by Destiny Soria
Published on October 11, 2016 by Amulet Books
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Young Adult
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.
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It’s the early 1900’s in Boston, the city is booming with activity, and on one particular street sits the Cast Iron club where customers can come to experience a show like no other (and illegal at that). Destiny Soria takes us back through the eyes of Corinne and Ada, two remarkable young women willing to go the distance for their home.
Iron Cast was absolutely wonderful. From the first page, I was hooked in this world of hemopaths — those born with an unusual ability to create illusions with words, song, and for one, paintings. To start, I’ve never experienced any beings like “hemopaths.” Or the time period this book is set in, for that matter (it doesn’t seem nearly as popular as the Victorian era, modern day, etc). Brownie points for originality!
While there’s a lot of action within the pages, from Ada’s escape from “prison” to kidnappings, daring cons, and protecting the ever-formidable Cast Iron club, the characters are what sold this book for me.
Corinne is from a well-off family but finds her place at the Cast Iron with others hemopaths. To her, the club acted as more of a savior than a temporary retreat. She has family issues but I loved seeing her reconsider everything she had thought previously, bringing her character arc full circle. She’s snarky and always ready with an idea when it comes to saving those she loves. As she puts it, she’s not nice. But she is good.
Ada holds the more sensible side of the friendship, not as loud as her friend but equally formidable. While Corinne usually takes the driver’s seat in the situation, Ada comes into her own as a leader as the story progresses. Her calmer nature is the perfect balance for Corinne and they play off each other beautifully.
I loved that Iron Cast had such a strong friendship theme with these two. There’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each other and I can’t imagine them as anything but Cor and Ada. You can’t have one without the other.
Gods, I need this book as a movie (and by that I mean a good book-to-movie adaptation). I want to see these ladies on screen, want to experience Corinne’s illusions and Ada’s emotional music. There’s such a visual aspect to Iron Cast and the author did a fabulous job bringing it to life in my mind.
(Okay, to be honest, I just can’t get enough of this book and want ANYTHING more — a movie? a sequel? I’m not picky!)
But you can’t have characters without plot and, once again, Soria knocked it out of the park. There are so many intricate layers to this story that don’t always seem like they tie together and when you get to the end, you’re left standing in awe. The characters face personal challenges, decisions they’ve made and the consequences tied with them, as well as the overarching problems with the Cast Iron. And the writing…well, I mentioned that the author really brings those illusions to life, right? It’s far more than that. I know little of the early 1900’s other than what I’ve seen on TV or learned in high school history. Yet, I felt like I was there. The characters use slang unfamiliar to this day and age but so appropriate for their lives. It also wasn’t used in a way that I felt confused at any point. These weren’t made-up fantasy words to give the book a more authentic feel. They just merged with the rest of the world seamlessly.
If you ever had any doubts whether or not to read this book, you shouldn’t have any now. You need this book on your shelf. And, like me, I hope you’re looking out for more from this debut author because Iron Cast wasn’t enough for me. I need more!