Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King by Julie KagawaHow did I get it: The library.

Why did I get it: I’ve been meaning to look at this series for awhile. I have to admit I was nervous and almost decided not to even attempt this book because lately I haven’t been that crazy about anything with fairies in it, but I’m so glad I did.

How I would rate it: 4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars – A terrific book with a few small flaws.

My Summary: I’m just going to use the summary from GoodReads:

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: (Note: This review contains some spoilers.)

First of all, what a great female protagonist! It was so easy to care about Meghan Chase. I loved her point of view from page one. Even when she deals with extraordinary problems, Meghan doesn’t loose track of herself or her priorities. She also never loose sight of what matters simply because she ends up liking an attractive albeit icy fairy prince. Her home life is troubled and there’s a lot of reasons for Meghan to have a chip on her shoulder, but her ability to care for others, especially her little half brother Ethan, never wavered.  She grows in this book, and watching her do so was terrific. She never forgets about her brother or her friends. She never puts herself last. She never gives up on those she cares about. She saves people just as much as they save her, which was also impressive.

The Iron King also had a pretty great cast of characters just in general. Ethan was adorable, Puck was Puck, Ash was broody but interesting, and Grimalkin was a very cool cat. And while it took Meghan a long time to save her brother, I was never bored and wishing Meghan would just do something else because the pacing in this book worked tremendously well and it made sense for rescuing her brother to be fairly complicated. Meghan was constantly being thwarted, learning more about herself/her powers/her father, and had a lot of difficult tasks to undertake.

Kagawa’s writing was really great too. She created a fabulous fairy world that plays with a lot of the same ideas as many others, but she also really takes a look at modern technology versus magical beings with direct ties to the natural world. The affect of the world humans live in and all of its gadgets does not get brought up as often as I would like in YA or even adult fantasy novels with fairies so this made for a refreshing change for me. And this wasn’t a book where the idea of this conflict gets tossed in there only to be ultimately ignored. This conflict remains very central to the story from start to finish. I’m sure it will continue to be important in the next books since one of Meghan’s unique abilities is to be able to handle iron better than any of the older, more otherworldly fairies she interacts with.

The romance in this book was very much a subplot that worked with the plot instead of taking away from it. The affection that developed between Ash and Meghan was very believable. I’m curious to see what happens next for that instead of wishing they would just quit while they’re ahead.

Although The Iron King is definitely one of the more enjoyable books I’ve looked at lately, it wasn’t a perfect book for me.

I don’t know how much I liked Puck being treed. I get that it was part of being hurt by iron and that it was to make Ash and Meghan spend time together in order to get along and develop feelings for one another, but it seemed like such an easy way to get Puck out of the picture.  I also can’t say I really cared Ash and Puck’s shared sad back story. It was very cliche, and I definitely think this book was at its best when it was not using old, tired ideas.  Neither of these is a big deal to me as a reader yet, but if Puck stays treed very much longer, I’m going to get annoyed very quickly with The Iron Daughter.

I also have to point out that Machina, the book’s villain, was pretty much just like the final boss of a video game. All he did was have an evil plan and wait around for Meghan to show up to tell her about it while sending out minions. Admittedly, his henchmen were really creepy and fascinating, but he was pretty much made of cardboard. Even his stalker-like interest in Meghan was all sorts of boring.

In conclusion, The Iron King worked better for me than any other YA paranormal/fairy book has in quite some time. I really liked Julie Kagawa’s writing and her creativity. Here’s hoping the next two books continue to be just as great as this first one was and that the minor issues I have do not grow more major from here on out.

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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One Response to Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

  1. Pingback: Reader’s Progress #7 | CSI: Librarian

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