Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Finished: December 18, 2011

Pages: 363

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Series: Iron Fey (#1)

Synopsis: Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined. Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Read the first chapter of The Iron King here.

Quote: “Those who have songs, ballads, and stories written about them never die. Belief, worship, imagination - we were born of the dreams and fears of mortals, and if we are remembered even in some small way, we will always exist.”

Thoughts: Where to start? I suppose I’ll just jump right in and say that the negatives in this novel outweighed the positives for me. I was hoping to branch out and read a book about faeries, and seeing this novel is so well received led me to purchasing this particular book. Why three stars then? Well, the faerie parts of the story were actually enjoyable to me. I really liked the world, some of the characters, and the ideas presented. Let’s talk about those first.

The novel dives right in and takes us to faerie land in a relatively short time frame, which is fortunate because life with Meghan at her home and high-school, wasn’t terribly interesting. This is because Meghan isn’t very interesting. Then we get to Nevernever! Yay! There are talking cats there; ice princes and sirens. I really enjoy Puck/Robin as a character, he and Grim (a talking cat), were definitely my favorites. They made me laugh out loud a few times. Also, the packrats! Fantastic. I think I got a little teary-eyed during some of their scenes.

I thought the land of Nevernever was well described. The concept of Summer Faeries and Winter Faeries was very cool as well. I also like the idea that technology taking over our world is having an effect on the Faerie realms. In fact, this concept played a big part in why I liked the book despite such a large part of it bothering me. Speaking of things bothering me…

Meghan, why do you trip and fall into Ash’s arms so much? Do we need to get you new shoes? Would you like to borrow a pair of my sneakers? Meghan’s random moments of cleverness did nothing to dissuade me from disliking her; not for more than a moment at least. In fact, they made her character seem almost inconsistent. Meghan’s main reaction to things was to scream and let the boys handle it. While I think there is a place for more… fragile… heroines in literature; they just aren’t for me.

Tying in with that is the huge case of InstaLove. I liked Ash as a character but his character would have been better served if he’d been given more interesting things to do than fall in love. The romance didn’t even seem to have any development. Some romances that happen Insta-ntly can still include some development after the fact. In this case, Meghan fell into his arms a few times and locked eyes with him, then next thing you know, they’re kissing! I guess you could say that this book also commits the Love Triangle offense, but I’m not going to call it a love triangle, since Puck clearly never had a chance. The moment Ash told Meghan he would kill her if the faery courts went to war, she was clearly putty in his badboydangeroustrope, hands.

The later editions of these books say on the cover “Fans of Twilight will love this!” or something of that nature, which makes me flinch, because I don’t want that for Grim and Puck. If I could take Alice and Jasper from Twilight, put them in Nevernever with Grim, Puck and the other interesting characters, I would do it. That’s a story I’d enjoy.

Recommendation: I’m going to continue with this series because the world and side characters meant enough to me to continue. I’ve also been told that Meghan develops a lot throughout the series. However, knowing my dislike of InstaLove and weaker heroines, I’m not sure I’d recommend this to someone who feels the same way about those things as I do, since it’s such a big thing in the story. Maybe this will change after I read the next books.


Three out of Five Coffees

The Iron King is on sale now in paperback. You can purchase it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, and other retailers. The second, third and fourth books have also been released. The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen and The Iron Knight.

Extras: Want to check out some other perspectives on The Iron King? Find other reviews at Gone with the Words and Narratively Speaking.

Looking for other books similar to this one? You might also like Firelight, Shiver and Daughter of Smoke and Bone. None of these are books centered around faeries however, since I believe this is my first, and the heroines have a bit more backbone than Meaghan.


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