Monday, October 04, 2010

The Iron King, Julie Kagawa

Plot summary from Goodreads:
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.

The major thing that I thought was fantastic about this book is how the story/plot takes Faerie and the legends and the folklore and the characters and the belief system behind it, and actually updates it for the 21st century. The faeries in this book are on the decline, a la Tolkien, and they are either very aware of this or in extreme denial. Characters from popular folklore like Oberon/Titania/Puck and stuff like the Seelie/Unseelie Courts are present, but there are also metal trees and--what are these strange creatures? They seem to be Faerie, only made of iron. WHAT DOES IT MEAN.
Meghan, the MC, is brought into this world in turmoil (oh yeah I just used that phrase, deal with it) and has to deal with her own personal problems, figure out who wants to use her and why, and somehow survive and be productive.
Like I said, I REALLY liked this idea. The plot and the way it was executed was really excellent in every way. I liked that it wasn't happy flowery fairies, but it also wasn't just the old, dangerous fairies in modern setting. It really goes into how the Faerie world would have changed since, say, the Middle Ages, but it wasn't completely "OMG HUG TREES SAVE THE PLANET" either. The characters and the world are struggling to achieve balance with everything that is going on, and of course not everything is resolved in this book (it's a trilogy). The only downside to the plot story was that occasionally it got a little confusing. It was like a video game quest, where you go to a NPC for an item, but then they're like "oh first you need to help get my cat down, so you'll have to go to this OTHER guy and get a ladder" etc etc. I had to pause a couple of times and think, "Okay, where are they going, and WHY?" and also "Who owes faerie debts to WHO right now?"
On to the characters!
Meghan screams at least once in every chapter. Let's get that out of the way. This REALLY annoyed me, but despite her endless screaming she does show good qualities like bravery, resourcefulness, and most particularly quick wits. Once she gets the idea of "FAERIES WILL MANIPULATE YOUR WORDS" into her head, she is able to hold her own and even outwit people at points. Overall I liked her. *nod of approval*
Robbie was my favorite part of this book. I was almost cheering every time he showed up. :) I would read this book for Robbie.
Ash was....Well. Ash was just one of those male love interests where you know exactly who he is and what he's going to act like, generally. Not very many surprises for me with him. But a nice icy winter faerie is always fun. I liked how the theme of balance came out with him, too: he begins to learn that it's not all about white/black Seelie/Unseelie Us/Them.
The other faeries were, in general, terrifying. I thought Oberon was a typical Oberon characterization, whereas Titania was VERY disappointing in that she's a 1-dimensional bitch. I was hoping she would be a bitch but in an awesome, flawed, complex way. Nope, she's just a bitch. POSSIBILITIES, LET US EXPLORE THE. I liked all the creatures, bugs, grimalkins, pack rats, etc etc'll have to read to enjoy all of those. The Iron King...Well, let me just say, the Iron King was completely hot, oh, and, er, interesting, and I really hope he's in the rest of the trilogy. Fantastic.
The writing was pretty good for a debut. There was definitely a few spots when I was shaken out of my reading with a "wtf is that sentence doing", a few iffy metaphors/similes (but I am wayyyy critical of sensory language) and such. But it was a much higher quality than, say, The Line or even Restoring Harmony. It was easy to ignore the language and get into the story, which is something I've been struggling with in debuts so far this year.
This is so long, I'm sorry! Just one more note. The romance: I wasn't huge on. The sexual tension was paced pretty well for the most part, but then there came a point when they were just suddenly-deeply, madly, truly in love and I was like oh okay. Wait, when did you decide this was working out????? :P But otherwise it was fine. I especially loved it because there wasn't a ton of sappy drippy romance until at least halfway through. We get emphasis on STORY here, people! :D
Did I mention I REALLY want to read Iron Daughter? :D I managed to get a free copy from GotYA which hopefully I'll get soon....YAY! Thanks, GotYA!

Rating: 4/5 stars.
Recommended for: Fans of the Wicked Lovely series (although I'm not a huge WL fan and I loved this), fans of faeries/faerie romance/anything related to faerie, really.
Notes: I want to hug Ironhorse.
Quote: [pg 87 of paperback] Robbie: "Metallic trees. That's new. If you see any steel dryads, be sure to tell me so I can run away screaming."


Snazel said...

P.S. Thanks to you I went and bought the book. IT IS FLYING TO ME ON ROYAL WINGS.

*goes to stalk GotYA*

Bahnree said...


Dayana Stockdale said...

I really enjoyed this book. It was so descriptive. I just wished it went a little deeper into character development, but oh well it was a wild ride! I will def be getting the sequel!