Aoife is not your typical teenage girl. Not only does she live in an alternate 1950's, filled with a disease called the necrovirus and a crack-down on rational thought and reasoning, but both her mother and her brother have turned mad, leaving Aoife abandoned and orphaned. And not only that, but both Aoife's brother and mother went crazy when they reached their sixteenth birthday, leaving Aoife no doubt that her life as a Rationalist is ticking as the clock nears her own. As Aoife struggles to compete in the highly educational School of Engineers, she is surprised to find a letter find its way into her life one night, saying these words: HELP-Find the witch's alphabet. Save yourself. Aoife immediately recognizes the letter as her brother Conrad's, and worries that he might be in trouble, mad or not. Bringing along with her Cal, her best friend, and Dean, an irresistible guide, she travels to find her brother Conrad and unravel the truth about her impending madness and her family. The Iron Thorn was beautiful and eerie, reminding me of a very dark Tim Burton movie. The imagery was poetic and stormy, and the themes just plain creepy. I loved Caitlin Kittredge's style, and the astonishing surprises that were presented in the end of the book. The romance, though cheezy, was welcomed as well into The Iron Thorn. I'm excited for the next book in the Iron Codex, and can't wait to see what happens to Aoife next.