The Iron King
(Iron Fey #1)
by Julie Kagawa
Feb 1st, 2010
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.
After a reading a handful of less than stellar fantasy young adult books, The Iron King was like a much needed breath of fresh air. I loved everything about the book: the characters, the setting, the writing, everything! Meghan was a great heroine: resourceful, clever, and willing to do whatever she could to save those she loved. The other characters were equally likable: Grimalkin, the snarky talking cat; Puck, the mischievous and loyal best friend; Ethan, the adorable wise-beyond-his-years little brother; and Ash, the mysterious and handsome fey prince, as well as bunch of other interesting people and creatures. The plot itself isn’t too unique (there hasn’t exactly been a lack of Shakespeare-inspired faery stories in the past ten or so years) but the author threw in enough twists and turns that it still felt fresh.
The writing was descriptive enough to allow me to visualize the Nevernever (faeryland) really clearly, but not so much that it bogged down the action. And there was quite a lot of action! Most of the book is essentially Meghan’s journey through the Nevernever; along the way she encounters many interesting characters, gets into some trouble, and ultimately comes out a different person than she was. We see all of this through first person perspective, which I though worked really well. I found myself totally immersed in the story and fascinated by the Nevernever.
The romance was lovely and handled perfectly. It didn’t take over the whole book so the few glimpses we got meant all the more. There was a slight love triangle, but it wasn’t overbearing and actually made sense. It does become clear which of the boys Meghan will become involved with fairly quickly, so it doesn’t drag on unnecessarily. I adored both of the guys and while they were fairly stereotypical–the best friend vs. the mysterious loner–I found them both really likable and–yes–swoonworthy.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed The Iron King and I’m super excited to read the next book in the series. It is definitely the best faery book I’ve read. I’d recommend this to fans of faery stories and young adult fantasy that doesn’t just focus on romance.