Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Title: The Nightmare Garden
Publication: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 432 pp.
Audience: 12 and up
Rating: 3 out 5
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
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Thoughts: This was an okay read. There seems to be a theme for taking the fairy world and adding an iron twist. As I was reading, I was reminded of Kagawa's Iron Fey series. However, Kittredge has taken it to another level by implementing a dystopian, steam punk feel to this work. In the previous book, Aoife has destroyed the home that she once knew and now is on the run from those that want to use her for personal gain. Aoife is a frustrating, stubborn and strong-willed character, who is easily tricked into doing things. Apparently, she didn't learn her lesson from the last book and should think harder before making rash decisions. My favorite character in this story is surprisingly one of the villains, Tremaine, devious and crafty; he is always one step ahead of Aoife. No matter how many times she thinks she has thwarted his plans, he just switches his angle and comes up with a new avenue that is a satisfactory channel to getting closer to what he desires. Have to love a cunning and calculating villain.
In this book, the major problem that Aoife must face is finding the nightmare clock in order to reverse the mess she has made and to find the mother she left behind. She is willing to do anything to make this happen and this is where she messes up. There is always a consequence and Aoife may just end up paying more than she bargained for. The pace was faster than the first book but still slow. Aoife is a hard to character to connect with as she is so misguided, naive and impulsively focused on the end rather than the individual steps to get to that point.
The characters and plot are more fleshed out but I still feel like that spark is missing to truly ignite a magical connection for me. It’s a good story, though; Kittredge has done a fantastic job of creating this world, which makes it visually appealing in the minds’ eye. I wasn't prepared for that ending, interesting surprise! This book gives a better understanding of what or better yet who Aoife is but the questions still remains…what is her purpose?