Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Mirrored Shard by Caitlin Kittredge

Title: The Mirrored Shard
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Pages: 304 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: ARC given to me by an awesome friend.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: author website

The Mirrored Shard (Iron Codex, #3) When Dean was shot and killed in the Arctic north, he was ripped not only from the Iron Lands but from Aoife Grayson's life. Aoife has sworn to bring her love back, even if she must face death to do it. But she can't get to the Deadlands on her own. And even if she can get there, her foe, Tremaine, will surely block her escape; it is his job to hold her in the Thorn Land, the faerie home of her mother, Nerissa.

Aoife has never shied away from a fight. She'll do whatever she must to get out of the Thorn Land and to the Deadlands. But to rescue Dean, she must also face the other catastrophe that took place in the north. She must stop the apocalyptic chain of events she set in motion when she opened the Gate to the nightmare realm. Because if she doesn't, there will be no world to bring Dean back to.


And so the Iron Codex series come to a close, just as frustrating at its end as it was at its beginning. Though it manages to improve on the other two books writingwise by cutting down on the bloated prose significantly, other issues developed that put it at the same general level of well-written as I'd put The Iron Thorn and The Nightmare Garden. That is to say, they have great potential but waste a lot of it.

The Mirrored Shard is significantly shorter than the other two books in the series; the first book was nearly 500 pages and the second was over 400, but this one is just over 300 pages long. Because of this, it doesn't feel bloated and overwritten like the others did. The pacing is also streamlined to keep readers hooked from beginning to end. I've been asking for this to happen for two very long books and I got what I wanted.

But as soon as that problem was solved, others came up. The priorities of the plot lines seem a little off. Bringing Dean back to life is the main plot, with stopping the Old Ones from destroying the world coming in second and the faeries--especially Tremaine, who is mentioned in the jacket copy--bringing Aoife back at a very distant third. The third plot line doesn't show up until the very end of the novel. Really, stopping the apocalypse and staying free of the terrifying denizens of the Thorn Land seem more important than bringing a love interest back to life. Dead is dead. It would have been better for Aoife's character to move on and deal with his death rather than cling to hopes he could come back.

And then. AND THEN. After charging through the entire book naively believing she can do the impossible thing she's trying to do and being told by everyone that what she's trying to do is impossible,  Aoife realizes all the people telling her she's being a child unwilling to accept the horrible thing that happened are right. She grew up. I felt like a proud mother watching her child become an adult.

Then she gets what she wants anyway and the growth she achieved, along with the point the book was trying to make, are rendered null and void. Hair was ripped from my head faster than one could eat a cherry. The series has an open ending that leaves room for more should Kittredge decides she wants to write more in this universe, and I rather like how it all ended, but Aoife's growth and then regression just about made me throw the book at the wall.

Kittredge is like a drug to me. She's bad for me because her characters, their choices, and the story arcs frustrate me so, but there is enough good in them that quitting is difficult. I'll keep an eye out for any other books she publishes in the future, especially YA novels.

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black