Published by ABRAMS on October 2016
Genres: YA Fantasy
Source: For Review
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!
Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”
It’s set in Boston in 1919 in a world in which hemopaths exist (people whose blood allows them to create illusions through art) and the main characters are two young girls who perform at the Iron Cast club using their talents for a rapt audience even though it’s illegal to host these sorts of gatherings. They are part of the Iron Cast inner circle and live there at the club — brought in by the owner and infamous gangster, Johnny, who gave them safe haven from a society hostile to hemopaths in exchange for performing at the club and doing some side jobs. When one of those side jobs goes wrong and Ada gets imprisoned, things go downhill from there as authorities seem to be after them and some of their own in the Iron Cast circle are shot and killed and then Johnny disappears after he searches for answers…leaving the club and the girls vulnerable.
I picked this book up on a whim. It had come in the mail and it looked interesting so I put it on the TBR. As it got closer to the review date I still hadn’t heard anything about it so I picked it up and I’m SO glad I did.
Lemme tell you what I really enjoyed about it:
1. The setting: You really do get transported into Boston in 1919 that’s on the verge of Prohibition. A lot of the setting was really in the more seedy, underbelly of the city as our main characters lay low in the club they live in considering how dangerous it is to be a hemopath when non-hemopaths see them as super dangerous. It’s dark, gritty and dangerous… and I loved it.
2. The magic in hemopath: I loved the fantastical elements of this book! There is something within the blood of hemopaths that allows them to create illusions or manipulate the mind. They each have their artistic talent that allows them to do it — singing, playing an instrument, reciting poetry, or painting. It was so fascinating and I was easily mesmerized by the way it all worked and I loved as they dove deeper into their talents throughout the novel and revealed more about them. I thought the author did a good job at showing how beautiful their talent could be in some ways but also, especially through Ada not really enjoying the conning, how a talent like that could be hard to bear — knowing you can manipulate people and struggling with the right/wrongness of it.
3. The fast-paced nature of it: Now and then I would hit a lull with it but then it would bring me back full speed and remind me why I was loving it. So many interesting revelations that kept me on the edge of my seat — betrayals, bad guys, twists and gasp-inducing scenes. I was biting my nails as the characters try to elude the people trying to apprehend them and send them to the asylum and figure out who is killing off people in the Iron Cast circle.
4. The friendship between Ada and Corrine: They come from different places in society and are brought together by the club owner, Johnny, who gives them safe haven as hemopaths in exchange for them doing con jobs and performing at the club. I loved their bond and how they looked out for each other. I really loved watching them con together with their talents, not going to lie. The world is cruel to hemopaths (especially Corrine as she’s also black and has to deal with prejudice there too) so I loved the way the club in general became like a family for them. View Spoiler »Which makes it even more sad when everything comes crumbling down. PS I so kind of suspected Johnny in some way. « Hide Spoiler
Should you read it? Yes! It’s super under the radar and it deserves more reads!
Should you buy it or borrow it? It’s hard to say — I mean, that cover is a beauty and the book is so good but I don’t know that it’s a book that I would read more than once despite super enjoying it.
fans of historical fantasy, fans of The Diviner by Libba Bray, people looking for a standalone that ISN’T contemporary, people looking for strong female friendships, readers who want something with a decent amount of twists and turns
I really enjoyed this atmospheric and gritty historical fantasy! It was well-paced, had intriguing elements that hooked me right away and featured a memorable cast of characters. I highly recommend it and think you’ll be just as spellbound as I was with it!
* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
Any recs for books similar to this if you’ve read it?