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The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, Book 4) — Julie Kagawa
Book Reviews
October 28, 2011 posted by Kiona

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, Book 4) — Julie Kagawa

Check out this teaser quote from the Iron Knight:

“Yes,” I said, repressing a sigh. “I heard you. I think the jabberwocks on the other side of the swamp heard you.”

“Oh, good! Maybe if we fight a couple you’ll start paying attention to me!” Puck matched my glare before gesturing around at the swamp. “This is crazy,” he exclaimed. “How do we even know he’s here? The Bone Marsh isn’t exactly on my list of favorite vacation getaways, prince. You sure your contact knew what he was talking about? If this turns out to be another false lead I might turn that phouka into a pair of gloves.”

Intrigued yet? Look for another excerpt tomorrow at Curling Up by the Fire’s blog.

My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn’darkmyr Tallyn.

I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her.

My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl…

The fourth book in the Iron Fey series is easily my favorite and I’m sure I won’t be alone in thinking that. At the end of the third book, Meghan banished Ash from the Iron Realm, knowing he would stay by her side despite how harmful living in the Iron Realm would be to his health. But before he left, Ash made an oath that he would find a way to be with her. The Iron Knight tells the story of Ash’s journey to find a soul — to become mortal and therefore immune to the effects on iron. Of course, he doesn’t embark on such a perilous mission alone; he has Grim and Puck, as well as a couple other surprising companions they meet along the way.

At first, I was a fan of the Iron Fey series. But by the third book, I read reluctantly and slowly, putting the book down for long stretches of time before returning to it. Meghan’s character began to wear on me, but at the same time, I needed an end to her and Ash’s story, so I happily reached for the fourth book. Despite the length, I flew through the conclusion to the Iron Fey series.In my opinion, writing a book from Ash’s point of view is the best idea Julie Kagawa could have for this series. Being in Meghan’s mind grew so annoying, but reading the story from Ash’s point of view is fresh, enjoyable, and exciting. Not only that, but a majority of the book is free of Meghan’s whining voice, and instead filled with my favorite character, Puck. Without Meghan around, Ash becomes a much lighter, carefree individual and we finally get to see the close friendship between Puck and Ash reemerge. And because Meghan wasn’t around too often to annoy, the scenes she did spend with Ash were sweet and heartwarming. Less tears, more determination.

The Iron Knight is also full of non-stop action, but there are more intellectual puzzles in addition to constant battles. Kagawa delivers surprise after surprise, leaving the reader in a constant state of agonizing suspense. I tried and mostly failed to predict what would happen next, which filled me with an odd sense of elation due to the depressing nature of most of my predictions. Some aspects of the journey and of Ash’s trials do seem a little cliche, but not so much so that they distract from the plot at all. For the most part, the conflicts and plot twists are incredibly unique and intricate. Just reading Iron Knight is an emotional roller coaster almost as harrowing as Ash’s — and he has to live through all these crazy events!

The only problems I had with this book are the same ones I had in the previous three. First, overuse of the word “writhing” — it must be Kagawa’s favorite verb. Also, the characters all formally address each other too often to be believable. Every sentence seems to contain some variation of a moniker: Prince/Little Prince/Ice Boy/Winter Prince, Puck/Goodfellow/Robin Goodfellow, Grim/Cat. Especially when it came to Ash, I wanted to shake every person that insisted on calling him “Prince of the Winter Court” in every sentence of speech. So unnecessary. But these are things that, after reading the first three books in the series, I’ve come to accept. And while a majority of the second half of this book left me bewildered and perplexed, internally protesting in outrage, I believe that was Kagawa’s intent and I’m glad she could inspire such a strong emotional reaction in me.

Essentially, if you’re an Ash fan, you’ll love Iron Knight. If you’re a Puck fan, you’ll love Iron Knight. If the end of Iron Queen made you throw the book against the wall in frustration, demanding some sort of resolution for Ash and Meghan, you’ll love Iron Knight. This book is a long, crazy ride, but one you’ll enjoy every minute of.

Pages: 386
Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “You know me, Meghan Chase.” Ariella stepped forward, the mist parting for her, to stand before us clearly. “I am the one who was left behind, the one Ash knew before you ever came into the picture.”

To celebrate the release of The Iron Knight, HarlequinTeen is offering a giveaway of one copy to a U.S. or Canada resident only. Loved the review? Just wait until you read the book!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Simply fill out this form with your name, email, and mailing address. We randomly draw the winners using random.org.
  • Giveaway is open to US/Canada residents only.
  • Ends on November 04, 2011.
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?”