Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, London

Ironhand is the second novel in Charlie Fletcher's fantastic trilogy, which began with Stoneheart. I've found myself reading more "young adult" novels recently. Surprisingly, many of these novels don't feel like they are lacking in comparison to adult novels in either pacing or plot. If they are missing a bit of the gratuitous sex, graphically detailed scenes of violence, and over the top profanity, I find it to be a welcome change. Ironhand is a furiously fast-paced adventure, with a maturity and depth that qualifies it to be enjoyed by readers both relatively young (I'd recommend at least 11 or 12 to be on the safe side) and old.

Ironhand begins almost immediately where Stoneheart left off. In a few short pages, George and Edie find that their situation has gone from bad to worse. George discovers that "the hard way," is exactly that. He must fight three duels, and running isn't an option as three corresponding stone slivers are slowly making their way from his hand to pierce his heart if he doesn't face the danger within the required time. Edie also finds herself fighting for her life, as she has captured the interest of the Walker, who wishes to make use of her skills of a glint and then dispose of her. Perhaps worst of all, the Gunner, who has served as George and Edie's self-appointed protector, has been taken by the Walker and imprisoned in a place form which their seems to be no escape. This is especially unfortunate as he will no longer be a living statue if he fails to return to his plinth before the turn of the day, and will become only a hunk of lifeless metal.

I had every intention of pacing myself through this read, but after a few pages I was hooked and rushed frantically to the end. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, so be sure to have Silvertongue, the third and final novel of the trilogy close by. I didn't, so I had to endure a few torturous weeks on the library hold list (it IS a recession, I can't buy all the books I want to read!). Fletcher is a great writer, and he proves it by avoiding the second book slump that so many writers of trilogies sometimes face. If anything, I enjoyed this book even more than the first in the series. I really enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it.
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