Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
- Published October 11th, 2016
- Tags: 20th Century, Diverse, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ+, Magical-Realism, Multiple PoV, Crime, PoC, Race Issues, Twenties, Urban Fantasy, YA
- Format: Physical Book, Library Copy
- Pages: 384
| Synopsis From the Publisher |
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.
| Book Review |
– Content –
The diversity was awesome! -> One of the things that surprised me the most about this book was how diverse it was. One of the main characters is a person of color, of African and Portuguese descent, and many of the characters were also from diverse backgrounds. Two of the other central characters were gay. Race issues were constantly referred to and were one of the central plots of the book. I was very happy to see this diversity and for it to be handled so well.
An urban fantasy I actually enjoyed! -> I’ve read a few urban fantasy books, but most of the time they haven’t really been my jam. But this book, well, I actually really liked it. It reminded me a lot of the new Fantastic Beasts movies, not just because of the magical element, but also because of the “twenties” type setting. In this case, there are some people in this world called “hemopaths.” Something in their blood allows them to create illusions, either through singing, playing an instrument, or painting. It was quite cool to see magic in an art-based form. I loved it!
Strong female characters! -> There are two main characters, Ava and Corinne. Ava is generally the more quite, gentle-soul who does everything she can to protect and support those she loves. Corinne is the loud-of-mouth, fast-talking, extrovert who is blunt as all get out, but who will fiercely defend her family (and by family, I mean her found-family, not necessarily her genetic one). Both of these girls have their differences, but their solid friends and solid characters who don’t sit around and wait to be saved or for things to be done for them. They’re in the thick of it, they’re brawling or puling a con in order to protect their family and their livelihood. It was really nice to see a story develop around such strong figures.
Female friendships for the win!!! -> Often times I miss really well developed female friendships in books, especially in the fantasy genre, which can often leave women out completely. In the case of this book, not only are the two main characters women and life-long friends, there are many healthy female friendships that happen over the course of the book. I really loved seeing all these women fighting for each other and talking together not about relationships, but about how they’re going to save each other or how they can make things happen.
– Literary Value –
Slow to start, but well-developed story -> I believe this is Soria’s first book, and so I can forgive the slow build-up. I think it took me a little while to get into things, but once the plot got rolling, I was really invested. I think the world-building took some time to grow on me. While the story does take place in 1919 America, there was a whole magic system that had to be introduced, as well as the club rivalry situation that had to be pieced together. It took some time to also really get a grasp of all the characters, but once that happened for me, I really let myself get immersed in the story.
Clear, crisp dialogue! -> I really enjoyed the dialogue in this book. I think all of the characters had their own distinct voice and all the conversations felt really natural. I think Soria did a good job of making the story accessible, despite the setting of the ’20s, since lingo and slang were a bit different back then. I was able to follow what the characters were saying and nothing felt too forced.
Well-executed plot! -> One of the things that really blew me away about this story was how thought-out the plot was. Every time I thought I had a handle on the situation, Soria would introduce a new twist that had me reeling! I was constantly on my toes and I did not expect the ending!
Decent writing style -> For a YA, I felt like this book was actually quite sophisticated. Thought the main characters were teens, they were dealing with some pretty heavy topics, including racism, imprisonment, death, etc. I felt like Soria was able to write a really engaging story while keeping the overall feel of the book from getting too high-brow. Teens will definitely enjoy this story.
– Entertainment Factor –
If you love historical-fiction with a bit of magic, this one’s for you! -> I loved reading a story set in the early ’20s. It was fun to see how Soria used the whole speakeasy club thing in a new and different way by connecting it to the magic system she built.
Anyone who enjoys urban fantasy will definitely get a kick out of this cool, arts-based form of magic, where characters can create illusions from either spoken word, like poetry, singing/playing an instrument, or even painting. I was blown away by all the different ways this magic was used. The world just kept revealing new tricks and new high-stakes. It was awesome!
While the story might have taken a little bit to get going, I really appreciated it once it was at full-steam. I loved the diverse cast and looking for the next plot twist, wondering how the characters were going to make it out of this next new problem. It’s definitely a story with some action, that touch of magic, and the historical drama factor.
– Cover Art –
I have been waiting the whole review to talk about this cover! Is it not one of the prettiest covers you’ve ever seen! One of the biggest factors for me reading this book is the cover. For one thing, it’s got a person of color on it, for another, it’s got that really cool ’20s art deco vibe, and for another, the color scheme is on fire! I love the gold with the brown hues. It’s monochromatic with a touch of metallic and I love it so, so much. All the little detailing around the boarder is so beautiful!
I could go on about this cover forever, but I won’t because you don’t need to read all that. Let’s just say that this is in my top 5 of favorite book covers.
| My Rating |
My New Favorite Thing
I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. I certainly did not expect the amount of diversity and representation in it. Nor did I expect to enjoy the urban-fantasy aspect of it. I really liked seeing magic being based from an art form. It was unique and really well-thought out!
One of my favorite things about this book, though, is that it has such a positive female relationship at its core. The two main characters love and care for each other, have each others’ backs, and are not solely concerned with romance. This is a really well put together story about two girls saving the day. And in my book, that means a lot.
Would I recommend this book?
Yes, yes, yes! It’s such a fantastic book. I didn’t expect to love it this much, but Soria really won me over with her attention to detail, her well-constructed plot, and her strong female characters. I would definitely recommend this to fans of historical fiction, or those who like magical realism.
Thoughts & Thanks
Thank you so much for reading this post. I would love to hear your thoughts on this book if you have read it or even if you haven’t! If you’re considering reading it, let me know what you think, once you do!