Saturday, October 8, 2011

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King  
Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publishing Information: 363 pages; February 1st, 2010 by Harlequin Teen
Series: Iron Fey #1; followed by The Iron Daughter, the Iron Queen and The Iron Knight

Where I got it:
E-book from the library

One sentence:
Things start changing for Meghan Chase when she turns sixteen: she starts seeing odd things, learns new secrets about her father and best friend, and gets sucked into an otherworldly war.

Fantasy, faeries, bad boy, paranormal, magic, secrets, other worlds

Main character:
There wasn’t anything particularly special about Meghan Chase- in fact, I found her slightly stereotypical and annoying. I’m sure that there are people whose situation in life at the beginning of the story resembles Meghan’s, and with a different author, perhaps it would be more interesting. However, it felt cliché and over-the-top in its self-pity. The only thing I can give Meghan is that she seemed to improve through the story: she went from being obsessed with the football player and oblivious to tracking down her brother with a single-minded determination that I found inspiring.

Secondary characters:
It’s at this point that I wish I could say that I have read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I know the concept, so I loved the idea that Kagawa re-imagined characters from the classic Shakespeare drama. Robbie, “Puck”, was clever, witty and sharp and was a good foil to Meghan’s steadfastness. Ash was…dreamy. I’m a complete sucker for the ‘bad-boy’. At first I wasn’t sure about Grimalkin- he seemed like a sad rip-off of the Cheshire cat- but he definitely grew on me and I came to enjoy his presence and cat-like mysteriousness. 

Writing style: 3/5
On the plus side, Kagawa’s writing pace was fabulous. She left me with enough time during the down moments to breathe and take things in, but the pace kept me reading incessantly and I finished it in a single day. When I was reading, I didn’t notice any awkward phrases or things that shocked me from the storyline until Iron Horse. Why did Kagawa find it necessary to write all his dialogue in caps? Some of the dialogue was a little gauche, particularly that of Meghan and Oberon although I suppose it belied their awkwardness with one another.

Maybe I’m out of the loop, but I haven’t really read any fae books so I was extremely intrigued by the premise. In particular, the iron fey in contrast with the Summer and Winter courts was fascinating, and how the evolving human worlds affecting the faerie worlds. While the plot elements were nothing new, I found them entertaining and rejuvenated with the mix of A Midsummer Night’s Dream characters, the fey battles and the almost Alice in Wonderland feel to the novel.

Ending: 4/5
I knew this was the first of a series, so maybe I was just relieved that the major conflict of this book was solved. It did end on a bit of a cliffhanger, but at this point, everything was resolved, it just opened up the novel for the follow-ups.

Best scene:
Meghan discovering the changeling

Writing pace, secondary characters, new twist on an old plot

Negatives: Cliché main character, uninspiring writing

First Line: Ten year ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.

Cover: Pretty, but not really my cup of tea. I liked the girl- that was how I pictured Meghan.

I can see why The Iron King has attracted such a following. With a splendid blend of myth, classics and fae lore, Kagawa wove a tale that was highly entertaining.

7 / 10

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