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The Nightmare Garden

The Nightmare Garden is a YA fantasy novel by Caitlin Kittredge, and the sequel to The Iron Thorn

Oh my – The Iron Thorn was way too awesome to ruin with spoilers! So, if you haven’t yet read it don’t read the review of its sequel! It’ll inevitably give something away. Instead, read my review of The Iron Thorn here, and go get yourself a copy! Got it?

Now, for all of you who HAVE read The Iron Thorn, you probably don’t need much nudging to read The Nightmare Garden! I know I didn’t!

I’ll give you a general idea of the start of the book, but in my opinion if you loved the first book there’s no reason to spoil all the bombshells with the inside jacket flap. That’s why I didn’t (and often don’t) read it. Just a personal opinion there, but why you’ll find very few details in this review.

Aoife (pronounced EE-fah) has recently turned sixteen, found out she has Fae blood in her, abilities called a Weird, and was tricked into using said Weird to destroy Lovecraft Engine in order to break a curse on the queens of the Thorn Land (where Fae live).

Now everything’s falling apart. The city of Lovecraft was her home, even if it was ruled with a totalitarian set of rules and regulations all built on a lie that magic did not exist and all the unnatural creatures were simply the result of a necrovirus that someday might be cured. It was her home, and now it is crumbling to the ground all because of her. And her mother, one of the residents of a madhouse, was still there when it happened…

Aoife, her not-officially-boyfriend Dean, her longtime friend and recently revealed ghoul Cal, her father’s old maid Bethina, and her newly recovered brother Conrad all slipped in to the Mists, a world between worlds. It’s a place to escape the iron that poisons her half-Fae mind and puts her at risk of complete insanity. It also allows them some time to try and process what she’s done. Yet not much, as before long they’re found – though by who, I won’t say! You’ll have to read it to find out!

But all Aoife can think is: she has to make it right. And maybe, just maybe, there might be a way…

That’s just a tad of how The Nightmare Garden starts. I figure if you adored The Iron Thorn, you’ll jump in with no reservations.

Now, The Nightmare Garden began with a lot of recap and a gloomier outlook, but we also get a more assertive Aoife. I wasn’t as utterly entranced as I was when reading The Iron Thorn, but with a little time and patience the amazing steampunk, clockwork meets fairy-tale, fantasy feel began to increase.

We get to go to new worlds like the Mists, meet more Erlkin, and face many more dangers. It’s too spoilerific to say too much, but believe you me – it succeeds above and beyond what I was initially was fearing was a book two slump. It just took me a little longer to be convinced. But then I most definitely way.

The Nightmare Garden is still crackling with romantic tension and an awesome alternative 50s steampunk vibe. It is truly and undeniably appealing from the fantasy viewpoint and mixed with bits of dystopia, magic, friendship and a delicious love connection! It kinda has it all in a unique package!

Though sometimes I still got the sense that it was hobbled together, The Nightmare Garden was intense, unexpected and truly an electrifying, original fantasy clockwork adventure. It’s a steampunk, more girl-friendly 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea that becomes more and more thrilling as it continues, full of surprises and obstacles among cleverness and wit.

Whoo-boy, The Nightmare Garden is a worthy, intelligent, creepy sequel that had a SHOCKER of an end that left me wrung out, heartbroken, fascinated, hopeful, and ravenous for book three!

Who’s with me?!?!?!!


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