Author: Destiny Soria
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!
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.