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The Iron King
by Julie Kagawa
pub: Feb 2010
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.
Fan-fun-tastic! I'm telling you guys, The Iron King is a blast. I'm not even a huge faery fan but this book had me riveted. Interesting mythology that combines Kagawa's unique take along with traditional lore, creative characters and enchanting worlds - it doesn't get much better than this!
The insane amount of new and old mythical creatures is amazing. Kagawa shines in her description with her vivid detail of the creatures, faeryland and the landscape of it's many courts. Visuals kept running in my head.
The action and weirdness gets going fast and soon Meghan's life is turned upside down. Her little brother has been kidnapped (a changeling put in his place - a nasty creature who attacks both Meghan and her mom) and Meghan must head to faeryland to get him back.
Luckily, her longtime childhood friend, Robby, is actually prankster Puck from a Midsummer's Night Dream, and off they go through the 'trod' (or door that happens to be in her little brother's closet) into faeryland. It's as beautiful as it is dangerous, and things are often not what they seem. Who are your friends and who are your enemies can change in blink of an eye.
I got an Alice in Wonderland feel from The Iron King. Especially when Grimalkin, a sly cat faery comes into it as one of her companions on the journey. And what a journey. Everything goes wrong. Meghan finds herself in one pickle after another.
The weird and wonderful adventure never stops. At several points, I was going, "Come on! Not something else going wrong. Can't we catch a break?" And I used the 'we' since I was battling faeries, trolls, gremlins, chimeras, and all other fantastical beings right along with the characters.
Is some stuff predictable? Sure. I mean she's the daughter of the Summer King so of course she has to fall for the son of the Winter Queen - the two courts are mortal enemies after all. I'd be upset if the wasn't the case. But for the most part the story is one delicious surprise after another.
Characters? Fun and complex. It seems everyone, except Meghan (she's just trying to save her brother and get the heck out of Dodge), has a hidden agenda or something mysterious going on under the surface.
Puck steals the show with his humor and dry wit. Meghan is likable and just when you think she is going to be stupid enough to make another bargain with a faery, she surprises you. I enjoyed the way she grew throughout the story. In the end, her grit and determination to save the ones she loves really shines.
And then there's Ash, prince of the Winter Court. Total hottie - yet cold in so many ways. He's ready to kill Meghan several times but eventually warms up. Super swordsman with his icy blade, able to drop predators with shooting icicles (the Winter Court version of ninja stars - so cool) and he waffles between killing and kissing Meghan - love that tension and conflict!
My only complaint would be that he isn't in it enough. We get a glimpse of Ash in the very beginning but then he doesn't show up again until around page 170.
Their developing romance was fun - that hate-love-hate-love thing - and I would have preferred more of it sooner. But Kagawa keeps you busy with the next adventure so I can't complain too much. And I think he'll be prominent in the sequel. Yay!
Which leads me to the other thing I loved about The Iron King. Kagawa does an excellent job of giving you a satisfying ending with, and this is important, just enough unanswered questions and hint of the next adventure that you're frothing for the sequel. I'll be ready for The Iron Daughter when it comes out in August 2010.
There's mild language and the sex is just that yearning sexual tension so I think this is fine for younger readers as well. The Iron King is a terrific romp with crazy creatures, fantastical worlds, fun characters, a fast pace and a satisfying ending. This is one of the best first-in-a-series that I've read!
The Cover: The top one works for me. I like the colors, the partial of the girl's face (although I could do with less - you know me), the swirly things and font. I don't care for the second cover.
First Lines: Ten years ago on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.
Good. I'm intrigued and interested to find out some details about the disappearance which are explained immediately and intrigue me more. The first pages get you right into some fun.
The Iron King is one of the many great books available in our MegaBook Giveaway!