel to the government agency. When Aoife makes it out of the city, on her quest to find her brother, she finds a totally different world out in the countryside. A world not so different from the magic and witchcraft the government is so against. The end of this novel was fantastic. There were a couple twists that threw me completely on my head, and now I can't wait for the next novel to be released. Dean, her other travelling partner, was the polar opposite of Cal, but I enjoyed him more.

Pace: 3 Stars
This was a large novel. It clocks in at a little over five hundred pages. And it felt a little over five hundred pages as I was reading it. Although I did enjoy the details of the book, they were a bit wordy at times. There was also a span in the middle of the novel where Aoife wasn't making much progress in the attempt to find her brother that really slowed the plot down. Even when the plot called for urgency, it didn't always come across as urgent due to the amount of details included in every explaination. But near then end, the twists and turns sucked me back in and the pace picked up for the last one hundred pages.

Characters: 4 Stars
Aoife was a fantastic leading lady. She was a bit of a tomboy and was studying to work with the machines of the city. Even though the government forbids heretics, Aoife never squashes those thoughts, she just learns what she can and cannot say out loud to stay out of trouble. Cal, Aoife's best friend, was really annoying for the majority of the journey. Between his whining and talking down to Aoife, I wanted to punch him in the face. But when he was needed most, he came through in a very surprising way. This information Aoife finds out about her brother and father was very interesting, and I hope it is expanded on in future novels.

Cover: 3 Stars
This cover stands out against it's fellow Young Adult novels, while still blending in a bit. Overall, the cover is a bit dark. I like that you see more of the cover model than just her face. But she looks a bit computer animated. Something about her eyes just doesn't seem real. I'm also a bit confused as to why her clothes are falling off, although her outfit does fit the time period. The birds in the background are a great touch. The curling design behind the title is a detail that is pretty prevelant within many Paranormal Young Adult covers, but it works well when paired with this font. The font chosen is severe and blocky, so the curling design softens it a bit and helps it blend into the rest of the image.

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this novel for my own reading pleasure.


  1. ahhhh, I've been wondering how Kittredge's young adult novel would be like. Sounds interesting...except for the bit in the middle. :) I've enjoyed the other novels by Kittredge. I like the cover on this also.

  2. Great review! I keep trying to decide if this is one I want to read. Still not sure, but this definitely adds to the positive side!

  3. Very interesting! The cover definitely stands out. Thanks for the review. =)

  4. This sounds like a good one but the reviews seem mixed. I’ll have to check it out & see what I think :) Great review!


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