Review: Iron Cast, Destiny Soria

Oh friends, I needed this book so much. Iron Cast is a YA alternate history novel about two best friends who can do illegal magic and have fallen in with a gangster club on the eve of Prohibition. I liked it a ton, and it cheered me right the hell up in a week where I was feeling hopeless.

Iron Cast

Ada and Corinne are hemopaths: Corinne can create completely believable illusions by reciting poetry, while Ada can induce strong emotions with her music. They work for the gangster Johnny Dervish of the Cast Iron club, where they perform for crowds of regs (non-hemopaths) at night, carry off cons during the day, and receive shelter from the special forces that hunt hemopaths and carry them off to Havisham Asylum. Until Johnny Dervish is murdered.

If you liked The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, I feel good about recommending Iron Cast to you. At its heart is the friendship between these two girls, the quiet, practical Ada and the fierce, stubborn Corinne. Possibly my favorite thing about Iron Cast is the absolute confidence Corinne and Ada each felt in their friendship. Though they both have love interests, the stories begins and ends with their friendship. They are also both powerful hemopaths — we don’t realize exactly how powerful right at first — and it’s so much fun to see how their trust plays into the ways that they work together to Get Shit Done.

As far as I can tell, Iron Cast is a one-and-done, but I’d love to see more in this world. Soria has a knack for character, such that I’d gladly read a book about virtually any of the supporting characters. Even when we see very little of them, the characters clearly had lives and interests of their own, from the queer shapeshifter who runs a low-budget theater to Corinne’s wealthy brother making a politically advantageous marriage. It was to the point that when I realized how fully Iron Cast was wrapping up its plot, I was kind of disappointed. I wanted sequels, dammit! But I guess companion novels would be okay too.

All in all, an extremely fun YA fantasy novel with lots of adventures and lies and female friendships for you to sink your metaphorical teeth into.

  • I will have to look for this one! I was just thinking yesterday about how the book I’m reading now, which came highly recommended by a close friend, is way too bleak for my current mood.

  • Jeanne

    I’m putting this on my library list. I’ve been checking out all sorts of books I wouldn’t ordinarily bother with, looking for escapism.

    • I thought of you when I was reading it — I couldn’t decide if it would work for you, but I was thinking, mm, I bet this would be a fun escapist read for Jeanne (and also Jill from Rhapsody in Books, but she reads a lot of YA so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch).

  • Akilah

    Okay, so now that I know their magic is tied to LITERATURE (and music, sure okay), I am way more interested in this novel.

  • You convinced me! (Not that it takes much when I hear that magic is involved.) 😉

  • etudesque

    This book sounds FANTASTIC – and I especially love reading about magic and the 20s! Can’t wait to read it!

  • bookgazing

    Ugh, I loved this and I wish she would write a hundred more books. It also reminded me a lot of Alaya Dawn Johnson’s (sadly cut short) Zephyr Hollis novels (just because of setting) & how much I liked them.

    • Ooh, okay, question: Should I read the Zephyr Hollis novels even though they are cut short? Or should I spare myself the heartbreak?

  • CoolCurry

    I loved this one too! I can’t wait for whatever she writes next. 🙂

  • You had me at prohibition and magic

    • I KNOW RIGHT? I’m dearly hoping she writes a sequel dealing with the fallout of Prohibition. I love this world!

  • Did I tell you I asked my library to buy this after you gushed about it on Twitter, and they did? Because that’s a thing that made me really, really happy.

    • Awww, you did tell me and I was thrilled. I am happy for you and for the other people of your area who will now have access to this terrific book.

  • Stefanie@SoManyBooks

    This does sound like a fun book. I like that poetry is used to make magic! And about that nuclear winter, at least it will solve global warming 😉

    • HA HA SOB WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE but anyway, yeah, you can read this book in advance of our total destruction. It’s super fun and great.

  • Rachel

    This book is on my TBR pile as well. I’m glad you enjoyed it. The concept seems fresh and unique, so I can’r wait to read it!

  • Hurrah for cheering-up books! Writing about Diana Wynne Jones did that for me this week, even without actually rereading all the books (though I really want to read Homeward Bounders asap).

  • I’m glad you found a book that cheered you up! I’ve been reading less than I’d like, but I’ve had some great luck with the books I’ve picked up. And your keywords made me laugh, as is so often the case 🙂

  • Okay, yes, need to read this (I bought it a while back but didn’t dive in immediately, which is my Achilles’ heel).