It’s no secret that this year has been a weird year for me in terms of books. It seems like every published book I’ve been meaning to get to has blown me off my feet and sadly ARCs are just not cutting it for me. I’m always someone who goes by some kind of impulse. If something seems interesting to me, I’ll most likely go for it. The only time I stop is if it’s something that might not sit well with me mentally or emotionally. So when I came around Iron Cast I was really intrigued. I mean I haven’t read many books about the 20s, but almost everybody and their mother loves the aesthetics of the 20s so why not right?
I was not disappointed.
Iron Cast is a novel mainly on friendships. Corinne and Ada are the power combo and they will fight for each other no matter the cost, no matter the stakes. They are constantly working off of each other and they are constantly supporting each other. I loved reading the book solely for their relationships. So often are two girls in a friendship have that relationship jeopardized by a romantic lead or by some other mean girl esque kind of drama, but this wasn’t the case and it was a breath of fresh air. There was nothing but love and support for each other.
As someone who loves world building I was actually a bit intrigued about the partial lack of it. We seem to only catch glimpses and only bits and pieces of what hemopathy is and that is probably due to their innate mystery. No one really knows the science of hemopathy in this pre-prohibition era Boston and it really shows in the novel. I’m left with questions unanswered, but it felt justified because since it seems to be a scientific thing it would make sense for us not to know much about it. Even so, it left a lot of open doors and opportunities if Soria decided that she wanted to go back to the world of Iron Cast.
I haven’t mentioned but Ada is a woman of color and furthermore she’s a woman of color who lets her hair flow free. Natural hair has been such a large talk lately and it was amazing to see a black character or a woman of color have her natural hair just out in the open unapologetically and so nonchalantly. It was really a lovely little detail. Furthermore, it was amazing to see some queer characters in the novel also held nonchalantly and naturally. It was so subtle and sweet, I loved it when I could get a bit of it.
Overall I felt like Iron Cast was a lovely novel and a great debut. If you’re in love with the 20s I think you might have a ball with this novel. The pacing is smooth, the cover art is great, the characters are lovable, and you’ll get a kick out of the dynamic duo that is Corinne and Ada.
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.