Written by: Destiny Soria
Published: October 11, 2016 by Amulet Books
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: 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—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, she realizes 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. An ideal next read for fans of Libba Bray’s The Diviners.
*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***
You may know that I am someone who loves historical fantasy I heard about this book and was immediately interested. Plus it has an interesting magical system, a unique setting, one of my favorite time periods to read about. And despite some things that I didn't totally love, this book was a great read.
One of the things that I loved about this book was the magical system. I am always looking for magic that is unique and compelling and I definitely found that here. Hemopaths were definitely cool. As the synopsis informs us, it is a blood disease that essentially gives people magical powers. There is a broad range of types of powers that people can have but most of it deals with illusions. Our two main characters work illusions through either music or poetry. They can make anyone feel, see, or think anything just by saying or playing the right thing. Much of the beginning of the book was about witnessing the magic at work and the author did a really good job of establishing the rules and letting us see them in a lot of different instances. And despite the fact that there was a focus on the magic, it didn't feel like too much or there were awkward info dumps. It felt like the exposition was important (something I never thought I would say).
But the magical system also interacted well with this the historical setting. I am definitely a fan of books set during the early 20th Century and this one felt both different and familiar at the same time. It had this really fantastic prohibition type vibe to it which I really enjoyed. And while I do kind of mean Prohibition in the historical sense, I really more of mean it from the magical sense. Hemopathy is illegal and because of that the characters are part of not only this underworld/organized crime kind of world. It made for a interesting and engaging setting, that's for sure. It also had really interesting elements of the asylum system and how mental health being different was treated during the historical time period. It all worked together to make for interesting themes.
But I think my favorite thing about this book was the characters. This is a book full of diverse characters who were all really complex. Of course because they are part of this illegal organized crime like magical work they were not totally good people but I loved that. Thieves, rogues, criminal, those are my kind of characters. The focus was of course on out two main characters Ada and Corrine, both of which I really enjoyed. I may have like Corrine a little bit more because she was the more sarcastic and wry of the two. But together they were even better than they were apart. They come from very different worlds but their friendship and dedication to one another was inspiring. They absolutely care about one another and that was great to see. I also really liked the family aspect. Both of their families were part of their lives and they cared a lot for each other Although I will say that some of the characterizations for the secondary characters was a little basic and it was hard remembering who was connected to who and why. But on the whole, the characters were engaging and interesting.
But the plot and the pacing didn't totally work for me. This was a bit of a slow read. I don't mind if a book takes it's time to get to the good stuff, I actually like when they slowly build to something fantastic, and that's what I was hoping for here. But it was actually much spottier than that. This was one of those books where it would build to something, have a big scene, and then come back down. And to me it just felt a little bit like it was a roller coaster with a bunch of small hills that never got to that big exciting conclusion. It did have a few really engaging scenes towards the end but just when I thought we were reaching the climax, something else would happen. And don't get me wrong, that can be great. I've loved books that had that kind of plot development, but here for some reason it just kind of took me out of the book. I don't know if maybe it was confusing or maybe it was just that the style wasn't working. I did like where the book took me, but along the way there were just a lot of bumps.
But on the whole, this was a good read. It had a great historical setting, and interesting magical system, complex and likable characters, and an engaging plot. The way it developed wasn't my favorite but I did enjoy it.
I give Iron Cast by Destiny Soria 8.5 out of 10 stars
Have you read Iron Cast? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!