Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: The Iron King

THE IRON KING (Iron Fey #1)
Julie Kagawa

Young Adult

363 pages

Harlequin Teen
Available Now


It's the day before Meghan Chase's long-awaited sixteenth birthday. The day she can finally get a driver's license and escape the backwoods swamp she lives in with her mother, half brother and stepfather. She wants nothing more than the freedom to become part of the real world. A world that embraces cell phones, computers that don't rely on dial-up, and transportation other than a bus.

But Meghan's birthday signifies more than just being a heartbeat closer to that wished-for freedom, it also signifies the beginning of a latent destiny. Flashes of unusual creatures, quick glimpses of inhuman faces on familiar people, and a little brother's insistence of a supernatural being in his closet all make Meghan question her grasp on reality.

It's not until her young brother goes missing that Meghan realizes the home that was once so commonplace actually masks the strange, mythical world of the fey, and she must immerse herself in that which is foreign and unbelievable in order to bring him home. Bizarre creatures and environments flourish as Meghan and best friend Puck navigate through the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, with the reluctant help of fae prince Ash, to find Ethan and perhaps save the Nevernever from a new and sinister foe.


This is a very interesting read. I will say that I had some trouble with the world building at first, finding the lack of definable boundaries hard to navigate. I know that sounds strange since the majority of the books I read are supernatural or paranormal, thereby existing outside definition by nature, but of late most of those novels have been set in the human world where I understand the parameters. Sure vampires and Weres run amuck and faeries tempt humans with their beauty and charm, but all of those creatures exist for the most part in our world, where they either seek refuge or just wish to live among humans. The mythology is familiar to me, though it can at times deviate from previously established notions of such creatures.

Ms. Kagawa's world has no such recognizable guidelines, and that took some adjustment on my part. Once I delved into her world and adapted to the fact that truly anything can happen in this imaginative place, I came to thoroughly enjoy the story.

Meghan and Puck have a fun and easy-going relationship. He often gets exasperated at her lack of understanding when it comes to anything fey, and she frequently finds herself in debt to a number of creatures for making a deal or just saying "thank you". Puck is fiercely protective of Meghan, and there are hints at a potential romance though Meghan is quickly distracted by the appearance of Ash.

Ash is utterly uninterested in aiding Meghan and would instead prefer to rid himself of her in a more permanent fashion save for the fact that her lineage prevents him from doing so. He is cold and closed off, much befitting a prince of the Winter Court, but every once in a while we get a little glimpse of a thaw that betrays his outward lack of interest. Though he begins to warm to Meghan, it's still very difficult to read his true intentions in regards to her well being. Does he really care for her, or does he intend to carry out his original agenda and deliver her to the Unseelie Court? Such questions make their relationship very interesting indeed.

I truly can't say enough about the creativity of Ms. Kagawa. Unusual creatures pop up at every turn, impossibilities become the norm, and the new race of iron fey redefine all previous faery folklore. And yet through all the artistry, we are anchored by the emotions and relationships between Meghan, Puck and Ash.

A fun and truly entertaining story for anyone looking to escape reality for a little while.

Rating 4/5


  1. I think I'm one of the few people who haven't read this series yet. I must get on it!!

  2. *Raises hand*

    I haven't yet either, yet I always pick it up as a maybe on my bookstore jaunts.

    (Now I probably should!)

  3. I haven't read it either! I really have to, though. It's not my usual kind of book, but I don't think I've read a negative opinion of it yet. Excellent review!

  4. oh wow, VERY good point about the world-building and world guidelines. I totally agree with you, but I struggled to put the SAME CONCEPT into words on my review. It was a good story, definitely, but it just felt kind of off. And that's why.
    Great review!

  5. I have yet to still read this book, but I've heard nothing but fabulous things about it. Will definitely be getting this one soon!

  6. I can't wait to read this! Great review :)

  7. While I liked this book, I enjoyed the second in the series (The Iron Daughter) much more :)

  8. Thank you for writing such a detailed, thought-out review! The Iron King has been on my to-read list for quite some time now. I think I'm really going to need to read it soon!

  9. I really enjoyed all your reviews on these fantastic "The Iron Fey" series (I read your The Iron Queen review at AMAZON). I love that you love these books as much as I do. But, you haven't mention anything about Winter's Passage (Novella). It's a 1.5 book. A novella between book 1 and book 2. Ash and Megan's trip to Tir Na Nog. You can download it for free (if you haven't heard about it)at I thought I'd share. I didn't want you to miss out. :D