Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King

Author: Julie Kagawa

Series: The Iron Fey #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Mira Books

Summary (from Goodreads)

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.

What’s Good About It

I loved the vision of the Faery world – enticing and magical but dangerous at the same time. Seeing some faeries that are as they were traditionally – baby stealers, fighters and tricksters – is really great, particularly with the ‘softly softly’ approach some YA books take to the paranormal. Meghan was often in real danger, and the book was all the more exciting and page turning for it. There are so many different species of fey mentioned, but each one really leaps out of the page at you – a testament to Julie Kagawa’s extensive knowledge of all things faery.

I liked Robbie, Meghan and Ash as characters, though Meghan took a while to grow on me, and Ash was a little bland at times; it was their chemistry together that made them work so well. The book was best when all three were travelling together, made even better if Grimaulkin was about with a snarky comment or two.

The Iron Fey were a truly menacing enemy as well, born of the electronic dreams of mankind. It’s the sort of book I’d love to see a film of, because I think the image of the dumpsite full of technology brought to life would look amazingly sinister and beautiful.

I also loved the faery bargins, and how even though they may come to regret the bargin, the fey still have to carry them out, as with swearing to do something. The idea that words can’t be taken back sets up some really interesting conflict that is hopefully explored in the next installments.

What’s Not So Good

A bit slow to start. I’m not a fan of the ‘bullied outsider’ teenage sob story. Meghan was much more interesting as soon as she stopped feeling sorry for herself and went to save her brother. The beginning was necessary in a sense, I just think it could have done with being shorter. The foreshadowing with Robbie was a bit too blatant and Meghan’s ‘plight’ of being forgotten by everyone, while at first a cause for empathy, quickly became a bore.

Once all that was out of the way, there was little I could fault, aside the aforementioned Ash being bland thing – which was largely on account of him not doing much beyond brooding. I’m all for mysterious, but sometimes the bad boys try a little bit too hard, in my opinion.

Rating: 4/5

Note: This review is part of the 2011 Debut Author challenge. This book debuts in the UK on 21st January.


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