Friday, July 12, 2013

The Mirrored Shard

The Mirrored Shard is a YA steampunk fantasy and the third novel in the Iron Codex trilogy by Caitlin Kittredge.

If you have not read The Iron Thorn and The Nightmare Garden you should avoid this review for spoilers. Instead, feel free to click on the titles and see my reviews of those two!

Okay, I’m giving you one last chance to turn away…

Spending time in the Thorn Land with her mother, who has been insane for most of Aoife’s life, has not gotten her anywhere.

When Dean was killed in the Arctic, her mother told her she could help Aoife bring him back – if only she came with her to the Thorn Land.

Now, Aoife is pretty sure that is a lie.

Needing to get out of the ethereal, haunting fey land and back to the Iron Land that may slowly poison her mind but provide more answers as to how to bring Dean back from the dead, Aoife starts to plot.

On top of all that, she must face the choices she has made that has endangered and changed the world and the powers coming in to play.

After all, if Aoife is going to bring Dean back – it’d be good if there was a world to bring him back to.

I absolutely loved The Iron Thorn, the first book in this trilogy. The steampunk, dark version of the 1950s was original and exciting – the characters were vivid and interesting – and the plot had mystery, intrigue and a unique mixture of fantasy and science under a strong tone of steampunk.

The Nightmare Garden was still good, though I felt like it was a lacking a little of The Iron Thorn’s specialness. I still really liked it though, even if the end had me shocked and upset with Dean’s death.

But right when The Mirrored Shard landed in my hands, I was concerned. Why?

It was so thin! The first two books, especially the first, were nice and thick. I couldn’t imagine why the third book, the FINAL book, would be so much thinner. How could there be enough pages to resolve everything and still give me a satisfying reading experience?

Answer: There wasn’t.

For me, at least.

Aoife seemed different. She cried a lot. Her relationships with characters felt altered, probably because of her change. I felt this was the root problem of why I was having such a difficult time feeling invested and involved in The Mirrored Shard.

I certainly didn’t have a problem in the past!

In fact, I was feeling very tired and sleepy while I was reading it, which made me very sad.

Even though we are introduced to a semi-cool alternate version of San Francisco and Alcatraz, I felt like the enigmatic, fascinating vibe of the prior books was replaced with a rather convoluted storyline about Dean – and a tad of the Old Ones.

One thing that disappointed me the most, besides Aoife’s personality, was the lack of feeling like this trilogy told a complete story from start to finish. Seems like it changed course midway or something.

Perhaps a reread of all three books in a row would help it to mesh and make a more complete picture. I hope so, because right now I’m left feeling depressed. There was so much potential, so much meaty writing and a world of detail and excitement – where did it go?

I hope you disagree when you read The Mirrored Shard.

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