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The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, Book 3) – Julie Kagawa
Book Reviews
October 13, 2011 posted by Kiona

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, Book 3) – Julie Kagawa

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

The third book in the Iron Fey series provides the same non-stop action as its predecessors. The only thing is, this time around, the constant conflict started to wear on my nerves. I didn’t really start caring about this book until halfway through, when the major Narnia-esque conflict began. The first half just seemed like a way to kill time and unnecessarily impress the reader. But by the third book in a series, we don’t need flashy new creatures or foreboding prophecies to be impressed; we’re already invested in the characters, their world, and in this case, their fight against the false king. I didn’t think it was possible for Julie Kagawa to introduce even more creatures, but she did, making it even harder for me to keep track of everything and everyone. There came a point where I stopped caring about the descriptions because I knew I’d never be able to remember what each specific faery looked like.

Now let’s talk about Meghan. Meghan’s near-constant state of helplessness was clearly becoming a problem and so it made complete sense for her to learn how to defend herself. But doesn’t sword-fighting take years of practice? Meghan spent all of a month or two learning and then instantly dove into numerous battles, coming out the victor each time. I’d understand if she got lucky a couple of times, especially if she had the help of Ash or Puck, but she literally fought trained soldiers, alone, and managed to win, without coming to any serious harm herself. And then, suddenly, she was ready to fight in a war? I just don’t find any of that plausible. Meanwhile, a power all her own lies dormant and unusable until the very end of the book. I’d be far more willing to believe she mastered her own summer/iron power and use it defend herself than a sword.

As for Puck and Ash, I still love Puck, though I still think the amount he addresses Meghan as “Princess” is a little unnatural. But I’m used to that. He’s as sarcastic, witty, and humorous as ever; he captures my attention in every scene. Then there’s Ash. I’m probably the only girl in the world who isn’t in love with him. I just don’t see the insane appeal and I don’t really understand his willingness to devote his entire life to Meghan. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Ash. I’m just not in love with him, nor am I sure why Meghan is, besides the obvious physical attraction. I think Kagawa goes a little over the top with their romance-to-end-all-romances. The idea that (mini spoiler alert!) sleeping together signifies the merging of their souls is completely ridiculous, to me. But as much as I don’t understand their relationship, I was still touched by the ending and left craving answers that only the fourth book will provide.

Basically, fans of the series will love this book. It’s written exactly as the first two in the series and provides an intricate, suspense-ridden plot. It has its moments of joy, battle, discovery, and heartbreak. Readers will fly through the second half of the book and turn the last few pages anxiously, praying for it not to end. But never fear, for the ride will continue in the fourth book, The Iron Knight.

Review of The Iron King.
Review of The Iron Daughter.

Pages: 358
Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★☆☆

Teaser Quote: “For the record,” Grimalkin stated as we ventured, single file, into the black, “I do not think this is a good idea. But, as no one listens to the cat anymore, I will have to wait until we are completely lost to say ‘I told you so.’”

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, Book 2) – Julie Kagawa
Book Reviews
January 10, 2011 posted by Kiona

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, Book 2) – Julie Kagawa

“Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey – ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse. Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.”

Meghan’s journey continues with the second installment of The Iron Fey series. At the end of the last book, Ash returned for Meghan to bring her back to the Winter queen, as they’d agreed. Iron Daughter picks up right where Iron King left off, with Meghan living as a prisoner in the Unseelie Court. Living in Unseelie probably wouldn’t be so bad if Ash hadn’t become mysteriously cold and distant, treating Meghan as if he hated her.

The Faery world turns to chaos when the Scepter of Seasons is stolen from the Winter queen. Queen Mab, of course, blames Oberon and declares war against Summer. The only ones who know the truth – that the scepter was stolen by the Iron fey – and the only ones who can stop the war are Meghan and Ash. The only problem is that Ash isn’t willing to work with Meghan.

This book is just as action-packed as the last. Each page provides a new twist to the story and the fast pace keeps the reader interested until the very end. Though I wouldn’t have believed it possible, even more new creatures are introduced in this book, along with new characters that are easy to love. We also see the return of wonderful characters like Grim, Puck, and even Ironhorse. It is fun to see such familiar characters in such a believable world and to watch them grow with each passing chapter.

Iron Daughter has a much stronger focus on Meghan’s romantic life. She admits her love for Ash a little too early on for my taste and even he admits she doesn’t truly know him, while her relationship with Puck seems more natural. But Ash is just as intriguing, mystifying, and aggravating as ever. I love seeing Meghan hack away at his icy exterior. Throughout the story, the two really do develop an understanding of each other’s personality. Of course, the tension between Puck and Ash only escalates. Puck is his charming, snarky self, but in this book we see him occasionally drop his over-confident mask and show Meghan his true feelings. It is impossible not to love Puck and to share in Meghan’s torn feelings over the two guys in her life.

I noticed the same sorts of inconsistencies with Meghan’s character as in the last book. First of all, any time Meghan swears seems unnatural and forced to me. Beside that, she unnecessarily bemoans her situation too often, making her come across as weak. But at other times, a fierce determination takes over and she fights just as ruthlessly as her defenders. I was sometimes agitated by the way she hated the fact that she had to make tough decisions. It takes awhile for her to come to terms with the fact that her life isn’t easy, something I feel she should have learned in the first book. I love her strong moments though and the way she refuses to give up on Ash. She has a power all her own and though others may have overlooked that fact in the first book, her strength cannot be ignored in this one.

Overall, I find the plot of Iron Daughter even more riveting than Iron King, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The characters really grow in fascinating ways and the unpredictable plot twists keeps you on your toes. The Faery world comes alive and offers a unique escape, one different from typical fantasy novels. The ending is extremely surprising and leaves me wondering just where the third and final book in the series will take us.

Review of the first book:  The Iron King
Pages: 359
Publication Date: August 2010
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Challenge: n/a
Rating : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: Puck looked at me aghast. “Oh, man. So that’s where the war rumors are coming from. Winter really is going to attack Summer.” He glared at Ash. “So, we’re at war. Perfect. Shall we save time and kill each other now, or did you want to wait until later?”

The Iron King – Julie Kagawa
Book Reviews
December 14, 2010 posted by Kiona

The Iron King – Julie Kagawa

“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.”

When I first began The Iron King, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. I’m always wary of the Faery world. Some authors describe it well and some authors completely butcher it. But as soon as I realized Iron King offered a modern twist on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” I was hooked.

On her sixteenth birthday, Meghan Chase begins to see things that can’t be real. She chalks these odd visions up to her imagination, but when her sweet, four-year-old brother suddenly attacks their mother, she realizes she’s been fooling herself. Her best and only friend, Robbie Goodfell, reveals himself to be Robin Goodfellow, the age-old prankster known as “Puck” in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He explains that her real brother has been captured and replaced with a changeling. Puck agrees to take Meghan to the Unseelie Court in search of her real brother and a wild adventure begins.

This story is definitely action-packed. Every chapter provides a new twist and turn. I thought the constant plot twists would become exhausting at some point, but instead I just kept turning the pages, wondering what would happen next. Julie Kagawa does a phenomenal job when it comes to world building. Meghan and Puck journey through the Nevernever, the Seelie Court, and the Unseelie Court. Meghan meets all sorts of interesting creatures and beings, each of which are carefully described and easy to imagine. Reading The Iron King allows you to fully immerse yourself in a completely new world.

I loved the characters introduced in this first installment of The Iron Fey series. Meghan was realistic and relatable, though it was sometimes hard to understand if she was more of a damsel-in-distress type or the type of girl willing to fight for herself and her friends through whatever means possible. Puck is witty and protective, the kind of guy I wish could be my best friend. His relationship with Meghan isn’t forced or unbelievable. Eventually, Prince Ash is introduced, creating the stereotypical love triangle. But this love triangle works. Romance isn’t the central focus of this book, for once. Friendship and understanding grow between Meghan and Ash before any romantic feelings take over. Sure, there’s that initial attraction, but the two don’t instantly fall in love, as is the case with so many other novels. And Meghan’s confusion between her feelings for Puck and her feelings for Ash is palpable, which lets the reader sympathize with her.

I can only think of two downsides to this book. The first is Puck’s near-constant use of the title “Princess” in reference to Meghan. By the first chapter, we get it. Puck knows something we don’t know. By the second chapter, it’s obvious that there’s something different about Meghan…she’s a princess. The amount of times Puck calls Meghan “Princess” in every conversation is unnatural and forced. But because he’s Puck, I’ll let it slide. The second downside was the use of the word “writhing.” Not a big deal, by any means, but still distracting. Everything was constantly writhing, especially toward the end of the book. Any other verb would have sufficed.

But those are just minor details. The Iron King is a gripping lead with a surprising ending that leaves reader’s dying to get their hands on the second book in the series. Kagawa has created a world that is difficult to stop thinking about for too long.

Pages: 363
Publication Date: February 2010
Rating : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: I licked my lips and whispered, “Is this where you say you’ll kill me?” One corner of his lip curled. “If you like,” he murmured, a flicker of amusement finally crossing his face. “Though it’s gotten far too interesting for that.”