The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book loses points by being the start of a series. Please, publishers, Stop.The.Madness.
Never having read steampunk, I went into this assuming nothing. Only later did I learn that there are certain conventions (goggles and dirigibles included, apparently). So I can't rule on this as an example of that genre, but as fantasy this certainly had some interesting ideas.
The setting is an alternate Boston, Lovecraft, where Rationality has taken over from Spirituality, where heretics are rounded up because they believe in silly things like fairy tales, and where the government has restricted travel and controls the citizens in near dystopian fashion. Aoife is a ward of the state thanks to her absent father and mad mother (oh, yeah, at 16 she'll develop what's known as the necrovirus). Her brother sends her a hidden message that leads her to escape from Lovecraft with Cal, her only - and best - friend, and Dean, their guide.
Heading to Arkham, Aoife's assumptions and beliefs about her family, the necrovirus and the way the world works are shaken. Her Weird develops, and she's conned into a task set by Tavernier, the Regent of Winter in the Thorn Land.
I liked the story, and the use of aether/steam power, but disliked the padding (too many descriptions, some repetitive, for example). And of course there's the whole series aspect...
ARC provided by publisher.
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