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.
Publication Date: February 2010
Rating [rating: 3.5]
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.”