Friday, April 27, 2012

Review - The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Paperback, 363 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Harlequin Teen
E-copy on my Nook
My Rating: 4

Premise: Ganked 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.
My Review:

This story grew on me.

The entire first half was mostly confusing and frustrating. Meghan was confused and frustrated. The fae were completely freaky and unusual. The wildwood was frightening. Her friend, Puck, changing from who she always knew into one of the oldest faeries in existence who smiled eerily… was hard to swallow. 

Honestly, I held a grudge against Robin Longfellow until he demanded pity instead.

PhotobucketSomeone asked if I was “Team Ash” or “Team Puck” in that first half and I had to say enthusiastically that I was NOT “Team Puck” by long-shot, even though I had no reason to think “Team Ash”, yet, either.

It might have bothered me because it was so realistic. Any human leaping into Nevernever would be completely off balance. Every little turn would feel dangerous. I guess that was described well. So well, in fact, that I wanted out!!!

And then the claws of the story started to dig into me, demanding my attention and interest and not letting go! I didn’t notice it was happening until I couldn’t put the book down, which caught me by surprise.

The difference was Meghan. She is intelligent and brave. She watched how the faery world functioned, started guarding her mouth, got herself into less trouble and managed some difficult circumstances without whining and complaining. 

I think the turning point for me was when Meghan busied herself as a slave in the kitchen. (I think I can say that without being spoilerish.) I expected her to give up in exasperation of all the things going wrong. The situation was so decidedly against her favor and even the small choices left to her were taken away. Instead of throwing any sort of fussy-fit, she buckled down and worked hard. She kept her sanity and when the time came to act, she moved definitively.  The author won me as a fan during that lull before the Elysium, when the Unseelie Court came to Oberon’s territory in an uneasy truce of a feast:
“All right, I told myself, taking a deep breath. They’re still out there, Meghan. Ethan and your dad. You can’t give up now. Time to stop being a crybaby and get your act together.Lying back on the cold floor, I closed my eyes and started to plan.”
Meghan believes in herself even when the circumstances are against her and everyone thinks she’ll get herself killed. Since she believed she could do it, she started figuring out how to negotiate with faeries faery-style, she began earning their respect, and coordinating her rescue mission. Each of her successes carries her through the mounting difficulties, so the grand finale is deliciously believable.

The very last scene is my favorite, and I don’t know how I’m not reading the next book TOMORROW!! Meghan has so many layers and she is so true to herself on every level. I love the way she accepts them all and the consequences along with them, again without any fussing.

En fin, I went from mentally strangling this book and all things fae, to tripping over my feet to fangirl over Meghan. I will read the next book as soon as I can regardless of what’s “next” in my TBR pile. And I’ll definitely re-read some day to relive the entirety from a fangirling point of view. I wonder if the first half would still be frustrating after knowing that Meghan won’t wilt under the pressure? I kind of think that perspective changes everything. *sigh*  Yay for Meghan!!!  And Yay for Puck! And double-whammy yay for Ash!!!!!!!!  And grudgingly yay for that cait sith!!

The Faery Party of last Saturday was inspired by this book!!!  :-D

One more (late-added) note:

PhotobucketI notice that I don't mention much about the other characters in the book as I flip out over Meghan. My own review cracks me up... but that's why I write 'em immediately after reviewing.  It's worth noting that Ash & Puck & Grim are all budding characters promising so much more in the books to come. I was sad over Meghan's mom and brother... and dad and dad and stepdad. But they're real people, like the school kids, and I don't mind being sad or irritated over them, hungry for more information on 'em.  I think I covered Nevernever enough... it's growing on me, and that's the nicest thing I can say about it. There's tons of fae creatures coming and going and I'm intrigued by them all, in awe over the variety. It's no wonder this is a popular series. I feel justified in my sudden fan-obsession. I'm in good company!!!

Cover Commentary:  Um, Yeppers. Beautiful, mysterious, woodsy. The title didn't explain itself for a long time and I'm still furiously curious over why this is called the "Iron Fey" series... not obvious, yet.

I'm trying not to spoil myself for future books, but I keep leaping to read every review for the up-coming books I "happen upon". *ahem*

My Rating:  4 - Pretty Darn Good. Potential for rating higher upon rereading.

About the Amazing Author:
Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn�t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel. 
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job. 
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time. 
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.
Latest News:

Two cover reveals... have you seen these, yet?!  More Iron Fae?!  (Oh, Yay!!)


Find & Follow:

I had to dive into The Immortal Rules already on my Nook. Just saying. One of those things. Like I said, the author won me over mid The Iron King, what can I say?

Released April 24, 2012
Get your copy:

The Book Depository
Amazon & Barnes & Noble: