Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Pages: 363 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: audiobook clip | author website

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)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.


Stories of the fey are typically not my cup of tea, but the Iron Fey series has so much praise going for it from my friends that I've always considered the series. Kagawa's vampire novel The Immortal Rules was good enough to make me consider it further, and I've finally taken the leap. Really, being the odd one out all the time like this is getting irritating. I fail to see what has so many of my friends enchanted.

The Iron King left me unimpressed overall, but Kagawa's worldbuilding deserves some applause. If there is any one element in the novel that is outstanding, it's this. Her idea of how the iron fey came to be is actually quite ingenious and she makes the well-used details of the fey's Summer/Seelie and Winter/Unseelie Courts feel somewhat fresh. More than a few times, I was reminded of the movie Labyrinth, which is pretty much something everyone who has seen the movie can say about this book.

Still, it draws too much on Labyrinth at times and I stop enjoying the similarities. Subtle parallels are okay, such as those to Sailor Moon in Cinder by Marissa Meyer, but The Iron King went above and beyond in that respect. The overindulgence in cliches and lack of depth made it harder and harder to enjoy the novel. Our brooding hero Ash, the insta-love he and Meghan have, the stereotypes of the human high school students,... Cliches should be played with, not played straight.

From the time Meghan called a cheerleader ""inflate-a-boob" Angie", I disliked her. I forgave some of her dumb actions in the novel because she had no idea what they fey were like and was slowly learning, but some things are simply unforgivable. Like being told not to run because the enemy will see her and then running to a police officer as if he could help her with fey-possessed humans. That's just--- There are no words. The scene with the satyrs trying to rape Meghan and Ash saving her from them bothered me far worse than that. THIS IS NOT A WAY TO DEVELOP A ROMANCE. IT NEEDS TO DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH.

So they spend the entire novel traveling to get to the Iron Kingdom and rescue Ethan, and once they get there and meet Machina, the Iron King, it's all over just like that. So much anticipation for a few pages of a speech (one so creepy that I made a GIF-worthy horrorface) and then that's it. What I'd heard about Machina played on one of my tropey weakness of the villain wanting the heroine and was yet another factor in why I finally jumped into this series. Such a quick ending was disappointing.

Because I'm dumb like that, I faith-bought the entire series at once and can't return them. Maybe I'll get to the other books of Kagawa's series at some point and see if they are any better than The Iron King. It feels like this review is too short, but there's simply no more I feel needs to be said.

2 stars!

What am I reading next?: Prophecy by Ellen Oh