Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: February 1st 2010
Read the first 57 pages HERE!
As part of this week's crazy fun leading up to the release of The Iron Knight on the 25th, I elected to take on the entire Iron Fey series for the very first time.
So far, I am glad I did.
I'll admit, I was a little wary picking up The Iron King. I'm not entirely sure why, with all the rave reviews and crazy (in a good way) fans, but I was.
The Iron King is the story of Meghan Chase who, after learning that fey had replaced her four-year-old brother with a changeling, steals into the Nevernever (Faery-land) with her best friend, Robbie (who just so happens to be the Puck of legend), in search of him.
While there, Meghan learns new things about herself that she could never have imagined, and of a dangerous new breed of Faery threatening the land.
I've read other books that have involved fairies (notice the spelling change) before, and one of the things I liked about this book is that a lot of the old myths still rang true (for the majority of the Fey). It's not too often you see that anymore. When a character of mythical origins knows that humans of the modern age have pre-conceived notions about their kind, oftentimes you see them say at some point "Ha! And you actually believe that?" or "Yeah, when humans started saying stuff like that about us, we thought it a genius idea to let them believe those lies."
[Like in the first 7 seconds here (just hit play). They're hunting the "big bad wolf", so to speak]
I'm not saying I don't like seeing new spins on an old story, but sometimes it's refreshing to see someone sticking with the classics (like a vampire who actually sleeps in a coffin, drinks humans to death, and can be staked with a piece of wood).
One of the other things I liked was how the Nevernever was portrayed. The description and imagery Julie Kagawa used made this world seem so real and vibrant. I could see the beauty of the Summer-land the Seelie fey resided in, practically smell the crisp cold of Winter, and taste the copper-tinged smog of the Iron Kingdom.
Of course, this realness helped make the threats Meghan was facing all the more terrifying for the reader. For example (without giving away too much about the plot), Kagawa's Faeries travel about their world and ours using trods (or, pathways) which, in our world can be found anywhere there is a concentration of creativity. Like in the closet of a very imaginative four-year-old, for example (can you say prime candidate for having a changeling take its place?). You'd never know it, though, because naturally these fey that walk amongst us are all cloaked in glamour, so can look just like us or even be invisible to our eyes. How is that not scary? Especially when fey are rarely portrayed as very nice creatures (those little tricksters!).
Now, what review would be complete without something to complain about? As it seems to be with a lot of books I've read of late, the main issue(s) I have lie with the characters as well as their relationships.
Perhaps this example is merely a victim of a fast moving plot, or it might be a special circumstance or character trait, or even part of the larger picture, but for me, the development of Mehgan's and Ash's relationship seemed to be too fast. Or rather, it felt to me, that someone who thought of the other person as the enemy the whole time, gave in to his conflicting emotions too easily — that it wasn't much of a conflict at all.
Perhaps I'm picky, and perhaps I'm biased. I'll readily admit I have a tendency to love characters together who simply REFUSE to admit they are in love. For some awesome examples, look to L.J. Smith's Night World series. Ash (ironically) and Mary-Lynnette, John Quinn and Rachelle Jordan, Delos and Maggie — all of these had reasons not to readily give into their obvious love for each other, and all played out in single books, but the hot-cold emotional tug-of-war never seemed like it was lacking, which it felt like here. So, for me, major disappointment.
The Iron King (for which the book was named) was a bit of a disappointment, as well. He was a major cliche, though dressed in some very smart armor.
Muahaha! *steeples fingers together in a Mr. Burns-esque fasion* I did this so I can demand you become my queen and use the power I offer you as a selling point.
Yeah. Because I didn't see that one coming from a mile away. Isn't that, like, the evil king go-to?
Normally, I don't really care if I am able to figure things out before the end. In fact, I kind of love that "Aha! I got it right!" moment when I do. However, everything else in this book (excepting what I mentioned above, of course) seemed done so well, and was so well thought out, I guess I was expecting something a little more. This two-dimensional, evil villain with a curlicue mustache seemed like a cop-out.
Still, I did love this book, and I am eager to dig in to the rest of the series. I think its average rating of 4/5 [Crazy Hearts] on Goodreads suits it well.