Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Iron Thorn (Iron Codex, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Iron Thorn (Iron Codex, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Iron Thorn (Iron Codex #1)

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  5,345 Ratings  ·  701 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 492 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Iron Thorn, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Cathryn There's naturally occurring magic, but the only "witches" are people who either know a lot about the magical creatures living on the fringes of…moreThere's naturally occurring magic, but the only "witches" are people who either know a lot about the magical creatures living on the fringes of society or who are part magical creature themselves, not actual spell-casting witches(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Tamora Pierce
Oct 17, 2011 Tamora Pierce rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-ya-yr
This is a very dark fantasy/steampunk, set in a world in which magic was discovered instead of nuclear power. Rather than embrace the new energy, a government led by President McCarthy is trying to eradicate it and the people--ghouls, vampires, and others--that thrive on it. Aoife Grayson is an engineering student under suspicion by her schoolmasters and living with the fear of the madness that took her mother and brother and may well take her. Determined at last to seek out her unknown father a ...more
Nov 27, 2010 Isamlq rated it really liked it
It's a good thing this has a little over 500 pages, otherwise it would have been too much. The author throws in everything! And surprise of surprises, I enjoyed it! I am not saying it was perfect. In fact, there is a specific clump of pages I could have just done without. But all in all, IRON THORN was quite satisfying.

One complaint though: the reader shouldn’t be tasked with having to figure out how to say the lead’s name. I mean, “Aoife”. It took me several tries to figure out how to roll my t
Kirkus got it right when they said "overwriting" in their review for The Iron Thorn. The book is almost 500 pages (I read an advance reader's copy) and it felt long. Some books despite being long (i.e. Harry Potter and A Great and Terrible Beauty) don't feel that way because they keep you intrigued and engaged. The Iron Thorn did none of those things. I can appreciate the writing, but it got to be where the author was repeating circumstances and explaining the character's outfits, which had noth ...more
◕ ◡ ◕  Arooj
The unexpected has happened.

I have read a historical/steampunk novel about faeries.

And actually liked it. A lot. So much that it even made it to my "books I fell hard for" list.

*dun dun DUUUUUUN*

Every time someone asks me what my least favourite type of books to read are, I always say historical. And faeries. You see, historical just isn't something I'm interested in. I find it boring. The only other historical book I actually like is The Infernal Devices series, but that's because I already lov
May 02, 2009 Kristi rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
My first steampunk! And it was AWESOME!

It took me a little while to get into it. I'll admit the world itself took me a while to get used to, the lingo and what-not. (I can't really say if it was just this novel, or if it's steampunk related.) But once I was enraptured by the story, there was no turning back!

What a complex world! Magic, machines, Kindly Folk..... I can honestly say I never knew what to expect next! I was blown away by the complexity and innovation of this novel. Kittredge is a ve
Rhiannon Ryder
Sep 16, 2012 Rhiannon Ryder rated it did not like it
Epic was my disappointment in The Iron Thorn, it was by turns boring, convoluted and confusing. I felt no real pull to any of the characters, and only loosely understood what was going on most of the time. All very bad traits in a book, but horrible traits in a book which you're hoping to entertain you for a four and half hour flight.

For starters, the blurb is not really truthful. I thought I was getting a steampunk book with madness. Not so much. The Iron Thorn is really a fairy book, with a to
I facepalmed at least 3 times. It started off well enough, and Kittredge is a talented storyteller (in that the overall story was interesting), but I find her writing abrasive. She leaves details out, sometimes makes improper verb tense choices which make the reading confusing (ie. he saw instead of he had seen), makes clicheed dialogue choices, and is lacking in motivation for her characters, who do everything they do solely to either help or hinder main character Aoife, as it suits the conveni ...more
Mar 25, 2011 Sesana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot going on in this book. The setting is unusual. Steampunk, in 1950s America. It's set in a city called Lovecraft (Boston, I think), which is, appropriately, infested with horrible things that would be at home in one of Lovecraft's stories. But they aren't supernatural, of course. That wouldn't be rational. Instead, the creatures that stalk the city of Lovecraft, ghouls, nightjars, and springheel jacks alike, are people infected by the necrovirus. Some infected turn into bloodthirsty ...more
Oct 17, 2011 Turtles rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yuck
I forget how long ago I had downloaded this. But I picked it up last night, not remembering the plot of the book. And Kindle doesn't give you a blurb. It takes place in an unknown, modern time period... there were several references to 19XX dates, as well as 18XX dates, but since the book was an alternate history type, it's unknown if people were using the same calendar as us. So, despite the Steampunky/Victorian flavor, it's not technically from then. But I was so confused through the half of t ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Tiffany rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
This book is on my library's YA best fiction shelf, but I was highly disappointed. I kept waiting for it to get really good, but it didn't. There was almost too much description in the first 300 pages. It was distracting and made the story drag. The ending picked up. I got excited thinking it would become hard to put down. It never did. Then there was a random event to the plot that left me raising an eyebrow. The worst part, after finally getting through all 492 pages, the story is no where nea ...more
Mandy at Blythes & Books
Sep 10, 2011 Mandy at Blythes & Books rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody, steampunk-lovers, fantasy-lovers, dark-fantasy-lovers
The Iron Thorn (The Iron Codex #1), by Caitlin Kittredge

This book is a Must-Read! It’s got something for everyone: steampunk, romance, adventure, dystopian, secrets, mysteries, great characters, monsters, strange worlds, faeries, a beautiful written story, a plot with unexpected twists…

Here’s the short(ish) version of the review:
* The cover seems very fitting, it projects the grim feeling of dark fantasy in the story, while bringing across the lonely feeling Aoife must have had many times, surr
Miranda the Gayvenger
Despite some issues I really, really loved this book. The world isn’t something I encounter in YA very often: A fantasy/steampunk/clockpunk world set in an alternate 1950s. That, to me, is beyond awesome so right off the bat I was poised to love this book. And I definitely did. I found the world building very thoughtful and well done--a city running on a great Engine that protects them from the things that can cause madness, a world torn by the battle between science and magic (which itself isn’ ...more
Apr 04, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
I really wanted to rate this book higher, but there are so many little annoyances with it that really stopped me from enjoying it as much as I could have. The dystopian 'steampunkish' setting doesn't work well with the time period it's set in. While everyone else's name in the book is simple and pronounceable such as 'Dean', 'Cal', or 'Conrad', the main character's name is an unpronounceable and strange ''Aoife'. And the character of Cal will argue with EVERYTHING, no matter what it is, whether ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
Dec 19, 2010 Kathy (Kindle-aholic) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, steampunk
Fantastic start to a YA steampunk series.

This is not a short book, but the pages flew by. I was sucked into the story and didn't want it to end.

You are just thrown into the world - I like that. At the same time, I still felt like I got a good feel for the worldbuilding. I got enough glimpses of Lovecraft through Aoife's journey, but I never felt that I was being "told" what was going on. It was a wonderful experience to discover the truth alongside the characters.

In Lovecraft, Reason and Scienc
May 28, 2010 Cleverly rated it really liked it
Wow, I know a lot of you probably do not know who James Dean is or actually care. I have to tell you, You are sooo missing out! He has to be one of the most Beautiful Men I have ever seen Have wished to have seen..Anyhooo Moving along. Dean in The Iron Thorn was rocking his style after James Dean. I normally wouldn't say read a book because of a male character, But I am making an exception.

I am big on conversational banter, If the characters don't mesh well together the conversation won't flow
I really liked the story, but the book was VERY long winded. Enough so that I just got rid of one of the author's others books I had without reading it. There were a few great surprises at the end and I will try to read the next book in the series.
Jan 01, 2011 Braiden rated it really liked it
The first 100 pages and the last 100 pages saved it for me. The middle...too much un-needed writing and scenes. It could’ve been shorter and straight to the point. But I guess that would’ve been Caitlin’s expertise from the Adult genre being brought in.
Sep 30, 2016 Oda added it
Shelves: books-i-own
dnf-ed.not for me.
Kathy Davie
Feb 23, 2012 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it
First in the Iron Codex steampunk series for young adults that mixes the mechanical with magic with the steam side fighting it every step of the way. This story is based in Massachusetts in the late 1950s. Just not our 1950s.

My Take
A good story. Kittredge drags you in right from the beginning with an encounter between Aoife and her mentally ill mother followed up by Dr. Portnoy's warnings and setting us up with her world's Master Builder religion. It's a world of Big Brother with everyone encour
You know what I don’t get about steampunk? The dirigibles. In this book they even make several references to them being dangerous and yet they’re still the preferred method of travel. Like, “why yes, I am infinitely aware that I can do these amazing things with steam and clock parts, please put me in this mass of flammable gas and fire and let’s go!” Yeah, no.

Okay, so I was not expecting this to be as good as it was, really. I mean, steampunk and fairies? Steampunk fairies? Steel, and iron, and
Jun 01, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I'm honestly not sure how to explain how much I love this book! I mean, really. It blew me away in all the best ways possible. I'm a huge fan of Fantasy and of Steampunk. Caitlin Kitteredge takes these two genres, throws in a bit of dystopia, and blends it together into something beautifully unique and wonderful. Looking for something to chase those reading blues away? Take this for a spin!

The Iron Thorn follows Aoife through a tough time in her life. Her family has a history of madness, and it
Feb 22, 2011 Valen rated it really liked it

Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Release Date: Feb 22, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Page Count: 512
Sequel: The Iron Codex Series(?)
Available At?: Amazon, B&N and Author's Site

Steampunk, insanity and magic, love and misery!

Amazon Description:

'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
The book starts off slowly and never seemed to pick up all that much steam for me until the 'great reveal', which was about 3/4ths of the way into the book. Until then I was rather bored and plodding through the book for no real reason. It's not that the book is poorly written or terrible, it was just rather--well, not flat, but a bit detached. A little too smooth and a little too bumpy in parts to make me fully immerse myself into it.

Aoife, the main character, leaves me a bit stymied. On one ha
Jul 08, 2010 Nafiza rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
This book is beautifully written. I was constantly writhing in jealousy over Ms. Kitteredge’s prowess where descriptions are concerned. She builds the world her characters inhabit with such painstaking detail that it springs up around you in the most amazing colours. You can almost smell the grease from the machines and see the bridge loom up in front of you like a wraith haunting the night. The writing is one of the biggest strengths of the novel.

I just wish that the same detail and care had be
Oct 21, 2010 mrsj rated it liked it
I think this is more like 3.5 stars rating.

Not a bad read, somewhat interesting with some little horror and mystery to it but it was a little confusing for me as well. I often have to read back few lines or few chapter back to back track if I stop the book halfway or if I read something that confuses me.

From the book, "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 ep
Nov 25, 2011 Shelby marked it as dropped-or-half-read
Ugh. UGH. You know, sometimes I finish books because I just want to write the review. I want people to know that they should 1) get the book immediately, 2) try the book if you want, or 3) AVOID THIS BOOK AT ALL COSTS LEST YOU BURN YOUR EYES OUT AND FIND YOUR SOUL SUCKED INTO THE BOTTOMLESS PITS OF PURGATORY.

The Iron Thorn maybe won't kill you, but Caitlin Kittredge really just created a book that I couldn't...couldn't finish.

To be concise, the world building is really good and the characters
Sep 17, 2016 Jean rated it it was amazing
Beautifully and richly written, artfully avoiding the purple, and wholly, shockingly original, The Iron Thorn gained a place on my favorites shelf within the first fifty pages, and staunchly stayed there through the end. My pet peeve is first-person narration--it's been grievously overused and it's been turned into something lazy by most of the authors that use it in YA--and it's a testament to Kittredge's talent that I barely noticed the narrative device, and when I did, it actually serves to m ...more
Oct 25, 2010 Nely rated it it was ok
Shelves: blog-tour
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 ...more
Jul 17, 2012 Liz rated it it was ok
Good concept, too bad it read like a first draft. I got about 350 pages into the book before I decided that the choppiness of the writing and numerous logical flaws were too much to keep suffering through.

Our heroine is a orphaned ward of the state (view spoiler) who has a state-provided scholarship to an academy for engineers (view spoiler)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Favorite Character 2 7 Aug 27, 2014 11:48AM  
~!The Young Adult...: The Iron Thorn 2 16 Jan 05, 2012 03:07PM  
  • Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances
  • The Unnaturalists (The Unnaturalists, #1)
  • The Alchemy of Stone
  • Clockwork Heart (Clockwork Heart, #1)
  • The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1)
  • Burn Bright (Night Creatures, #1)
  • Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles, #1)
  • Memento Nora (Memento Nora, #1)
  • New Blood (Blood Magic, #1)
  • Future Imperfect (Future Imperfect, #1)
  • Full Steam Ahead
  • Badlands (Badlands #1)
  • Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles, #1)
  • The Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy, #1)
  • New Amsterdam (New Amsterdam, #1)
  • Dead Iron (Age of Steam, #1)
  • Luminous
  • Whitechapel Gods
Caitlin started writing novels at age 13. Her first was a Star Wars tie-in. Fortunately, she branched out from there and after a few years trying to be a screenwriter, a comic book writer and the author of copious amounts of fanfiction, she tried to write a novel again. Her epic dark fantasy (thankfully) never saw the light of day but while she was struggling with elves and sorcerers she got the i ...more
More about Caitlin Kittredge...

Other Books in the Series

Iron Codex (3 books)
  • The Nightmare Garden (Iron Codex, #2)
  • The Mirrored Shard (Iron Codex, #3)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Crows don’t take from you,” Dean said. “They give your soul wings.” 26 likes
“A touch of truth makes a lie worth believing.” 18 likes
More quotes…