Bistro Book Club

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge (2 reviews)

Anqi,    12 
Caitlin Kittredge 
The Iron Thorn  
Delacorte Books for Young Readers     2011

        Aoife is not your typical teenage girl. Not only does she live in an alternate 1950's, filled with a disease called the necrovirus and a crack-down on rational thought and reasoning, but both her mother and her brother have turned mad, leaving Aoife abandoned and orphaned. And not only that, but both Aoife's brother and mother went crazy when they reached their sixteenth birthday, leaving Aoife no doubt that her life as a Rationalist is ticking as the clock nears her own. As Aoife struggles to compete in the highly educational School of Engineers, she is surprised to find a letter find its way into her life one night, saying these words: HELP-Find the witch's alphabet. Save yourself. Aoife immediately recognizes the letter as her brother Conrad's, and worries that he might be in trouble, mad or not. Bringing along with her Cal, her best friend, and Dean, an irresistible guide, she travels to find her brother Conrad and unravel the truth about her impending madness and her family. The Iron Thorn was beautiful and eerie, reminding me of a very dark Tim Burton movie. The imagery was poetic and stormy, and the themes just plain creepy. I loved Caitlin Kittredge's style, and the astonishing surprises that were presented in the end of the book. The romance, though cheezy, was welcomed as well into The Iron Thorn. I'm excited for the next book in the Iron Codex, and can't wait to see what happens to Aoife next    5 Hard to imagine a better book
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Hope P.,     15
Caitlin Kittredge
The Iron Thorn
Delacorte Press    2011

       The phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover" holds true for this novel; the dark overtone and peasent-style dress the girl is wearing has a somewhat misleading appearance.

        This beautifully written novel is based in an alternate 1950’s; one where rationality is the only law and if something cannot be explained by science; it is illegal and forbidden. All talk of magic, fate or even fairy tales is grounds for life sentences in jail, if not execution. Evil creatures born of a necrovirus stalk the streets and heretics are burned or banished. Heretics hide in the shadows. The eyes of the law are everywhere.  In the midst of this world, young Aoife Grayson’s family has the most annoying habit of going mad. Her mother and older brother both went insane on their sixteenth birthdays; and her own sweet sixteen is only weeks away.  Despite all, she is trying make a normal life for herself by attending Engineering school. One fateful night she receives a coded message from her brother urging her to find the ‘witches alphabet’ and to save herself. But from what? The Proctors, the cruel and unyielding enforcers of the law? The madness that overshadows their family? Or herself? Accompanied by her best friend Cal, a charming Heretic named Dean, and her own wit, Aoife must uncover the clues her brother left for her and discover the truth about herself; a truth linked to her uncanny ability with machines, her father’s legacy, and the world of Fae. Caitlin Kittredge uses well-wrought imagery and realistic characters to carry a truly gripping story that the readers can lose themselves in.

Rating: 5 Hard to imagine a better book

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