Review by Jackie
by DESTINY SORIA
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 11, 2016)
Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon
In 1919, Ada Navarra—the intrepid daughter of immigrants—and Corinne Wells—a spunky, devil-may-care heiress—make an unlikely pair. But at the Cast Iron nightclub in Boston, anything and everything is possible. At night, on stage together, the two best friends, whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art, weave magic under the employ of Johnny Dervish, the club’s owner and a notorious gangster. By day, Ada and Corinne use these same skills to con the city’s elite in an attempt to keep the club afloat.
When a “job” goes awry and Ada is imprisoned, she realizes they’re on the precipice of danger. Only Corinne—her partner in crime—can break her out of Haversham Asylum. But once Ada is out, they face betrayal at every turn.
It’s the early 1900s and hemopaths are subjected to being ostracized from their fellow Bostonians. Two of these afflicted are Ada Navarra—a songsmith who can play a man to the depths of his sorrow in a few notes—and Corinne Wells. Miss Wells is an heiress, a wordsmith, and fiercely loyal to the few she bequeaths such an emotion on. They’re an unlikely duo. They’re also inseparable, and have the kind of friendship most can only dream of. They’d choose each other before everyone else. Together, they face the streets of Boston and those who want people like them locked away, and betrayals of the more incessant kind.
I would just like to say this before I say anything else about this beautiful, bold, and diverse book: WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT I—THE GIRL WHO PRIORITIZES ROMANCE BEFORE PRETTY MUCH ALL ELSE—WOULD LOVE A BOOK THAT IS ROMANCE LIGHT THIS MUCH? NOT ME. BUT I DO. AND HOLY CHEESE AND CRACKERS, MY LOVES, IT’S SO, SO AMAZING.
The base of this book was the friendship between these two stellar, unique, and completely complicated darlings. Soria combines social issues with the fantastical nature of blood disease, making the book seemingly fly off the pages. I felt transported to 1919. I felt curiosity. Yes, I did look up the complications with Russia from the time. Yes, I did look up hemopaths.
Books should make you want to learn more, broaden your horizons, and allow you to behold a different perspective than the one that you constantly see the world from. IRON CAST is that and more.
Let’s do a brief re-cap for those who skimmed the first few paragraphs: the BEST kind of friendship, history being thrown in the air, magical realism (can I call it that? People who sway minds in an otherwise ordinary 1919 Boston? Hmm.) like OMG so great woop woop, and bravery, and betrayal.
If that list doesn’t have you running to your local independent bookshop and begging them to grab some copies to stock their shelves, I don’t know what will.
Do yourself a favor and run to that bookstore.