The Iron Thorn (Iron Codex Series #1)

The Iron Thorn (Iron Codex Series #1)

by Caitlin Kittredge


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385738309
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 02/14/2012
Series: Iron Codex Series , #1
Pages: 493
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

CAITLIN KITTREDGE is the author of the Nocturne City series, the upcoming Black London adventures for St. Martin's Press, as well as the Icarus Project superhero saga for Bantam Spectra (with Jackie Kessler) (all adult projects). She lives and writes in Massachusetts. You can visit her at

Read an Excerpt


The Ashes of the World

There are seventeen madhouses in the city of Lovecraft. I've visited all of them.

My mother likes to tell me about her dreams when I visit. She sits in the window of the Cristobel Charitable Asylum and strokes the iron bars covering the glass like they are the strings of a harp. "I went to the lily field last night," she murmurs.

Her dreams are never dreams. They are always journeys, explorations, excavations of her mad mind, or, if her mood is bleak, ominous portents for me to heed.

The smooth brass gears of my chronometer churned past four-thirty and I put it back in my skirt pocket. Soon the asylum would close to visitors and I could go home. The dark came early in October. It's not safe for a girl to be out walking on her own, in Hallows' Eve weather.

I called it that, the sort of days when the sky was the same color as the smoke from the Nephilim Foundry across the river, and you could taste winter on the back of your tongue.

When I didn't immediately reply, my mother picked up her hand mirror and threw it at my head. There was no glass in it—hadn't been for years, at least six madhouses ago. The doctors wrote it into her file, neat and spidery, after she tried to cut her wrists open with the pieces. No mirrors. No glass. Patient is a danger to herself.

"I'm talking to you!" she shouted. "You might not think it's important, but I went to the lily field! I saw the dead girls move their hands! Open eyes looking up! Up into the world that they so desperately desire!"

It's a real shame that my mother is mad. She could make a fortune writing sensational novels, those gothics with the cheap covers and breakable spines that Mrs. Fortune, my house marm at the Lovecraft Academy, eats up.

My stomach closed like a fist, but my voice came out soothing. I've had practice being soothing, calming. Too much practice. "Nerissa," I said, because that's her name and we never address each other as mother and daughter but always as Nerissa and Aoife. "I'm listening to you. But you're not making any sense." Just like usual. I left the last part off. She'd only find something else to throw.

I picked up the mirror and ran my thumb over the backing. It was silver, and it had been pretty, once. When I was a child I'd played at being beautiful while my mother sat by the window of Our Lady of Rationality, the first madhouse in my memory, run by Rationalist nuns. Their silent black-clad forms fluttered like specters outside my mother's cell while they prayed to the Master Builder, the epitome of human reason, for her recovery. All the medical science and logic in the world couldn't cure my mother, but the nuns tried. And when they failed, she was sent on to another madhouse, where no one prayed for anything.

Nerissa gave a snort, ruffling the ragged fringe above her eyes. "Oh, am I? And what would you know of sense, miss? You and those ironmongers locked away in that dank school, the gears turning and turning to grind your bones . . ."

I stopped listening. Listen to my mother long enough and you started to believe her. And believing Nerissa broke my heart.

My thumb sank into the depression in the mirror frame, left where an unscrupulous orderly had pried out a ruby, or so my mother said. She accused everyone of everything, sooner or later. I'd been a nightjar, come to drink her blood and steal her life, a ghost, a torturer, a spy. When she turned her rage on me, I gathered my books and left, knowing that we wouldn't speak again for weeks. On the days when she talked about her dreams, the visits could stretch for hours.

"I went to the lily field . . . ," my mother whispered, pressing her forehead against the window bars. Her fingers slipped between them to leave ghost marks on the glass.

Time gone by, her dreams fascinated me. The lily field, the dark tower, the maidens fair. She told them over and over, in soft lyrical tones. No other mother told such fanciful bedtime stories. No other mother saw the lands beyond the living, the rational and the iron. Nerissa had been lost in dreams, in one fashion or another, my entire life.

Now each time I visited I hoped she'd wake up from her fog. And each time, I left disappointed. When I graduated from the Lovecraft Academy, I could be too busy to see her at all, with my respectable job and respectable life. Until then, Nerissa needed someone to hear her dreams, and the duty fell to me. I felt the weight of being a dutiful daughter like a stone strapped to my legs.

I picked up my satchel and stood. "I'm going to go home." The air horn hadn't sounded the end of hours yet, but I could see the dark drawing in beyond the panes.

Nerissa was up, cat-quick, and wrapping her fingers around my wrist. Her hand was cold, like always, and her nightgown fluttered around her skin-and-bones body. I had always been taller, sturdier than my slight mother. I'd say I took after my father, if I'd ever met him.

"Don't leave me here," Nerissa hissed. "Don't leave me to look into their eyes alone. The dead girls will dance, Aoife, dance on the ashes of the world. . . ."


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The Iron Thorn: The Iron Codex Series, Book 1 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
4.5 The Iron Thorn is my first real venture into steampunk and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The world of Lovecraft, an alternate 1950's Massachusetts, is all iron and machines. I could feel the cold, hard metal with each page. Caitlin Kittredge is a master at bringing this world to life and is so detailed in her storytelling that I not only read about Aoife's journey, but I became a member of her rogue group. Aoife herself is far from the 1950's standard of an upstanding lady. Her brash behavior and strong demeanor makes her stand out amongst other girls, and it does not go unnoticed. Not by her best friend Cal, nor Dean, their rough and tumble guide out of Lovecraft. This possible love interest is nearly eclipsed by Aoife's search for her wayward, and most likely mad brother, Conrad. Her need to help him propels her into a world of magic and witchcraft and things she never would have believed to be real. The magic plays a huge role in the story and I hadn't really expected that, though I welcomed it. Learning all the details of the past that Aoife never knew opens up so many doors and unexpected twists. I didn't even know that one very large aspect of the story was going to come into play, though in hindsight I probably should have. Either way, I loved it. I loved getting to know Aoife, wanting to punch Cal, inching closer to Dean, and discovering an interest in the clockwork house of Graystone. The necrovirus that lays dormant in Aoife's blood is never forgotten about, even as she desperately tries to find her brother before the madness takes hold. Her encounter with ghouls and voices and diaries that show her images really add to this feeling of a lingering insanity. Surrounding all of this is Dean. I'm pretty sure I need to have a closet (like several other bloggers) to lock book boys in to keep forever. Dean is joining Will from Angelfire in my closet because I want him. He has a James Dean air about him with all his swagger and bravado, but he can be vulnerable too. I can't blame Aoife for wanting to let him in. The Iron Thorn is creepy and dark and filled with things that go bump in the night and I wouldn't want it any other way. It's a story full of secrets and surprises, old-fashioned ideas and language, but more so about a girl desperate to cling to the only family she ever had, despite the fact that she may be losing her mind. Long as it may be, The Iron Thorn opens up a trilogy that I plan on devouring and rereading many times in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the story and had trouble putting it down for such mundane tasks as cooking dinner for the family and going to bed. I was sorry to see it was a series (have to wait for the next installment), then elated to find that both the second and third books are already out. Yay! I love the characters, the startling revolt ions and the spooky otherworldly creatures. Gotta go order pizza and grab some No-Doz so I can read undisturbed. Haha!
Ophelia777 More than 1 year ago
this book is unbelievably good. I could not put it down--492 pages of me saying, "no mom, I don't can't eat right now, can't you see I'm reading?!" it is worth buying by a million, and i will definitely be buying the sequel.
EllzReadz More than 1 year ago
My thoughts...The Iron Thorn was my first journey into the world of Steampunk and I have to say I like what I saw. This novel was impossible for me to put down. I was immediately drawn in by the characters. Aoife (Ee-fah) is in a race against time as she tries to help her brother. A cryptic message sends her and her friend Conrad on a journey outside the safe confines of their city. The dangers are great, as are the people. As their journey begins, they meet a guide named Dean who quickly became my favorite character. This world they live in is full of secrets, as are the people. I enjoyed the character development and the unfolding of various mysteries surrounding the characters. These become people you would want to have your back: strong, determined, and steadfast. No matter what challenges they face, these friends stick together. There are so many words I could use to describe the action in The Iron Thorn. The first one that comes to mind is scary. Parts of this book had me checking the locks and under the bed before I went to sleep. It was full of things that go bump in the night. There was some violence and gore, as well as plenty of magic. The best part was the mystery. The Iron Thorn is full of riddles and secrets for the reader to puzzle. Initially I was a bit intimidated by the length of The Iron Thorn. The advanced reader's copy came in at 492 pages. However, Caitlin Kittredge did a brilliant job of reeling me and holding my attention to the very end. The only problem is now I want more. Days later I am still thinking about this magical world.
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
Aoife is about to turn sixteen and has a lot on her mind. Sixteen is the age both her mother and brother went mad, and in the City of Lovecraft, madness is not taken to very kindly. A few weeks shy of her birthday, she receives a mysterious note from Conrad asking her to help him. Grabbing her best friend Calvin, the two of them set off to figure out what really happened to her brother. This task will not be easy, however, as right away they encounter terrible things that want to eat them, imprison them, and infect them with the deadly necrovirus. But Aoife must push on, as the alternative choice is much worse. Wow, was this book ever quite the fantastic adventure! The details were fully imagined and thoroughly thought out. I felt as though I actually went somewhere and did something extraordinary with these characters. There were secrets I was not expecting and twists I never would have thought possible. The whole book was this great gothic/paranormal/steampunk combination. Aoife is a very smart girl, never succumbing to her feelings for a boy or giving in to a moment of girlish weakness. She was truly a girl for readers to aspire to be. She stayed strong through some very creepy creatures and hair-raising situations. Kittredge's writing had the perfect amount of beautiful description to offset her captivating dialog and action. The worlds felt so real and alive, and the use of machines and clockwork were some of the best executions I have read to date in the steampunk genre. Fans of Cherie Priest's Boneshaker will devour this book. I have not read any of Kittredge's adult books (and I am not yet sure I will) but this book will haunt my thoughts until the next installment in the Iron Codex comes out!
MIdnightRose1 More than 1 year ago
The Iron Thorn was not was I was expecting it to be, it was more. I read the advanced readers copy of this and was blown away. Kittredge tells the story in a way that makes you think you know where the story is going, but then wonderfully and unexpectedly she throws you for a loop. This book's characters were facinating, and I loved Aoife ( and Dean of course ) and how they all had a certain unique element about them. The story line of this book is what really got me though; the hidden secrets, the virus, the madness, and the magic.This review hasn't really done the book justice but it truely was an amazing book. It is definitely worth the read, and I highly recomend it. :)
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Iron Codex series by Kittredge. It is the first book in a planned trilogy. The second book, The Nightmare Garden, is scheduled for a February 2012 release. This book was a wonderful blend of fantasy, steampunk, dystopia, and gothic elements. I absolutely fell in love with the world and the characters.The city of Lovecraft is ruled by the Protors and powered by The Great Engine. The necrovirus is blamed for an epidemic of madness that affect certain citizens, it is also said to be the cause for the dark creatures that hunt in the streets at night. Aoife is a ward of the state and one of the only girls to make it into the School of Engines; the most prestiguous school in Lovecraft. Aoife's family has a dark history though; they carry latent necrovirus and go mad at their sixteenth birthday. Aoife's 16th birthday is just around the corner and she will have to unravel the dark secrets of her family and face the darkness in Lovecraft if she even has a chance at staying sane.This book is dark and gothic, full of wonderful descriptions that create beautiful and haunting imagery. I loved Lovecraft; I wanted to visit Lovecraft and along with Aoife explore the dark alleys and secrets. It was just a wonderful blend of steampunk, gothic, and dystopian elements. Not to mention madness as a contagious virus; it sends chills up my spine just thinking about it.Aoife herself is an incredibly entertaining character. She is trying to be a good girl; but she is just too smart and too tough to not do what she has to do to survive. She has a good balance of courage, smarts, occasional vulnerability, and daring. She isn't your typical kick-butt heroine but she has a core of steel to her personality and she is willing to the extra mile when she has too. I loved her fascination with engineering and gears; it was nice to see a female heroine in this role. Aoife was an incredibly realistic and multi-dimensional character and I loved her.There is a bit of a love triangle going on here. Although that didn't bother me because it was well done and Aoife's choice was clear from the start. Cal comes off as a nagging but loyal friend until you discover he has secrets of his own. Dean is a bit of a mystery but the respect with which he treats Aoife and the way he supports her when she has tough decisions to make made him one of my favorite male leads.Now as if the setting of Lovecraft wasn't awesome enough, Kittredge throws in Aoife's father's clockwork house. A house that is nearly living and breathing all on its own. On top of that we get honest to goodness fairies involved in the story as well. I love stories that have fairies in them, and unlike some YA books, this book doesn't shy away from the dark side of fairy.The story ends well, but there is a lot more to be settled. There were so many wonderful things in this book, so many twists and turns. I can't wait to read the next one!Overall I loved, loved, loved this book. The world is incredibly complex and interesting, but never confusing. There are a ton of creative elements in this story. The characters are very well done; I loved them all. The story is a perfect blend of steampunk, gothic, dystopian, mystery, and fantasy elements. I recommend to anyone who loves dark fantasy or steampunk. I would actually recommend to everyone, but those who don't like a heavy dark element in their stories might want to look elsewhere.
Zoey_Talbon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Iron Thorn confused me like no other. It's one of those books where you really have to think about what you're reading and try and connect things. (I'm not very good at that, just in case you didn't know.)Aoife was a very interesting character, though I have no idea how to pronounce her name. (I think I ended up calling her I-owe-fee the entire book, even though it's fairly obvious that's wrong.) I really felt for her when everyone, even the boy who was supposed to be her best friend, was convinced she was going to go crazy when she turned sixteen, just like everyone else in her family. Her anger and frustration came through clearly, and it seemed very realistic to me.Something else I really liked about Aoife - she was no gullible and naive sometimes, but at the end of the book, she could admit she'd totally and completely screwed up. And instead of crying and wallowing, she was determined to do something to fix it.Cal was a confusing character. I know he cared about Aoife, but sometimes I wondered how he was her best friend. He didn't act like one, a lot of the time. Of course, I found out why at the end, so I guess Kattridge is extremely good at subtlety, but GAH. I'd gotten so into Cal as her friend and then BAM. 'Course, he's still her friend, but still. Although I really liked a part of their relationship - it showed how a guy and a girl can be just friends.The romance was kind of . . . sad. Lacking. Dean and Aoife didn't have very many romantic moments, and the kiss scenes >:{ I am a fan of nice make-out scenes, but in The Iron Thorn it was basically "He kissed me" and that was it. Although I will say that Dean was an intriguing character, and I thought he was well written.The biggest problem I had was that so many things were left unexplained - the Proctors, for one thing. I still don't know what they really are. I'm still unclear on The Iron Land and The Mists and all this other stuff that made my brain hurt.I must say, though, The Iron Thorn was something that seemed very original to me. I loved the setting and how different it was from modern times.Overall: I had an extremely hard time rating this book. I really loved Aoife, the world was amazing, and this book was definitely something new. I just feel like I was left with way too many questions, but I'll definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out. The Iron Thorn is full of suspense and it keeps you guessing the entire time - and just when you think you've got it figured out, you're surprised by the real answer. 3.5 stars.
usagijihen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ve found that when it comes to alternate history and steampunk as a genre as a whole, it¿s very difficult to adjust everything just right without one major flaw or another. That said, I¿m extremely picky with my steampunk books, and I¿ve found many really disappointing. The only stars of the genre within the last year include Scott Westerfeld¿s ¿Leviathan¿ series, and now, ¿The Iron Thorn¿.I¿d been waiting for this release for months, and this book was worth the wait. I was so happy to find this mix of magic, religion, alternate history, and steampunk all fall well into place and interacting with each other more or less perfectly. I could find no flaws within this book that made me take notice at all. Which is really rare, considering how incredibly picky I am with my books in general, much less just within the steampunk/alternate history genre alone. Kittridge¿s tip of the hat to Lovecraft worked so well in so many places, I can¿t even begin to start to talk about which part worked best. It just kind of flowed. I can¿t really find words other than that to describe this brew of genres.I have to say, her portrayal of The Land of Thorn (also known as Faerie) was chilling in its difference to nearly all of the other versions of Faerie in other books. This place is not a beautiful place, unlike other versions of Faerie. This place is not hospitible, despite the Field of Lilies. It was really refreshing to have a very, very, very disturbing ¿reality (Lovecraft/Graystone)¿ vis-a-vis ¿Faerie (The Land of Thorn/Mist)¿. It was like there was no real place for Aoife to run for relief, and that¿s so very rare in not only the urban fantasy/YA and steampunk/alternate history genres, but in general literature as a whole. It¿s rare that authors are willing to torture their characters so thoroughly, and with such a big payoff ¿ which is a shame, really, since doing this in ¿The Iron Thorn¿ worked so incredibly well.I really can¿t wait until the next book in this series ¿ though it looks like no sequel/companion has been scheduled for release as of yet. I hope that changes, as this was definitely one of the best books of 2011 so far.(crossposted to goodreads and
NCRainstorm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my second venture into Steampunk and I'm still enjoying it. I truly admired Aoife's spirit and spunk, even without having a clue as to how to pronounce her name! She keeps fighting even knowing she carries a gene that could cause her to go mad when she turns sixteen. She escapes from her boarding school with her best friend Cal and new friend Dean who helps them find their way to her father's house. She has to find and help her brother. There are a lot of twists and turns in the story as Aoife learns more about magic and her connection to it.It's a fun story that's easy to follow. Good for young adults and anyone who enjoys steampunk and fantasy!
SusieBookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First off: introduction to the world of The Iron Thorn, at least as it appears at the beginning of the book. It's a steampunk setting, about 1950. Lovecraft, Massachusetts, is a town run by clockwork - literally. Its four engines beneath the ground keep the city going, and they also help protect its inhabitants from the necrovirus and its evil carriers - the nightjars, ghouls, shoggoths, etc. that lurk in dark alleys and hide beneath the streets. Reason and science reign under the intimidating Proctors; magic and superstition are deemed heretical and punishable by imprisonment in jails or madhouses, burning, or death. Ravens and other spies keep watch over the city's inhabitants to seek out any heretical leanings.Now for the plot: Fifteen-year-old Aoife Grayson has a lot to worry about. She's a ward of the state and the only girl at the School of Engineering; her mother's locked in an asylum, her beloved brother - who, in his madness, tried to kill her - is on the run, and her sixteenth birthday is coming up, with the implication that she, too, will go insane. But then she gets a note from Conrad, her brother. "Help. Find the witches' alphabet. Save yourself." So Aoife and her only friend, Cal, escape from the city of Lovecraft to find Conrad in Arkham, a neighboring town that is home to Aoife's ancestral house. With the aid of Dean, a heretical guide they find in the secret marketplace of Lovecraft, the trio sets out to rescue Conrad, discover the mysteries of the Grayson home, and unlock the secrets that the Proctors of Lovecraft have sought to hide for so long.First off, I expected The Iron Thorn to be a science fiction, dystopian story. To my disappointment, it's actually fantasy, at least in my little categorical world. It is still steampunk, and there are dystopian elements, such as the Proctors who rule Lovecraft with an iron hand and one confrontation that reminded me of a scene in Brave New World (the rest of the book, interestingly enough, reminded me of A Great and Terrible Beauty). Besides this initial disappointment, however, the book was great! For all nearly 500 pages, I was interested and had problems putting the book down. I found out the plot twists when Aoife did, not even a moment sooner. That said, most of the many plot twists made perfect sense, but one or two were like "did the author have this in mind from the beginning? 'Cause there's not any lead up to that..." Another thing that I liked, besides the great storyline, was how it ended. The events of the book were mostly tied up by the conclusion, and a new chapter was opened at the end that will be continued in the next book of the series...which I will be very impatiently awaiting. By the way, I want Aoife's house. It's run by clockwork, has a lot of hidden spaces and tricks, and a large library. It's awesome.
mrsderaps on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the futuristic city of Lovecraft, a necrovirus threatens to ruin civilizations. Below the city and on its outskirts, hordes of ruined people rot in their own insanity--and threaten to infect the sane. Unfortunately for Aoife Grayson, madness runs in her family. So far, both her mother and brother have gone from being perfectly normal to completely insane after turning sixteen.Aoife (pronounced "ee-fah") is deeply worried that she will become just like her mother and brother. She is a charity case at school, and is being watched for signs of madness. But, when she receives a magical letter from her brother asking for her urgent help, she cannot refuse him. As much as she'd just like to walk down the road and go to help her brother out in the open, this world does not work like that. Her brother is far away and any visit that Aoife makes will have to be secretive and underground. There ensues a journey of epic proportions--with her best friend Cal along for the trip and the hired help of a charismatic adventurer named Dean.Dean easily steals the show. He reminded me a little (not looks wise, but in personality) of a young, swashbuckling Johnny Depp. Cal is fairly useless and maybe even a little dangerous to have on this trip, and I genuinely felt for Aoife throughout. She was in a tough position and needed to make choices that no teen should have to make. But, she was a tough cookie to begin with. One of the only girls at the School of Machines, she's no dummy. She has been brainwashed by the Proctors who govern over her and the rest of society, but she isn't afraid to step out of line to help her family.Also, the writing in this book is filled with awesomely disturbing imagery. Action scenes are intense and so are the depictions of those infected with the necrovirus. Uck. It was not difficult to picture any of the scenes in this book. The government (called the Proctors) in this book are savage and cruel, but I loved the author's inventiveness when it came to their use of mechanical birds for surveillance.If you are loving the abundance of dystopian reads as much as I am, you will want to find a copy of this book when it releases in February. And, this book is the first in a planned series, so there's more to come. Good thing, because I want to know more!
Krista23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I come across a book where I want to put up a review that expresses my enjoyment of having read it. But then when I sit down to write the only possible word that I want to repeat over and over is AWESOME. But as I am sure some people may come across the word of awesome and not descriptive enough for them to attempt to read it. So let me try my best to describe in which the way I picked up the audiobook, was mezmerized by its tale and did not want it to end. As it's going to be a series I get to enjoy more of this world at a later date, but who knows if I may be able to make it until the next book is released before losing my mind! Aoife (ee-fa) our main character is strong-willed, hard-headed, scared and compasionate. She witnesses her mother going more crazy by the day, her brother who tried to kill her has ran away and she has only her best friend Cal who sticks by her side in a school where girls are scarce. I have to admit that when I first saw the cover, with all the fairy stories traveling the young adult shelves these days I was curious as to a fairy story steampunk novel. This book was so much more than any fairy story I have read. The engine that is below the city, the proctors who run the city, the strange dirty/gothic feel you get from the setting and Aoife's travels makes this story dark and haunted. Aoife travels to her fathers house with her best friend Cal and their guide Dean to try to find her brother who has sent a message that only reads "Help" at the house that looks abandoned they find a maid hiding in one of the rooms who tells them that Aoife's father and brother have been taken away, both by different types of creatures and she is alone. The house has magical powers of its own and soon Aoife is meeting strange creatures, communicating with the house and taken into strange lands enshrouded by mist. Overall this amazing story was evenly paced, well developed and leaves the imagination open to imagine several ways in which the author may take this story into the next books in this series. I for one hope that this Iron Codex Series lasts for as long as possible, there are so many twists, people, creatures and worlds yet to explore in this world and I hope that it takes the author several more books to get us through.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On her upcoming sixteenth birthday, Aoife Grayson is going to go mad. That¿s what happened to her mother and her older brother, Conrad, a rare, genetic version of the necrovirus that spreads through their aether-run, Proctor-controlled city of Lovecraft, Massachusetts. Now, her mother is in a madhouse, and her brother has escaped the city. But when Conrad sends an SOS to Aoife, she and her best friend Cal enlist the help of Dean, a street-smart heretic, to help her get to her father¿s house in Arkham.In between avoiding capture by the Proctors, Aoife discovers a shocking secret about the world she knows: nothing is the way it seems, and magic may be more rampant than she ever believed.THE IRON THORN has its fair share of logistical worldbuilding inconsistencies, but should still be one heck of an adventure for younger, avid readers.The steampunkish city of Lovecraft exists in alternate-world 1950s, which is always risky and ambitious, because it involves really thorough worldbuilding, and I¿m not sure THE IRON THORN really thoroughly accomplishes that. It¿s less steampunk than it is a creepy sort of urban fantasy, with the threat of dangerous fey creatures driving the second half of the story. I never entirely felt like the Proctors were frightening, because their appearances throughout the story were so sporadic: it should¿ve been much harder for Aoife and her friends to escape Lovecraft, and I never fully got the sense that the Proctors were on her tail, watching her every move.In addition to worldbuilding inconsistencies, the characters felt a little¿off as well. What, exactly, is so endearing about Dean constantly calling Aoife ¿princess¿ and remarking on her apparent beauty? It¿s creepy. It deserves a slapping. Multiple slappings. And an unexpected twist regarding Cal at the end of the story was the breaking point for me in what was an increasing number of poorly explained ¿twists.¿ It felt like an unsuccessful attempt to justify his bratty, bad-friend behavior in the previous 400 pages. It was almost like the story couldn¿t decide what it wanted to be¿a steampunk? an urban fantasy?¿and so it tried to incorporate a bit of everything, with the result that some elements of the story felt a little short.Nevertheless, Aoife is an admirable protagonist. She¿s extremely motivated and determined, and therefore a delight to follow around. She is someone who you could really see accomplishing everything on her own: she just happens to attract the support of friends through her determination.THE IRON THORN is ambitious, sprawling, and epic. I nitpicked a lot while I was reading because I wanted MORE, but there already is a lot going on in this novel that is impressive and engaging. Recommend it as a gift especially to younger, avid readers who enjoy sprawling adventures.
RamonaWray on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here's where I thought: the book was really good, and I want to thank my friend Cillian for pointing me to it, ever so gently :D Original concepts are rare, and I think that's exactly what The Iron Thorn is - mind-blowingly original. I mean, Faeries in a steampunk setting? Whoa! Never even saw it coming. That said, I enjoyed the writing too, mostly. I thought it went on a bit longer than necessary, but I didn't mind the flamboyant passages, I thought she was trying to make a point ... then again, I love poetry. I used to write it, I read it, I recite it when I'm alone. Some complained about the name Aoife - personally, I loved it. Aoife, the character, was also interesting. The boys were sketchier, particularly Cal. The language was something else altogether : it was like I stepped back in time, to the fifties, but more than that, to that world, in which old-fashioned lingo mingled with a whole new kind of lingo, of someone who lived in the world Ms. Kittredge created. Wow! I mean it. So, a full five stars, and hats off to Ms. Kittredge. Anxiously awaiting the sequel(s)...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book in book form and really loved it but felt there was more to the story between the characters. I keep checking to see if there is a continuing of the characters like with shattered mirror. It really is a good read.
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