Book Review: Caitlin Kittredge’s Mirrored Shard

Posted April 24, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Caitlin Kittredge’s Mirrored Shard

Mirrored Shard


Caitlin Kittredge

steampunk in Hardcover edition that was published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on February 12, 2013 and has 304 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Corsets & Clockwork, Street Magic, Demon Bound, Bone Gods, Night Life, Huntress, The Iron Thorn, "The Curse of Four", The Nightmare Garden, The Wild Side: Urban Fantasy with an Erotic Edge, Devil's Business, Soul Trade, Dark Days, Black and White, Games Creatures Play

Third in the Iron Codex steampunk series for young adults. The story revolves around Aoife Grayson and her driving need to rescue Dean.

My Take

I’m half enthralled with the world that Kittredge has created and half appalled because Aoife is such an idiot. She actually believes the wicked people around her! She drives me nuts as she keeps going off half-cocked. Never examining anything, never checking. What makes it worse is Kittredge is so vague in so much of it. It’s hard enough making sense of what’s happening, but there’s so little to ground you; you really do need the background that reading the first two in the series — Iron Thorn, 1, and Nightmare Garden, 2 — will give you. It is an interesting world Kittredge has created; I just wish she had been more clear.

Hah, I agree with Aoife, Conrad’s got some nerve blaming her for so much she wasn’t prepared for. And whose fault is that??

It was a horrible world before, but now that the Old Ones are pushing into the Iron Land, it’s just getting worse with the barriers between Iron and Thorn thinning, the minds of the Old Ones affecting regular people in their dreams, and the Iron Land is being torn apart.

And now Aoife is doing the exact same thing in this story as she has done in the past two. Plunging into situations of which she has no knowledge. I dislike stupid characters and Aoife is definitely stupid and reckless. However, it’s that same recklessness that may well save everyone!

The Story

The country is falling apart. Dreams. Madness. The barriers between Thorn and Iron are thinning and creatures are stirring.

Meanwhile, Aoife can’t bear it. Dean died for her, prematurely. Surely, surely if she can find a way into the Deadlands, she can rescue him, bring him back. Only, her Gate Weird won’t work this way. The only way Aoife Grayson is getting into the Deadlands is if she dies.

The Characters

Aoife Grayson is half-Fae, a changeling, forced into the Thorn Land when the Iron Land becomes too much for her. Her gift, her Weird, is creating Gates, enabling her to leave anywhere, as simple as crossing a line from one part of the world to the next. Nerissa is her selfish, manipulative mother whom Aoife has finally gotten back into the Thorn Land. Archibald Grayson is Aoife’s father, and while he may be human, he’s a Gateminder from a long line of mages; he is also a rogue from the Brotherhood of Iron, and very ill. Valentina is her father’s fiancée. Conrad is her older brother, the one who warns her, sends her off on her odyssey, and then tosses her out of the family.

Dean Harrison, the boy who helped Aoife escape, the boy who died because of her. Calvin Daulton is Aoife’s best friend; he’s also a shape-shifting ghoul in love with Bethina, another of Aoife’s friends and the only servant still in Graystone Manor back in Iron Thorn, 1.

Dr. Grey Draven is the former Head of the City before Aoife takes him down in Nightmare Garden. Sadie does hate seeing someone in a bad situation.

Nikola Tesla constructed the first Gates from technology. Dr. Horatio Crawford of San Francisco, the Death Doctor, created a machine that could reach into the Deadlands. Chang is his assistant. Actually, I think he’s more the power behind this particular throne these days. Madame Xiang is a spiritualist who may help them. Fang is her hulking bodyguard.

The Deadlands
Ian Grayson is Aoife’s uncle, a Walker and a former enforcer; it’s through Ian that we learn what existence is life in the Deadlands. Ariadne, a.k.a., Miss Spider, is the monster in the Catacombs. The Yellow King controls the Deadlands. Nylarthotep is an Old One whom the others feared.

Crow is the king of dreams, and he may be Aoife’s only hope. The Great Old Ones are like gods, and they’re returning to Iron, now that Aoife has freed them, to sweep the world clean. They require a Gateminder to resurrect their ruined city, to make them whole again. And Aoife refuses. The Thorn Land is where the Fae live, where Queen Ocativa, Nerissa’s sister, rules the Winter Court, and Tremaine, its regent, torments. The Rationalists believe only in science and machinery; religion and magic are a virus, evil and the Proctors condemn any who show a hint of either. The Brotherhood of Iron simply wants to take the Proctors’ power for themselves; Harold Crosley, the head of the Brotherhood, is Valentina’s father and the most repulsive man with his own schemes and plans to seize power. In the Deadlands, a Walker is a soul that escaped the Catacombs.

The Cover and Title

The cover is in soft browns with a wild Aoithe in a sheepskin jacket in a barren, dead land while rusted and thorny wrought iron curls around itself and the title.

I’m guessing at the title, that it refers to a broken land and a Mirrored Shard is reflecting back onto Aoife.