Title: The Iron Thorn
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Source: Book It Forward ARC Tours
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. [via GoodReads]
What a very unique adventure you'll find in The Iron Thorn. Set in an alternate Boston, Lovecraft, almost has the feel of a dystopian society. Where the government has control of its people and something as simple as believing in a fairytale will deem you a heretic. Aiofe is worried now that she is on the cusp of her 16th birthday - the same age that both her mother and older brother went mad. When she receives a message from her brother a few weeks before her birthday she grabs her BFF and they are off to discover what truly happened to him.
I really tried to love this book and there were many things about it that I did enjoy. For instance, I loved the steampunk-ness of it. It was dark and spooky and I was captivated by every dark corner just worrying about what was waiting to jump out at you from it. I loved the machinery, the magic, the madness of it all. The world building was phenomenal. It was truly as if you were transported to another time and place. The descriptions were so vivid that you could easily envision Lovecraft and its inhabitants.
My main complaint is that the book is so long. I felt that the story could have easily been told in half its size. The plot itself was also somewhat complicated so between that and me trying to truly grasp everything that was taking place, it felt tedious at times. I also hated the name Aiofe. I had the same problem with Hermione (Harry Potter) for the first three HP books until it was finally explained in the fourth book. I know I never pronounced Aiofe right and just hated the doubt and pretty much the name altogether. With names like Conrad, Calvin and Dean you would've thought our heroine had a name that was much simpler to say.
Unfortunately, I didn't love The Iron Thorn, but I didn't hate it either. There were many moments that I was taken in by it but others that just didn't connect with me. This is the first installment in The Iron Codex series so be aware that there is an abrupt ending. I can't say for sure that I'll be reading the rest in this series, but for fans of Steampunk and fantasy this might be one to interest you.