Friday, February 3, 2012

Early Review - The Nightmare Garden (The Iron Codex, Book 2) By Caitlin Kittredge (5/5 stars)

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Steampunk
Size: 432 pages
Publisher: Delcorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 14, 2012
ISBN: 978-0385738316
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Iron Codex Trilogy
Source: eBook though Edelweiss
Rating: 5/5 stars

This is the second book in the Iron Codex series by Kittredge. This third book is supposed to be titled, The Mirrored Shard, and from what I could find is scheduled for a late 2012/early 2013 release. I absolutely loved the first book and couldn't wait to read the second. In this book we venture into the Mists and get to meet the secret Brotherhood that Aoife's father was part of. I love the world and the characters created in this series; although I was a little disappointed that Aoife kept making the same mistakes over and over again.

Aoife has destroyed the Great Engine, unintentionally loosing the monsters of the Thorn (faerie lands) into the Iron lands (our world). She is forced to flee into the Mists with her brother, Cal, Dean, and Bethina. Eventually Aoife meets up with her father back in the Iron land. She finally decides that rather than slowly go insane in the Iron land waiting for her father to do something, she is going to take matters into her own hands and try to find the Nightmare Clock. With the Nightmare Clock she should be able to turn back time and mend the world.

I know a lot of people are upset that Aoife makes the same huge mistakes in the second book that she does in the first. In a way though I kind of liked this, it made the story ironic and makes Aoife a perfect tragic heroine of sorts. I love Aoife's blend of toughness, rashness, tenderness, and vulnerability. This blend makes her a very realistic character. The fact that she makes her decisions out of a well-intentioned need to protect those she loves makes the whole story all that more gothic and tragic.

I continue to absolutely love this world. In this book we get to venture deeper into the Mists and deeper into the land of Thorn. We also join the characters on a trip to the Brotherhood's icy and distant headquarters. The worlds are beautifully described and absolutely came alive for me. I was sucked into these worlds and really want to read more about them.

I enjoyed most of the characters as well. There are no simple characters in this story; they all have tragic backgrounds and complicated motives. Dean is another favorite of mine; he continues to be supportive and respective of Aoife in a way that makes me just love him. Cal also continues to be a wonderful addition to the story.

I will say that the story starts to a get a little ambiguous at parts. Especially as Aoife begins to teeter on the edge of insanity again, sometimes it is hard to tell her dreams from her real actions. Some readers may not enjoy this, but I thought it was cleverly done and gives the reader an excellent feel for what Aoife is going through.

The end of the book is heart-rending and ends on a super horrible cliffhanger. It had me dying to know what happens in the final book, The Mirrored Shard.

Overall I absolutely adored this book. I love the dark and gothic steampunk world that the story takes place in. I love Aoife's realistic personality and how she is a tragically flawed heroine. I love the supporting characters. I love the strange and unpredictable shifts in the plot and I love the new worlds we get to explore in this book. I highly recommend this book to steampunk and fantasy fans of all ages.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- Steampunk Reading Challenge

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