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Book Review: The Nightmare Garden

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The Nightmare Garden (The Iron Codex #2)
by Caitlin Kittredge

3 stars: A Good Book
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, for review
Publication: February 14, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 432
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Younger Readers (Imprint of Random House Children’s Books)
Buy it: Amazon Hardcopy | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Everything Aoife thought she knew about the world was a lie. There is no Necrovirus. And Aoife isn't going to succumb to madness because of a latent strain—she will lose her faculties because she is allergic to iron. Aoife isn't human. She is a changeling—half human and half from the land of Thorn. And time is running out for her.

When Aoife destroyed the Lovecraft engine she released the monsters from the Thorn Lands into the Iron Lands and now she must find a way to seal the gates and reverse the destruction she's ravaged on the world that's about to poison her.

Kittredge's writing is as beautiful as I remember. It is descriptive and paints gorgeous images of the various places that Aoife visits. However, there is less action in this book and a lot of waiting, as Aoife and her friends are in hiding. Aoife now wallows in regret over the consequences of destroying the Engine; filled with guilt, she clings to the belief that she must save the world in order to redeem herself.

It was harder for me to relate to Aoife in this book. Aoife becomes the typical youth: she takes everything into her hands, refuses to listen to her elders, and plunges forward without any definite plan. She thinks that the answers will come to her and doesn't listen to advice from the more experienced adults around her, specifically her father. Her brother becomes an annoyance because he won't side with her. I can't understand why Aoife refuses to listen to people who have been in the real world and know more about it than she does. Nevertheless, she is a teenage girl trying to take on momentous tasks that would baffle many adults, and I admire Aoife's loyalty to her companions and her determination in the face of perilous situations.

The characters are as complex as in book one, though prominent characters fade into the background a bit, as book two is centered on Aoife's dreams of the Nightmare Clock and the conflicts she faces with Draven, Tremaine, her father, and within herself. Dean continues to play a big role in Aoife's life as the one she trusts the most. My favorite moment is when Aoife envisions a life with Dean always by her side. It is a beautiful thought and gives Aoife hope in a dark time. Cal, Bethina, and Conrad remain mostly as small supporters who offer their opinions where it counts.

Overall, I enjoyed finding out more about the other worlds and about the true nature of Aoife's Weird. I'm not sure if all fans of The Iron Thorn will enjoy this book, but I, for one, want to read book three. I am looking forward to finding out the full extent to which Aoife can use her Weird and what she must do to fix her mistakes and save the world.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
2 comments on "Book Review: The Nightmare Garden"
  1. The world-building sounds awesome!

    I don't really mind a slower pace - I know some people wanted more action in Crossed but I thought it was perfect as it was.

  2. The description of this book (and book 1 since I've never read it) sounds really interesting. I added it to my TBR shelf. I'll be getting the first from my library when I go this week!


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