The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: February 1st 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (4.75/5 stars)
Synopsis: Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined–the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.
Review: I loved, loved, loved this book! I did not expect myself to enjoy it so much because I have read many books based on faeries in the past few months, so how different can this book be? The answer: very. Kagawa’s The Iron King rivals that of Marr’s Wicked Lovely. From the first page, we are immediately thrust into the mystery of what happened to Meghan’s father. Can I share with you one of my favorite beginnings ever? This is the beginning that will somehow always stick in my head and I doubt I will be forgetting it anytime soon.
SPOILER!!! (You have been warned.)
Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday my father disappeared.
No, he didn’t leave. Leaving would imply suitcases and empty drawers, and late birthday cards with ten-dollar bills stuffed inside. Leaving would imply he was unhappy with Mom and me, or that he found a new love elsewhere. None of that was true. He also did not die, because we would’ve heard about it. There was no car crash, no body, no police mingling about the scene of a brutal murder. It all happened very quietly.
On my sixth birthday, my father took me to the park, one of my favorite places to go at that time. It was a lonely little park in the middle of nowhere, with a running trail and a misty green pond surrounded by pine trees. We were at the edge of the pond, feeding the ducks, when I heard the jingle of an ice cream truck in the parking lot over the hill. When I begged my dad to get me a Creamsicle, he laughed, handed me a few bills, and sent me after the truck.
That was the last time I saw him. (page 1)
Kagawa’s writing is not mundane, in fact, it’s very impressive without even using big, bombastic words. It was not long before I found myself turning page after page, wanting to read more. On the scale of 1 to 10 for addictiveness, I would rate The Iron King 8/10. The introduction was good but the pace became slower but began to pick up after a few chapters. It is amazing how the two main characters, Meghan and Robbie, were present-day teen characters and were blended with folklore and Shakespeare. Meghan is a protagonist who does useful things, like embarking on a rescue mission to save beloved her brother from faeries, instead of doing stupid things and ending up having to rely on the prince to save her. Speaking of prince, there is Ash, the Winer Prince. Although he is a prince, Meghan made it very clear from the start that she could defend herself which was an admirable trait. Everything about her was realistic and never once unbelievable.
Ash was the dark, mysterious, handsome guy who is off-limits because he is the enemy’s son. A chain of events cause both Meghan’s and Ash’s paths to cross and sparks fly. Instead of merely sexual tension, they have a realistic romance, they both are aware about their role to play but the more time they spend with each other, the more they understand each other and seek each other’s comfort.
However, I have to complain about something. Meghan agreed to bargains with faeries too easily, even before knowing what the faery wanted. That was the only flaw I found in her character; she was too naive.
Next, Grimalkin, the sarcastic talking cat. Oh boy, I loved him! Where can I find a Grimalkin of my own? It’s hard to believe but Grimalkin has a strong influence on my rating of this novel. He eased the tension in the story with his dry sense of humor and with him in the scene, I could breathe a sigh of relief because I knew that he would help Meghan when she was in trouble. I just adored him and he is a freaking cat! I hope to see more of him in the next two novels in the Iron Fey series.
I have to hand it to Kagawa. She outdid herself in this fantastic debut novel. A compelling read, action-pack scenes, a forbidden romance, and a fantastic voice, this is a definite must read for all fans of anything to do with faeries.