Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: The Iron King

Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Pages: 363
Read it in: 4 days
Source: The library

Summary: 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.

LC's Take

This book was amazing! Like, I can't even... wow. Just, wow. I totally LOVED it!

You know those books that you start reading, and before you know it, you are just completely and irretrievably being sucked into another world that is so wildly imaginative and intoxicating that you don't want to ever put it down or have it end?

Yeah, that pretty much describes The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.

Now, I have read a couple faery books in the past, neither of them doing all that much for me. Tithe by Holly Black was definitely an awesome book, but it was really dark and somehow lacked something for me. Wicked Lovely was utterly lost on me and made me want to stick needles in my eyes. But this book? Totally different story. Let's talk about why:

First of all, THANK YOU Julie, for writing an intelligent story about faeries that DOES NOT ASSUME that every one of your readers is some expert on faeries and faerie lore. This was my biggest beef with books like Wicked Lovely, because I had NO IDEA what the heck was going on! But The Iron King does an incredibly good job of explaining what's happening and why it's happening, without going overboard with the descriptions. This made it easy and enjoyable to read.

Second, the world-building in this story was fan-freaking-tastic. The fairyland of the Nevernever was vibrant, beautiful, dark and dangerous-- if you read this book, you will be completely sucked into the world of the fey and not want to ever come back! Really, really well done. I loved it. 

The plot started out kind of slow, but once it got going, it was impossible to stop reading. We begin in the human world with Meghan Chase, just a typical teenager who gets picked on a lot in school. Meghan starts seeing strange things at home and at school-- and then her little brother Ethan pretty much turns into a demon-possessed little monster, until she finds out that he has been kidnapped by faeries and replaced by a changeling!

Meghan was an awesome main character and it was never boring reading from her point of view. She was brave, determined, and never suffered from YA-Heroine-Whining-Syndrome. Thank God! She was easy to relate to, and at the same time you can see how she will develop into a strong leader in the next books.

When Meghan finds out from her friend Robbie-- AKA Robin Goodfellow, AKA Puck from A Midsummer's Night Dream-- that Ethan is now a prisoner in the Nevernever, Meghan is bound and determined to go find him and bring him back home. Along the way, she meets many new characters, each more imaginative and unique than the next. Grimalkin, the Cait Sithe? Freaking LOVED him! Grim is a cat-- well, a faery cat-- and he's just as cool as the Cheshire Cat from Alice and Wonderland. Seriously, all of the secondary characters in this book-- right down to the Pack-rats in Machina's territory, were incredible. They were all so real and alive, and had a sort of kooky flair to them that reminded me of a Tim Burton movie.

So anyways, as Meghan searches for her brother in the Nevernever, she soon learns that she is actually the half-daughter of the King of the Summer (Seelie) Court-- thus, she is immune to the effects of iron on faeries, yet she contains a very strong power within her that she must learn to control and use against the new threat to the Nevernever-- Machina, the Iron King and his realm that has been created by the ever-growing human world of science, technology and disbelief in all things magical...

Now let's talk about Ash. You may know from reading my reviews that I am a very hard sell when it comes to love interests in books-- I almost never like them! But Ash-- I don't know what it was about him-- I totally fell for him. Yes, he was the hard-to-get type, and very standoffish, but I really loved him. I think I almost cried towards the end, during that part in the cave... I am hoping that he and Meghan develop a closer relationship in the next books!

The ideas behind the plot of The Iron King were just so original and creative, while also reminding me of some of my favorite stories and movies. The world of the Nevernever was completely entrancing, and the characters were imaginative, vibrant and wonderfully memorable. It was clear that Julie Kagawa put a lot of thought into her story and how she would tell it, right down to the last detail. The emotion, the action, the chemistry, the descriptions, the dialog-- honestly, I don't have anything negative to say about this book and I cannot wait to read the next three in the Iron Fey Series. Julie Kagawa, you have brought back my faith in faery books!

LC's Rating:
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This book is a must-read! It was like a mix between Alice in Wonderland, Labyrinth (minus David Bowie), and a bunch of other fairy tale stories from when you were a kid. Totally AWESOME. You need to read this book if you haven't yet-- I am getting started on the rest of this series pronto!

14 comments:

  1. Oh, if only I had a lot of money... Dear Christmas, please hurry up. I want more books, especially The Iron King! :(

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  2. You have completely convinced me that I need to read this. I was interested already, but your review gives me the extra nudge I need to be certain. This will be one of the books I pick up this weekend.

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  3. I am SO happy that you liked this book! I agree one-hundred percent: Julie Kagawa is amazing, these books are perfection, and this series is probably one of the best faerie ones out there!

    Awesome review, Lea! :)

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  4. Great review! I have read the first two books, and loved the second book even more.

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  5. I didn't expect to like this at all but I really did!

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  6. Eeeep :) I love this series! I think it's by far one of my favorites. I just finished the newest one, Iron Knight, awhile ago and absolutely died it was so good. I'm glad you're finally reading! Great review :)

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  7. Reading Owl~ This is a great book to keep in mind for Christmas!! Make sure to tell Santa it's on your wish list! ;)

    Kathy~ Glad I am so convincing heehee... I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    Mimi~ Thanks, I'm glad you liked my review :) When you have a book that's this good, it's hard to not write a good review :)

    Mrs. Q~ If the second one is even better, I cannot WAIT to get started!!

    BooksForCompany~ I wasn't expecting it either, based on past experiences with faery books that didn't work for me-- I'm so glad I gave this one a chance though!

    Anna~ Me too! I'm a ways away from Iron Knight, but that's OK-- I will savor them :D

    Toyin~ Your welcome, this is sounding like it will be an awesome series

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  8. So, i love this series with all my heart. I love how you loved it too, i really think the book itself has a beautiful cover and is written really easy to read. but what you said about Wicked Lovely kinda got me down, i really liked it.

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  9. I’m so glad you loved this book! I love faerie books but haven’t been able to find many truly excellent ones. This is one of them, and if you haven’t read Wondrous Strange by Leslie Livingston, I’d say that’s worth a read too - it’s another favorite of mine. Anyway, everything you said is so spot-on - the characters, the world-building, just absolute genius.
    I’ve been putting off reading the second book, even though I’m dying to read it...I have this weird thing about putting off books I really want to read because you can only read a book for the first time once, and even though you can re-read it, there’s only the one first time. I don’t know if that even makes sense lol. Plus, with a series that’s still on-going like this one, if I zoom through them, I’ll have to wait for the next one and I hate waiting! I think I will finally suck it up and read the next one in October though for the paranormal reading challenge I’m hosting. I have book 1.5 - the in-between book - for my Kindle app on my comp, it's not a must-read, it's just a short novella between The Iron King and The Iron Daughter, but it's only $2.39 on Amazon, so if you haven't checked that out, you might want to. ;-)

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  10. I loved this book too! I won it and i read it right away well because for one the cover attracted me right away. Sometimes while reading i would stop and just stare at the cover for a few minutes lol! I really liked the three main characters. I probably am going to be shunned for saying this but i kind of wanted Meghan to be with Puck instead of Ash. Maybe i'll think differently when i read the rest of the books! Awesome reviews!

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  11. I can't believe you haven't reviewed the other books yet! They're amazing :D
    After I started the first one, I couldn't put any of them down. The last one is my favorite, which is funny because she never planned on writing it.

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  12. I just recently read this and was really surprised that it held my attention like it did. Like you I had little experience in faeries (or Shakespeare because he bores me) and I enjoyed how Julie Kagawa was able to elucidate without bashing us over the heads or info-dumping. I definitely feel more knowledgeable about the foundations of faery myths after it, which surprised me. Bonus? The heroine isn't an idiot! I look forward to reading the others in the series.

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  13. This review has re awaken my interest in this book. I think now I can go and finish reading it. I had sort of lost interest when I started to see the love triangle and how the that my guy my not get the girl but I guess I shouldn't have been so hasty. Thank you!!

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