Review: The Iron Thorn

Author: Caitlin Kittredge

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Series: Iron Codex #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Steampunk

Rating: DNF

Recommendation: I Don’t.

From Goodreads:

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

I can’t with this book, I just can’t. I tried really hard to finish it you guys! To like it even! There are some likeable bits, for instance the, um, parts with Dean sometimes, and the house and all of the clock works were interesting. That’s basically it. 216 pages in out of 492 and I am done with this mess.

Aoife (yes, that is our main character’s name, it’s pronounced ‘Ee-fah’ apparently. I looked it up on the author’s website. After I’d spent half the book sounding it out weirdly every time it was written ‘Aaa-Weee-Feee’?) is likeable enough, generally. Except that she spends half of her narration worrying that she’s gonna hurt her ‘friend’ Cal’s poor feefees. This even though he spends 90 freaking percent of his time going on and on about how they should just give up and go home because Ee-fah is a girl and girls are hysterical, weepy, emotional, stupid, weak creatures in need of protection and guidance. I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to like him though? At least enough to see him as the other corner of the Dean- Ee-fah- Cal love triangle.

The plot is convoluted at best and incomprehensible at worst. The is no such thing as magic at all! Except maybe! Except not! There’s a weird disease that causes people to lose their minds and is not-but-is-contagious-maybe and Ee-fah has it because her mother did. Her brother who ran away also has it! He also tried to kill her before he left but now he needs her help, according to a smoke letter. And the diease also makes blob things grow that are alive but aren’t and that are sentient but aren’t and one thing’s for sure don’t let them touch you because they are made of the disease so you’ll totally get it except maybe not. And crows! And Ravens! And a semi-deserted clockwork mansion! And maybe fairies!

It’s exhausting.

Maybe I just hate steampunk (I do) or maybe I just hate fairies (I don’t hate-hate them) or maybe I just hate steampunk + fairies + misogyny (I do), regardless I could not finish this book and have no desire to do so. Other people have enjoyed it, but I’m just saying, Don’t come crying to me.

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