⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 stars
When I finished reading IRON (yesterday at the time of this review), I just wanted to reread it ALL OVER AGAIN. What an absolutely captivating, amazing story this was!!! I can’t wait to ramble on to my heart’s content about it, so let’s dive right in, starting with one of my favorite parts of IRON, the characters!
I LOVE how Red is so fierce, blunt, assertive, and bold (truly a spitfire young detective!), but she’s also vulnerable and emotional, really a little girl at heart who longs to be unconditionally loved. I think everyone can find themselves relating to how she never feels enough, how she feels like a stain, like she’ll never fit in, never be good enough. Poor darling Red. hugs her Her spiritual arc was soooo good!!! Not only was it beautiful for the truths Red learned, but on the more technical side, it flowed naturally and didn’t feel forced at all.
Chamonix is so sweet and elegant, more ladylike than Red but with a certain stubborn, determined mettle of her own. I related with her a lot. And her poor lungs! I don’t often see character health problems like that in books, so it was interesting to see, and unique. It provided an unique aspect to the conflict involving her. Dear Char… she just wants to help. She’s so brave, in a gentle way. Oh, and not to mention, her name is lovely! (So is Redwyn!)
And I’ve got to say, Red and Char’s interactions are gold. They’re not afraid to be blunt with each other, in their own ways, Char sometimes catching onto Red’s sarcasm. And I laughed so hard at the reminiscing of the hilarious baby skunk escapade. As Carter says, “I could never aspire to such levels of sass and sarcasm. That area is Red’s expertise. Not mine.” No, but he’s blunt and adorable for it.
And speaking of Carter… I absolutely LOVE him! He is SO sweet!!! And Red was right when speaking teasingly to Char about him: he IS cute, no question about it. The perfect friend for Red! Like I was saying, he’s rather adorably blunt, yet in spite of his propensity for saying what he thinks, he’s not the type to stand up for himself at the cost of hurting others. He’s cautious, quiet. Char’s so right – he wasn’t sent to rescue, but to protect. That just melted me because it’s so true. There was a gentle strength to him that drew me in, and he never came across as wimpy, despite Red considering him a coward for not giving as good as he got from the evil Draymond and Antony. His problem of trust was heartbreaking, how he thinks no one is worthy of trust, not even the Beginning. That made his spiritual arc so satisfying, so impactful!
Some other characters I grew to love were Uncle Calvin and Aunt Isadora – such good parent figures! ❤ And Denton… even though I felt like I had to dislike him initially… I finally let myself like him. A lot. *grins* (And I briefly considered shipping him with *coughs* someone but nah, I don’t know if she would take so kindly to that. *winks* But who knows? *laughs to myself*) And Halda! The dear lady was so wise and imparted so much sage advice. Red needed her! And the character-I-shall-not-name-because-of-spoilers really sneaked his way into my heart. Redemption arcs always get me.
The wolfmen confused me at first as to whether they were actually wolves or men or a combination of both, but eventually I realized they were just men. (The fault is most likely on my end for that; I was reading quickly and probably failed to pay attention to that part.) But, like Halda said, they really are nice young men. 😀
Wow, this character section is long, but bear with me, as it’s always my favorite part of reviews! 😀 I just have to mention the villains. GUYS. These villains were no joke. Draymond and Antony and the whole lot of them. Oh my goodness, I hate them. And I have to say, I “liked” how the bad guys weren’t brainless and easily defeated. They were truly scary because they knew what they were doing, and they did pure, straight-up evil.
“Romantic love, she was finding out, was more than the giddiness and swooning. It was deep, abiding. Steadfast and loyal.” YES! And Carlin perfectly showed that through the love story in IRON! The romance was so sweet, pure, tender. I love how its foundation is built merely on good solid conversation, on getting to know each other, and just showing they care. And THE MEET CUTE! I laughed each time they… bumped into each other. I ship them so hard. I’ll admit, I’m usually disappointed if there’s not an “actual” kiss at least at the very end, but this was a rare case where the cheek/forehead kisses were perfectly enough to satisfy. And I mean that! The romance wasn’t the focus of the story, but it was definitely one of my favorite aspects about it.
And those who haven’t read this won’t get this yet, but I could NOT STOP LAUGHING at *that* part when Carter thinks he’ll die at the hands of King Calvin. Priceless.
*chef’s kiss* The writing style fit IRON so beautifully! Lovely choice of words, vivid, striking a good balance between flowery and simple. It’s not necessarily an easy read with very simple writing I could breeze through with distractions going on around me – I had to concentrate, but that’s not a bad thing. Plus, it’s so easy to get yourself swept away in the story. The style felt elegant and sophisticated in a way that I think added to the world of the characters (because that’s how most of them talked). I loved it. And Madi nailed each person’s character voice. She has a subtle, sophisticated sarcasm that makes me crack up, with hilarious exaggerations! 😀
I thought the worldbuilding was so well done; how each city/town/country has a distinct feature and reputation. And how Madisyn created unique phrases drawing from the culture she’d formed, too – that added such a level of realism to it! And the unique geography made the setting come alive for me!
The Cinderella retelling really came apparent in the middle half of the book, which I actually loved. Because of the brilliant twist on the original tale, it came across as rather subtle, but I believe most readers will quickly see the fairytale retelling aspect of it. The reason I didn’t quickly pick up on how the story related to the original Cinderella tale was because Carter, not a girl, acted as the Cinderella of the story. Apparently my brain was slow to put two and two together. *smh*
BUT THOSE CRAZY PLOT TWISTS. I CAN’T EVEN. Seriously, I was shocked many a time at the turn of events that took place. The climax practically kept my eyes glued to the screen as I read. It was SOOOO suspenseful and fast-paced and just ahhh!!! Incredible. Such a rollercoaster ride!!!
Such beautiful spiritual content, full of solid Biblical truths! I was encouraged, uplifted, strengthened, inspired – especially through how the characters eventually come to terms with their fears and struggles. I don’t know if it’s necessarily called an allegory, but the Beginning, the Scripts – that whole spiritual aspect was really well done.
The human trafficking content in this was handled very well. Honestly, it felt darker than it would have had there not been things like that going on in the world today. Something about it felt so real, so dark, so scary. And it needed to be that way! But anyway, that made the theme of how God allows evil to happen, but still holds us the whole way through those trials, so impactful. The author did a marvelous job.
I teared up, I got chills, I wheezed in laughter… this book has it all. I greatly look forward to reading more from Madisyn Carlin, along with daydreaming about the characters and concocting Red-worthy things to say. 😀 Go do yourself a favor and read it!
“No royal decree will ever stop evil.”
“Your fire is returning,” Halda said softly.
Heat crawled up Red’s cheeks. “I apologize for making a scene.”
“Never apologize for crying, dear child. We are given tears for a reason. I merely mean it is good having you back to your normal self.”
“The Beginning allows us to walk through the fire, but He is forever holding our hand through that fire.”
“Red, honey, you’ve been trying to walk through the fire using your own strength. We’re not meant to do that. You will fall and fail every time. The Beginning…He will never let you go. When you reach the bottom, He’s still there. Even when everything feels hopeless, take courage hope will always prevail because He is in control.”
Protection was preferable to obeying etiquette, and though Carter was chained and battered, he possessed a protector’s spirit. He’d do everything he could to safeguard them.
“There are many types of bravery and courage. Some are bolder, like Redwyn, and other are more subtle, like yourself. Neither type is more important and both are equally vital. One type rallies troops. The other touches individual hearts.”
Romantic love, she was finding out, was more than the giddiness and swooning. It was deep, abiding. Steadfast and loyal.
Disclosure: I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Genre: Christian Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling
Age: New Adult
Enforcing justice comes with a price.
Detective Redwyn “Red” Deathan will stop at nothing to uncover those behind the ruthless kidnappings of multiple children. But things are not as they seem, and Red’s efforts are thwarted at every turn. With each discovery the danger grows, putting Red and the lives of those she cares about at risk. Can she reveal the mastermind’s identity before she herself becomes a target?
What IRON Isn’t/Is
IRON – A Christian Fantasy Cinderella Retelling
What IRON isn’t.
1) A general market “clean” book.
2) A magical fairy tale retelling.
3) Light and fluffy.
4) YA (Young Adult).
What IRON is.
1) A Christian Fantasy.
3) Deep. Different from DECEIVED and not near as intense as SR, but still deep because it deals with human trafficking.
4) NA (New Adult).
5) A story with three (3) POVs in the organized, structural the author always follows
First Place Prize: An Autographed Paperback if winner is U.S. resident. If the winner is an international resident, then they win an ebook.
Second Place Prize: An Ebook in the reader’s choice of Mobi or epub.
Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bfce54d37/?
About the Author!
Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.
Want to connect? https://linktr.ee/madisyncarlin
IRON Release Tour Schedule
Monday, September 26
Tuesday, September 27
Wednesday, September 28
Thursday, September 29
Friday, September 30
Saturday, October 1
What’s your favorite kind of fictional character in books? Quiet, gentle types, or the bold, spitfire kind? Which are you more like? Have you yet read anything by Madisyn Carlin?