Caitlin Kitteridge: The Nightmare Garden (Book 2)

Everything Aoife thought she knew about the world was a lie. There is no Necrovirus. And Aoife isn’t going to succumb to madness because of a latent strain—she will lose her faculties because she is allergic to iron. Aoife isn’t human. She is a changeling—half human and half from the land of Thorn. And time is running out for her.
When Aoife destroyed the Lovecraft engine she released the monsters from the Thorn Lands into the Iron Lands and now she must find a way to seal the gates and reverse the destruction she’s ravaged on the world that’s about to poison her.
Hardcover, 417 pages Published February 14th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN  0385738315 (ISBN13: 9780385738316)

In the first book The Iron Thorn, Aoife destroyed the Lovecraft engine, setting war about all the lands. The gates that have always been closed, have been opened and creatures have set an all-out war amongst each other. Aoife is taken to the Mist lands to stay safe from the danger with her brother and friends, but soon finds that even they are not welcomed there. The more the portals are opened, the easier the Proctors can find them. Aoife cannot fall into the hands of the Proctors because it just may mean death for her, her friends and her family.
Aoife knows that she is the only one who can save their world, by setting all the things right, but everybody is advising Aoife that what is done is done. They must fight and make due with what has happened. When Aoife gets the opportunity to be with her father again, she is more unhappy than ever and has to be true to herself. The Proctors soon get to her, and use her for their own advantage, with the threat of keeping her boyfriend jailed until she completes her tasks. But all Aoife can think about is finding her mother, to see if the the rumors of the Clock are true. And to do that, she must betray her father, her family and head out on her own.
What we have come to know about Aoife in The Iron Thorn is challenged a bit in the beginning of The Nightmare Garden. The once strong, determined and very stubborn Aoife becomes more timid when confronted by her father – a man she has not seen since she was a child. She is confronted with those emotions of being abandoned by him and his newly formed authority over her. But this doesn’t last for long. Aoife could not have gotten as far as she has in her travels, without the tenacity that we have come to know and love in her.
Aoife has to experience a lot of sad, hard times in this novel. It is heartbreak after heartbreak and each time she is having to force through another blockade she grows stronger and harder than ever. She is one of my absolute favourite heroines. A girl that doesn’t know what it’s like to have it easy. She spends her whole life knowing that she is going to become crazy or contract her “weird” as they refer to it in this book. But unlike the stories of the weird she has heard about, she overcomes and learns to wield it, magically. She becomes stronger and pushes harder.
There is a lot of travelling in this series and each new land brings a whole new dark, mystical adventure. The descriptions of the mists/ether/ open starry skied lands are completely mind blowing and visually engrossing.  I loved every minute of the book. It’s going to get you thinking, especially the ending, about what kind of repercussions the actions of one world can have on all the others. I cannot wait to read the next installment.

*This review was originally written for and posted on


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