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Publisher's Summary

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

©2011 Caitlin Kittredge (P)2011 Listening Library

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Mary Sue and Friends Go Amok

Would you try another book from Caitlin Kittredge and/or Katie MacNichol?

Not from Kittredge. It was like listening to a 14 year old's fan fiction. The narrator was good.

What could Caitlin Kittredge have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

She could have learned how to write a cohesive story with relatable, believable, rounded characters. The world-building ideas were interesting, but there was WAYYYY too much going on - Kittredge went buck wild and invested in far too many themes - steam punk, faery, magic, zombies, dystopian world, etc.

The main character was a total Mary Sue, and utterly unlikeable. For example, she is the only female character in the story who the author presents as intelligent/worthwhile/talented (though her actions throughout the story say otherwise - she makes some dumb ass decisions for a supposed amazing genius superwoman), while all other female characters are described as vapid idiots.

What does Katie MacNichol bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She was a good narrator. No problems with her narration, just the drivel she had to narrate.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Uneven characterization, fantastic world-building

This is very much a coming-of-age story in which a smart and determined heroine learns the hard truth that wits and stubbornness often fail against experience and information. That part I like. Aoife fails quite a bit in ways that help illuminate her weaknesses, as should happen in any good coming-of-age tale.

The world-building is also spectacular.

The book has two big weaknesses, though. The biggest is the amount of telling as opposed to showing in Aoife's relationships with her brother, Conrad, and her best friend, Cal. She keeps telling us how supportive and wonderful they are, but Cal spends most of the book being dismissive and chauvinistic, and Conrad only shows up a few times to chastise her for her foolishness. The glaring discrepancy makes it hard to take Aoife's judgment about people seriously.

It also feeds into the other problem and makes it much worse. Aoife has a bad habit of talking about things girls aren't allowed to do, and not in an "I'm going to prove them wrong" way. She meekly accepts that she's "just a girl" most of the time, raising the question of how she got the courage to try to become an engineer in the first place. The slightest bit of opposition seems to send her into a tailspin of self-doubt. Reasonable for an adolescent girl who has spent her life being told she isn't as rational or smart as a boy, maybe, but inconsistent with the things she's accomplished.

Even so, I like this book a lot for the world-buliding and because I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories.