Friday, September 9, 2016

Book Review: Iron Cast

Title: Iron Cast
Author: Destiny Soria
Series: N/A
Length: 384 pages
Published by: Amulet Books
Publication date: October 11, 2016
Diversity: biracial protagonist (one of two; half black, half white), black major character, two major gay characters, black minor character
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Do you ever have that moment where a book is so good that you want to keep talking about it for days, but somehow you have no words to describe how amazing it is? That's me right now. So I'm going to try to write an entire review convincing you to go and read this book while my mind is still a wordless mess of emotions.

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you probably know that two things I love are historical fiction and diversity. So, understandably, diverse historical fiction pretty much always catches my eye. And the vagueness of this premise intrigued me: Boston, 1919, and a gang of people creating illusions through art. I didn't know any more specifics going into the book, so I was a bit confused at times, but there's just enough explanation that you're never totally lost.

This book's main strength was its plot. All of the twists and turns keep you on your toes, and that starts pretty much from the beginning. I was invested before I even knew what was really going on - it's that much of a pageturner. I can't say anything else, because I try to make my reviews as spoiler-free as possible, but if you want excitement, you won't be disappointed here.

I also really liked the characters. I'll admit I had a difficult time telling most of the minor characters apart, but I loved each and every one of the major characters. I love that pretty much everyone gets a healthful dose of character development - they make mistakes, and they learn from them. I loved that all of the relationships were realistically imperfect. (Speaking of relationships, I should mention that this book features super-strong super-positive female friendship and it's great!) And I loved how the characters' personalities went along with their powers.

Now, as for the powers themselves, I'm not going to go into a lot of detail, because even when they aren't major spoilers, I rather liked going in blind. I will say that the art that helps create the illusions ranges from music to painting to poetry, and I'll also say that the powers were approached from some interesting angles - it wasn't just "ooh, we have such amazing powers with absolutely no consequences or concerns!"

I was a bit disappointed by the setting. When I read historical fiction, I love little details about the time period and descriptions of the places where the characters find themselves. I get that this book had a lot of other stuff to deal with - magic! mystery! betrayal! - but with the exception of the Cast Iron club itself, I never really saw the scene in my mind's eye. It didn't really take away anything from the rest of the book, but I would've loved to have seen some more details.

I'd especially recommend this to fans of The Diviners, but really to anyone who likes fast-paced rollercoaster books. Whoever you are, if you pick this up, I'm pretty sure you'll find something to love. And remember: not all is as it seems.

Do you like going into books blind? What's a book you read recently that kept you on your toes? Tell me in the comments!

Goodreads description:
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.


  1. This sounds like a fascinating review! I am the sort of person who is completely into character development and plot, but is bad at the "mind movie" no matter how detailed the scenes are. You disappointment in the setting doesn't upset me at all. :)

    However, I did not enjoy The Diviners. I found it to be too long winded, and with minimally developed characters. Do you think I should still try reading Iron Cast?

    1. Absolutely! Iron Cast is a lot shorter than The Diviners, so no long-windedness problems there, and I thought the major characters were developed very well.

  2. Your review made me want this book right away! Like Jackie, I wasn't a huge fan of the Diviners, but this sounds like the pace is a lot quicker. Bummer about the setting though :( that's a pretty neat time period and location.

    Mmmm, a book that kept me on my toes recently... probably Illuminae - I did NOT see AIDAN coming!

    1. It's such a good book! And the time period was fascinating - I don't think I've really read any other books in that small time between World War 1 and Prohibition.

      Illuminae was so good! I read it earlier this year, and it surprised me so many times. I'd heard a little bit about AIDAN, so it wasn't totally unexpected, but I also didn't expect to be that invested!

  3. Oh this sounds absolutely AMAZING. I've heard this author spoken of so much and recommended so highly that I definitely want to try something by her soon! And like I'm a total sucker for fantasy (especially if it has diversity in it!) so HUZZAH FOR THIS. I'm running to goodreads straight away to add it!

    And yess, I do like going into books blind. :') I generally do, unless the first pages confuse me and then I might go back and read the blurb. hehe. This does lead to a lot of confusion...but eh. I like the surprises so WORTH IT.

    1. It's definitely amazing! And this is one of those absolutely perfect blends of historical fiction and fantasy, which I love.

      That's a really interesting strategy! I definitely don't go into books completely blind that often - sometimes, though, I read the blurb and added it on Goodreads so long ago that I'm basically going in blind. And it does make the surprises that much better!

  4. This is such a great review and I completely understand what you mean about loving this book but not being able to fully put into words why. I felt exactly the same way when I read it. I lvoed but pinpointing why in words was hard! I loved the diversity in this book, especially in a historical where it's too easy to just whitewash things and say that it's the era it was set in. Sorry? Did black people just magically pop into existence one day? I don't think so.

    I think my favourite part of this book was the friendship between Ada and Corrine. The fact their friendship was central to the entire book was great. And the strength of that friendship as well! I love any book that has a solid friendship and this one was one of the best considering their rocky start together.

    1. I love diversity in historical fiction, and I HATE when that whitewashing excuse is used! It's really disappointingly common.

      Ada and Corinne's friendship was so great! It was definitely a highlight of the book for me, too. It was so strong, and so important, and I love that they supported each other no matter what.

  5. Thanks for sharing the information. It is very useful for me . keep sharing. . .

    1. Thanks! I hope you like the book!