Teen Department Homewood Library's Reviews > The Iron Thorn

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
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Jul 19, 11

Read from June 29 to July 19, 2011

Doing this one on audio and so far, so good. I like the reader, and the plot is very compelling...

Finished! Here's my review:
Aoife (pronounced Eefa) is just a few weeks shy of her sixteenth birthday. Unlike most teens, this is an event she’s dreading. At age sixteen Aoife’s mother, Nerissa, and her brother, Conrad, went mad, and the necrovirus that ate away at their logic and reason lies dormant in Aoife’s blood. Aoife, now a ward of the city of Lovecraft, expects that she, too, will go mad on her birthday. Until then she applies herself to the thing she loves – engineering. She’s always had a knack for working with machines, and she studies hard at the School of Engines. Perhaps the numbers, figures and pure science running through her mind will keep the madness at bay.

Then Conrad makes contact via a stained letter slipped under Aoife’s dormroom door. The ghost ink yields a strange and frightening message:

“The ink of the HELP lifted off the page, suspended in the smoke, corpse-pale. As the smoke dissipated, the ink stretched and re-formed, spelling a new phrase in its ghostly hand, the encoded message the ghost ink had kept hidden.

Go to Graystone

Find the witch’s alphabet

Save yourself”

With these words Aoife’s life changes and expands in ways she could never have imagined. Along with her best friend, Cal, Aoife hires the handsome guide Dean Harrison to sneak them out of the city to her father’s house in Arkham. Aoife thought that getting out of Lovecraft would be the difficult part, but more hazards lie ahead than behind. Once at Arkham the trio will find long-buried family secrets, dangerous creatures and maybe even romance…if they survive.

This novel was simply amazing. The author has invented an alternate reality where logic and reason dictate social norms, and those who believe otherwise, the heretics, are hunted down and punished by cowled, over-lording proctors. In the midst of this closed environment Aoife shines in her determination and stubborn refusal to be anything other than herself. Her personality is deftly drawn by Kittredge, and readers will find themselves cheering for her as she risks everything to find her brother. Personally, I can't wait for the second book in this new, exciting series, and I highly recommend it to fans of steampunk, fantasy and adventure.
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