Title: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: 1st February 2010
It’s official. Faeries hate me. Apparently even more than other humans. I mean, torture us and keep us as pets and kill us, but can you please make me like reading about you? (To any faeries reading this, I’m kidding. OK? I’m a stupid human, I’m not worth your time!)
When people talk about birthday surprises, they don’t mean finding out that faeries exist, that your brother has been swapped for a changeling or that you must enter the Nevernever if you insist on rescuing said brother. Yet for Meghan Chase, this is exactly what happens. Somehow she must travel through the faery realm and survive the journey if she has any hope of saving Ethan and getting them both back safely to the mortal world. That’s easier said than done, however, especially when there’s three faery courts after her – Summer, Winter, and the third court, whose very existence has remained secret until now...
I must commend Kagawa on her world-building. She has that wonderful ability to paint a very clear picture, taking into account details rather than simply giving us a general image. She knows exactly what this world looks like and she ensures the reader does too. In that sense, it really was as though I was right there in the Nevernever. I enjoyed seeing all the variety of fey there was and thought the idea of the Iron Court and how it came into existence fantastically original. I always love it when an author can add a new twist on something you were pretty sure you knew a lot about.
But. Unfortunately, my hopes that this would make me like reading about faeries fell flat. I know there are people out there who didn’t like them either and then had their opinion revised with this book, and I find it quite disappointing that I can’t say I’m one of them. After a while I grew weary of the plot and by the last fifth I was skimming just so I could get to the end.
Meghan, as a protagonist, didn’t cut it for me. I admired her determination to rescue her brother, but other than that she failed to impress me. She was persistent in one thing, and that was screaming. In every situation, whenever there was the slightest bit of trouble, that’s what I’d catch her doing. If someone had come up to her and said ‘boo’, I have no doubt she would have screamed. She also seemed particularly adept at failing to hide, even when clearly warned. As for her decisions, well. I could only stare in disbelief at how rashly she acted; she never stopped to think. I can recall only one instance when I gave a nod of approval at her forethought.
I liked the love interests, though I didn’t love them. Puck perhaps I felt a glimmer of something for a couple of times, but it never developed into a full-fledged swoon. I loved his humour and the way he was frank with Meghan, and I felt sorry that she was blind to his feelings. I hoped he would make an appearance again at the very end, but sadly that was another hope left disappointed. Ash was great in a fight and despite his motives, he was incredibly strong to continue as he did on the way to the Iron Court. It was he who stopped Meghan from making another mistake at the end.
Despite my pretty negative review, this wasn’t all bad. My three stars exist because of the fabulous world-building and the whole idea of and backstory to the Iron Court. Ash and Puck were decent characters, and I have to say Grimalkin was a favourite. He reminded me very much of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. Oddly enough I also had a soft spot for the pack rats, metal rodents that collect metal junk. They were cute, OK? Unfortunately however, The Iron King is another case of me failing to become part of the hype. I will still be reading the next one though, because I’m quite curious to see what happens next after that ending.
Uhh, I’m gonna finish here. I think I see faeries coming my way (yeah, I have the Sight. Go me!).