Friday, September 30, 2011

Review - The Iron King (Iron Fey #1), by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)

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.
(From GoodReads)
My Review

For as long as I've been on GoodReads, Twitter and blogging, I've been hearing a constant phrase: "You haven't read The Iron Fey? You must read it NOW!" Author Julie Kagawa's fans are a loyal bunch. They love their Puck, Ash and Meghan. And you can now add me to that rabid group of readers.

I've read my fair share of faerie books. And I really like them. But, I think I was hesitant to start a new series because I was afraid of burnout and disappointment. You know, that feeling you get when you start a new book, only to discover you basically just read that same book, only with a different name.

Crises averted. Kagawa took the fae legends and gave it her own tweaks. The imagery given is vivid, almost alive. When Meghan steps into Nevernever, the descriptions Kagawa gives put me in mind of The Wizard of Oz. That magical moment when Dorothy steps out of her black-and-white world into Technicolor Oz. Just magical! Life in Nevernever is not all flowers and sunshine, though. The other side, the land ruled by Mab is frozen and icy and in it's own, different way beautiful. The creatures of Nevernever are appropriately violent and scary. Full of creatures such as goblins, ogres, trolls, red-caps. They all want a bite out of Meghan.

 But here's the main thing Kagawa did right. She made the fey world the basis on which major works of art were inspired. Such as "A Midsummer Night's Dream". I loved the way she incorporated aspects of that famous play into her own story, the characters of the play based on her fae characters. When I realized this, I then began to read The Iron King in a whole new light, sludging through my high school memories of the play, gleaning comparisons. If your a literature geek like me (I've read The Iliad and The Odyssey for fun), well then you know that's tons 'o fun!
Another aspect Kagawa nailed? Grimalkin, the talking, disappearing cat. He took The Iron King to a whole new level of fun for me. He was exactly how you would expect your cat to be. If your cat you

In fact, I enjoyed all of the characters. Meghan's real-world life is so sucky that you have to like her. Nobody ever seems to notice her. She's made fun of for her clothes and living on a pig farm. She's an after-thought to her mom and step-father. The only thing going for her is her friendship with loyal, feisty Robbie. Going with Meghan on her journey of family and self-discovery is a treat.

The two Fey men accompanying Meghan are Puck and Ash. Both of these awesome guys have devoted, fierce fans. Puck's fans made a nice showing in this summer's YA Crush Tourney. And Ash's fans powered him through to the semi-finals. He beat Dimitri Belikov from the Vampire Academy series. Dimitri! The only dude who could take him down was Jace from The Mortal Instruments. That is saying something. Anyway, Ash is cold and aloof and beautiful. He is a knight bound to an evil queen, who happens to be his mother.  Cue the dramatic music!

I know most swoon over Ash, myself included. But I happen to have a soft spot for Puck. He is such a treat to read. He (and Grimalkin, of course) always have the best, funniest lines. He's wry, funny and doggedly loyal to Meghan. He also has a soft side. His endless battle with Ash, and the reason behind it, is a great source of pain to Puck.

Even if Meghan manages to complete her journey (no spoilers here), life will surely never be the same for her, or her family. I can't wait to take the next step with Meghan and her lovely band of friends in the next book in the series, The Iron Daughter.
Favorite Quote:

"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."

"I licked my lips and whispered, 'Is this where you say you'll kill me?'
 One corner of his lip curled. 'If you like,' he murmured, a flicker of amusement finally crossing his
 face. 'Though it's gotten far too interesting for that.' "

The Iron King Trailer

Paperback, 363 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Harlequin Teen            
Find The Iron King at:
* The Iron King is a book I purchased myself. *           


  1. I've been putting this series off as well. I actually had a bad experience with a fey book and I'm scared this one will be the same haha. It sounds like it's a safe bet that it wont though. I should get to it soon. I did buy book 1-3 on a whim...

    Xpresso Reads

  2. Giselle,
    Now I'm very curious about what you had a bad experience with! I hope you enjoy The Iron King!

  3. Lol of course we beat Dimitri ;) but seriously I am so happy you finally started this series now we can gush about it! Go read Iron Daughter now!! ;)


  4. Beating Dimitri certainly got my attention, b/c I love him! I am starting The Iron Daughter this weekend, hopefully.

  5. This is a fabulous review of my one of favorite YA novels! You've hit the nail on the head. I'm a huge fan of both Puck and Ash (& Glitch, but he's in a later book), and they totally deserved how far they both got in the Crush Tourney this year.

    Get on with reading the rest of the books! They only get BETTER from here...

  6. Oh my goodness, so glad your reading these.. I love this series.. I'm all about Ash.. Puck is okay.. but Ash.. *sigh*

    I'm glad you mention her descriptions.. that's one of my fav thing about this series.. she really makes you feel like your there, and the world she has created is so beautiful..

    I really loved this book, and they get even better. I'm dying for The Iron Knight. :)

  7. Cathy,

    Oh my gosh! I did love Ash & Puck. The YA Crush Tourney really put them on the map. It certainly got my attention.
    Thanks so much for stopping by & commenting!

  8. April,

    I can't believe I haven't read these before now.

    I know everyone loves Ash. He's gonna have to warm up (ha ha) some before I can be fully on board.

    Lucky me, I won The Iron Knight during the YA Crush Tourney!

  9. I highly recommend this book. The world created is wonderful, descriptive and vivid. The story is engaging. Those who like faeries are sure to like this book, along with those who like romance and love triangles. This is a fun book that is easy to read and transports you easily into its world.

  10. I have heard nothing but praise for this book. I think Julie and I were in the same critique group several years ago at a writing conference. We live in the same local area and I've been trying to get ahold of her for an interview (I do a column on local writers) but she is totally busy, as you might expect! Always an inspiration to see someone turning the fairy genre on its ear.


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