A Curse of Ash and Iron by Christine Norris

I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I had not heard of A Curse of Ash and Iron before I received the opportunity to review it, but I was extremely intrigued by the premise. This is a young adult novel written by Christine Norris.

As the story begins, we are introduced to Ben and Ellie. Despite the fact that Ben was the son of the cook in a grand home that Ellie lived in, the two were best friends of children. They were separated rather abruptly when Ellie’s stepmother fired Ben’s mother seven years earlier, but a chance meeting brings them together again. Ellie tells Ben a wild story about being enchanted by her stepmother and forced to work as a servant in her own home. Ben is a young man enamored with science and technology, and he finds the idea of magical enchantments to be absurd, but he agrees to help his old friend. As they explore the nature of the enchantment, they learn that if the curse is not broken by midnight on New Year’s Eve, the effects will become permanent, and Ellie will be bound to her stepmother forever.

The story is set in 1876 Philadelphia, and that was one of the aspects that attracted me to this story. I love novels set in the 19th century, and this book did not disappoint me. Ben’s love of technology is relevant because the world is on the brink of great discoveries; the telephone is a brand new invention, and talking to someone so far away seems almost magical. His curiosity proves to be an asset in their quest, as is his knack for tinkering. The 19th century setting also provides us with a glimpse into the world of debutantes and Society events.

A Curse of Ash and Iron is an amazing book. The addition of spells and enchantments provide a nice contrast to technology. It seems inconceivable that real magic can exist in the modern world, but appearances can be deceiving. There were some interesting twists that I did not see coming, but I think it might have been too predictable for the story to end a certain way.

I would absolutely recommend A Curse of Ash and Iron. This is a young adult novel that holds appeal to readers outside its target audience. This is an interesting version of the classic Cinderella story with an infusion of steampunk. I thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Christine Norris.

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