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The Iron Thorn

(Iron Codex #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  5,916 ratings  ·  725 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
Audiobook, 492 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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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 societ…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)

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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  5,916 ratings  ·  725 reviews

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Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
The Iron Thorn Drinking Game: Everytime the adjectives "clockwork," "steam" " brass" are used to ensure the reader is too aware this is a "steampunk" novel, drink. Anytime someone "scrabbles for purchase," " or mentions a dirigible, drink twice. DO NOT drink anytime a jitney is mentioned; we're tryng to have fun here, not get alcohol poisoning. Oh, wait, this is a YA book, we probably shouldn't be drinking... though this book would drive most people to it!

And how could you miss it being a YA boo
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Rating: 2 stars only. The extra one star is given to the creative homages to H P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu myths. How can this book be so dull? Even duller than End of Days by Susan Ee!?

(1) The heroine Aoife Garyson is an annoying, ungrateful brat:

She is supposed to be a charity case without the protection of her family, an almost-orphan living off the charity offered by the city's welfare system. Yet she acts so entitled, ungrateful, unworldly and naive for an entire book. Not to mention she
Tamora Pierce
Oct 17, 2011 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 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
May 02, 2009 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
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
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
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
Rhiannon Ryder
Sep 16, 2012 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
Mar 14, 2012 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
Set in 1950's Lovecraft - an alternate Boston, 15yr old Aoife Grayson attends a prestigious academy for engineers. Aoife is a ward of the state, her father left, her brother ran away and her mother has been in a mental institute for most of her life. Her mother's condition is heriditary and her brother went crazy when he turned 16. Aoife is dreading turning 16 because of the strong chance of her going insane and being locked up like her mother. After getting a distressed message from her missing ...more
Sep 10, 2011 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
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
Nov 25, 2011 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brooke ♥booklife4life♥

Find this review, plus more, on my blog: Booklikes OR Blogger

Basic Info

Pages/Length: n/a
Genre: Young Adult; Steampunk
Reason For Reading: Challenge

At A Glance

Love Triangle/Insta Love/Obsession?:
Cliff Hanger: No
Triggers: n/a
Rating: 1.5 stars

Score Sheet
All out of ten

Cover: 7
Plot: 4
Characters: 5
World Building: 5
Flow: 3
Series Congruity: n/a
Writing: 6
Ending: 6

Total: 4

In Depth

Best Part:
Doctor Who quote, but did they steal it?!
Worst Part: Death by boredom.
Thoughts Had: Some
Apr 04, 2013 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
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2011, own, won, ya-read, sffp
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
Delacorte Press, 2011
492 pages
YA; Steampunk; Fantasy
4.5/5 stars

Source: Won

I wanted to read The Iron Thorn because I remembered how much I had enjoyed Kittredge’s story in Kiss Me Deadly. Some of the same things I remember liking about that story reappear here-a sympathetic heroine, evocative descriptions, and a story that drew me in. However as a full-length novel, there is more opportunity for world-building and character and plot development.

The world is a so
Jun 01, 2010 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
Anna Mejstrik
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I tried really, really hard to like this book. The beginning was interesting and caught my attention, but about 100 pages into the book, it started to get extremely confusing and completely lost my attention. The world building is poor and the characters are dull, annoying, unlikable and predictable.

Some major issues I had with it:

1. You could never tell what year the book actually took place. The steampunk references really made a mess of things rather than help the story along. To categorize
Oct 25, 2010 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 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)
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
Dec 19, 2010 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
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Aoife Grayson is a ward of the state in a city / world that terms every type of magic to be heretical. Any mention or practice is dealt with severely and no one can believe in anything but the engine works. There is only the mechanical science that exists today. As a ward of the state, whose mother has gone mad with dreams of magical beings, she is sent to the engine training school. But Aoife is starting to have dreams too. When her mentally ill brother, still at large, contacts her and asks fo ...more
May 28, 2010 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
May 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
At first I was compleatly entranced by this book. The writing was beautiful and descriptive, and the plot was fast passed and interesting. The detail and live of the story seemed to come alive! This book was looking like it would be another of my all-time favorites...
.....Then I got a little past the middle and my opinion changed dramatically. Im not sure what happened hear but the main character became almost unbearably winy, and self-centered. I was shocked at how fast everything went fro
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge is one the first steampunk books that I read. Personally, I think that it could have been done better, but I really liked the idea of the book. It was a dark book that mixed magic, historical fiction, and engineering together to create an alternate version of America in around the 1950’s, where logic is everything and people who believe in magic are punished severely. Aoife, along with Cal and and a guide named Dean that they met along their journey, escape Lo ...more
Jul 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I have to admit I didn't finish this book, I kept "forcing" myself to continue it until I realized what is the point in that? I didn't care about any of the characters, they were all so unlikeable. Could Cal be any more whiny, stupid and annoying? Dean held no appeal to me whatsoever. And Aoeife or however you spell her name - I hated her name for one. I also just didn't connect with her and I didn't understand her "Weird" talent.

This book is WAY too long. The beginning is confusing and I had ve
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I stopped after 150 pages. I was snared by the first few paragraphs and that it was steampunk, but then as the chapters drudged on, and the characters grew stale and annoying, this crept toward that sad, sad place where bad YA go. We were given a jumbled up mix of steampunk, government control, academy school, banned magic/faeries, and bio virus. Then sent on a boring, slow paced search for a missing brother and unknown father. I have pet peeve issues with authors writing in 'pacing' parts that ...more
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The Iron thorn- Caitlin Kitteredge 1 1 Nov 08, 2018 10:04AM  
Favorite Character 2 7 Aug 27, 2014 11:48AM  
~!The Young Adult...: The Iron Thorn 2 16 Jan 05, 2012 03:07PM  

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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

Other books in the series

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

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