Whatchyareading's Reviews > The Iron Thorn

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
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May 24, 2011

bookshelves: caitlin, fantasy, series, young-adult

I wanted to read this book for two reasons. 1. The author spells her name right. It’s so hard to find Caitlin’s that adhere to the correct spelling. 2. Steampunk. What more does a book need? I’m one of those nuts that will give anything Steampunk a try. That’s right, I watched Wild, Wild West. In theatres. You’re allowed to be disgusted by me.

There was a lot I loved about this book. The three lead characters, Aoife (pronounced “eefuh”…I had to ask the author…) Cal, and Dean, are delicious to read. At first they seem like the typical YA threesome, the main girl, the boy who likes her, and the REAL love interest of the piece. And, to an extent, that holds up, but each character has their own secrets and mysterious and they all surprised me at least once. And I love being surprised by characters. Aoife was smart, brave, and not afraid to take action. Cal was loyal and dependable…or was he? Dean was…well, I think “yummy” describes him best. And any romantic tension between Aoife and Dean built…over time…they had conversations and got to know one another and had a real relationship. This is like young adult gold.

The right balance of detail was found in this book. Generally, you want a lot of detail in steampunk books, and in all sci-fi to a point, because part of the joy of reading is the gadgets. The devices and how they work and why they work and how the author has decided to fit goggles into the story. But sometimes, I find, Steampunk can get bogged down with too many details. I didn’t feel like that at all in The Iron Thorn. My curiosity was sated but I wasn’t bored to tears.

I will say, I wasn’t expecting fairies, or “eldritch creatures.” I’m not sure why I wasn’t expecting them, the title has the word “iron” in it. This should’ve been a dead giveaway for me. And yet I was still startled. I thought I would warn anyone out there who is as blind as I am. I didn’t mind the presence of the fairies, despite fairie books not really being my thing, because they were all shrouded by the awesomeness of STEAMPUNK!

Every time a character put on a pair of goggles or used a Rube Goldberg machine I shivered in happiness. There’s a whole house in this one that is basically a Rube Goldberg machine. A whole HOUSE! This book was a playground for anyone who enjoys the steampunk genre.

Beyond the rose coloured goggles of steampunk awesome, I will say, I thought the plot moved along at a slow pace. This is covered up by well paced scenes, which I highly enjoyed, but I thought the entire book could have happened at a faster pace. And again, I’m not a fan of the fairies. But that one’s just me.

All in all, this was a STEAMPUNK (I wonder how many more times I can say it…) adventure, with awesome characters, cool gadgets, a race against time and enemies, and a house that IS a Rube Goldberg machine. What can go wrong?

Reviewed at WhatchYAreading on May 24, 2011.

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