Published by Amulet Books on October 11th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Historical Fiction, Alternate History, YA
Format: Kindle, eARC
Buy on Amazon
Reading Challenges: 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge
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.
Rating: 5 Stars
Iron Cast is set in a world where some people- hemopaths- have magic in their blood that allows them to do incredible things. The two main characters, Ada and Corrine, are both hemopaths, and their magic is just fantastic. But that’s not the best part; the best part is their friendship. Even though they don’t always see things the same way, there’s no big dramatic fight scene, and both of them prioritize each other over their love interests. In short, it’s everything I want to see in character’s relationships.
Ada is a quieter ‘think before you act’ sort of person, in contrast to Corrine’s brash ‘act first ask questions later’ type attitude. I felt that I identified more with Ada because of this. Ada is also a POC whose mother and father are both immigrants (from Kenya and Portugal, respectively). There are several moments where she and Corrine are treated differently because of the color of her skin, and it’s telling to see how the characters around them react to these episodes. Corrine was raised wealthy and white in the outskirts of Boston, and although she could have been a snobby brat, she wasn’t. She was kind, and loyal, and good. Not always nice, but always trying to be good.
The plot is given to you piece by piece, and it’s not until it’s finished that you can really see how everything ties together. Of course, you know what the main thing you’re reading about right then is, but it’s one of those books that’s super fun to take apart afterwards because you understand how everything at the beginning happened because of things you discover at the end. Of course, any story centered on “something forbidden in the Jazz Age” is something that I love to read, but it really is so good.
Even though they aren’t the focal point, both Ada and Corrine do have love interests. Corrine’s is a (predictable) spoiler, so I’ll leave that one alone except to say that I love how it developed, and Ada is going steady (is that ’20s slang or am I skipping ahead a few decades?) with a fellow hemopath named Charlie. Charlie is sweet and kind. His magic allows him to give others hope and joy through music, which is just about the coolest thing ever. He has a backstory, and it really ties into one of the main themes of the book- just because something bad happened doesn’t mean something good can’t happen, too.
While this story could have a sequel, it doesn’t need one. There are definitely stories left to be told, but they’ll probably be filled with fanfiction rather than a second book. I’m not left waiting on a cliffhanger because there’s a sense of finality about the last few pages. However, I am going to be at a festival with Destiny Soria in a few weeks, and I think I might work up the courage to ask if she’s planning on writing one anyway. The world building and characters were just so great that I think I would read it even if all they did was go about their day to day lives.
Okay, I think that’s all I have to say for now. Iron Cast is fantastic and magical and wonderful and if you like historical fiction, magic, strong female friendships, or awesome books, you should definitely read it as soon as you can.
Well Wishes & Candy Fishes,