I apologize for missing this Tuesday’s post. It appears that summer is busy – we’ve had lots of lovely out of town guests and events going on, which means I’ve had almost NO time for reading or for posting. I’ve fallen a bit behind. I was able to get through The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge this week (snatching moments to read on the subway). I had a really hard time getting into this book – I’m not sure if it’s because I really did not have time to sit down and read for any extended periods, or if it was the book itself. It took me a long time to warm up to Aoife, the main character. I felt like I SHOULD like her but it took me quite a while to.
My immediate thoughts on the major players in the book:
Aoife – Smart but gullible, tough but secretly scared, stubborn and defiant. I felt like she wants to be girly but its just not her fate. A ward of the state and the only female student a the School of Engines, Aoife is a girl who loves machines. She’s also living under the shadow of madness – her sixteenth birthday draws near and her Mother and Brother both went mad when they turned 16. I had a hard time connecting with her but warmed up to her by the end.
Cal – The friend who never seems to do anything right / is always getting into trouble. Super annoying for the greater part of the book. He holds a secret and I liked him A LOT better once it was revealed.
Dean – The ultimate bad boy, who only shows his sensitive side to the right girl. Aside from his nicotine habit (I abhor smoking, even in books) he was actually my favorite character. He also holds a secret. I don’t really buy his motivation to keep hanging around Aoife… but it works.
Graystone – A creepy but in the end Awesome house that has a heart of clockwork and secrets of its own.
Lovecraft – A crazy city powered by an immense aether/steam engine. Controlled by the Proctors, Lovecraft is (as most of the word) battling an epidemic of madness – the “necroviris”. Heretics (believers in anything that remotely smells of witches / magic / witchcraft) are feared and brought to swift justice when caught. Oh and there are nasty creatures that roam city streets after dark.
The basic story: Aoife may or may not go crazy in a few weeks, when she turns 16. She receives a mysterious note from her brother and sets off to rescue / help him, accompanied by her awkward friend Cal and the somewhat sketchy guide they hire (Dean). They travel to Graystone, the home of Aoife’s father, unsure of what they may find. Aoife’s journey to find her brother takes some unexpected turns and reveals secrets about herself and the very fabric of the world.
I feel like this is the kind of book I will like more after the second or third reading. I really liked the sometimes unique metaphors but I felt like I had to re-read paragraphs or pages to make sure that I had caught them right the first time. That is unusual for me (and may be due to reading on the train – so distracting!). It took me a long time to warm up to Aoife even though I wanted to like her. I did appreciate the steampunk flavour, though I was not entirely sure about the mashing of the faerie world and the “iron” world.
I’m going to give it a 3.5/5 , with the caveat that I may change my mind after I read it again. I’m curious what the next book will bring!