I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
Release date: October 11th, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, historical fiction
It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.
Without question, this was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year! It was a complete surprise with twists and turns. My poor emotions had so many ups and downs that I thought my heart would burst.
The story is set in post-war Boston where people known as hemopaths have been driven underground due to their special abilities. These abilities allow them to persuade and manipulate the emotions and thoughts of others through poetry and music. Ada and Corinne are two hemopaths that perform at an illegal club called the Cast Iron. Following their involvement in a failed con, their lives are put in danger and they must navigate a world of violence, lies and betrayal.
- The friendship between Ada and Corinne is the engine that drives this novel. It’s strong, believable and at times heartbreaking. It’s honestly so refreshing to read a book that puts friendship above everything else. There was no love triangle, backstabbing or friend steals boyfriend scenario that appears quite frequently in other YA novels.
- The setting was perfect! I have this thing for post World War I America/Europe. I guess it has to do with that fact that the world was changing, people’s thoughts and beliefs were rocked by the war and its devastation. Post-war Boston highlighted the differences between the poor and the rich and the fear of the “other”, which in this case were the hemopaths. Also, the fantasy elements were blended seamlessly in with the real world that I never once considered that hemopaths weren’t real. While reading I had this image in my head of Bonnie and Clyde meets The Great Gatsby. Weird…but it worked for me.
- THERE IS DIVERSITY! The author includes PoC and gay lead characters. Through these characters the topics of racism, profiling and exclusion are explored. I though the author’s use of these characters was done in a way that meant that they were not stereotypical. I’ve read books in the past with “diversity” that just meant that the characters were of colour, but fell into being nothing more than the token friend or comic relief. This does NOT happen here!
- Sometimes the POV would switch back and forth in a chapter without any real obvious transition. Ada would be sharing her thoughts on a matter and then the next paragraph would focus on Corinne’s ideas. This made it confusing at times because I had to reread the previous paragraph. Or, at times, I wouldn’t initially notice the change in POV because the internal thoughts of the two main characters weren’t always that different.
- While the characters were great, more detail could have been included to fully flesh them out. There were a lot of implied information. I would have liked to know more about their backstories. Understand where they were coming from to fully grasp how becoming a hemopath affected their lives.