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.
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
Seeing a person of colour on the cover really inspired me to pick Iron Cast by Destiny Soria up. I feel like it’s so rare to find a YA/paranormal book that dares to feature someone who isn’t milky white, that I knew I had to figure out what this book was about and give it a shot. I’m glad I did because this story was absolutely fantastic. Not only did it include bits reminding that Ada, one of the main characters, is a person of color and therefore treated differently, it also featured a great plot that surprised even me at the end!
The start, I must say, was a bit confusing simply because I didn’t know what a hemopath was. I had forgotten the description of it from the synopsis and was just like okay something with the blood, but what? It did get explained, but not until a bit later on. I mean, in one sense, it did keep the story flowing realistically since the characters would all obviously know what a hemopath was and therefore didn’t need to explain it, but on the other, I was lost for a bit wondering what their magical powers were.
The characters are fun. Ada especially, I loved. She tries to move around this world as though she doesn’t have multiple strikes against her (I mean, this is prohibition era). And yet, she perseveres and tries to remain true to herself. Her romance with Charlie, I died. It was so great and natural and I just loved that pairing. I worried that perhaps opening with them together would mean Soria would do something to tear them apart later on, but, well, you’ll see. Corinne is interesting in that she is white and privileged and yet, because of her “affliction,” she has to slum it, ending up becoming friends with Ada. Best friends, actually. What I loved about Corinne, apart from her unending loyalty, is how she deals with Gabriel. Most YA heroines would just swoon, but she remained firm at the end and I thought yes, I need more characters like this in other YA books!
When it comes to the plot, however, Iron Cast truly excels. It held so many different layers that the ending came as such a surprise for me. Soria really, truly did her research in that time period and used all of it to layer a plot and story that felt credible. The pacing was a steady crescendo towards the climax and the resolution was a bit heartbreaking. I wonder if there might be a part two so we can follow what becomes of all the outcasts.
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria is perfect for readers that are interested in reading more historical novels, but with a slight paranormal twist. The author does a fantastic job weaving together all of the political and societal undertones happening during the time period into a plot that takes twists and turns.