Wednesday 12 February 2014

Book Review - The Iron King

The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Genres: Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 1st Febuary 2010
Publishers: Harlequin Teen
No. Pages: 363
Source: Gifted
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
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.

The Iron King is the first book of 2014 to make me very confused. It's a tale of two sides; on one side, it's the story of a young girl who finds out about her heritage, her past, her future, it's about her story to finding out out where she belongs, where her heart lays and just how powerful she really is. One the other, it's the story of a girl who finds her father, a girl who finds love, a girl that finds out she's got some pretty super-duper Poison Ivy style talents and whines about how hard her life is, how she wants to go home and be normal and generally never does anything she's told or asked. You can see why I was torn over this book just by those two factors, but as if that wasn't enough, The Iron King gave me that aching feeling when I put the book down, yet didn't bring me that elated feeling when I picked it back up; this book was just difficult to come to terms with.

The Iron King started off very well; it hit me right in my childhood feels with mentions of scary monsters under the bed and behind closet doors, and if I'm honest, I both thought it was quite immature to be using such simple fears, but also quite creative because we all see fear in our own ways. The world Kagawa created was also much darker, eerie and colder than I had imagined she would, I for some reason didn't expect a lot, but she crafted an amazing world, both faery and real life versions, and I can honestly say that that was one of the best things about this book. There were secrets and lies hidden behind every corner, and the magical monsters that hid with them were really good. But after around 80 pages, my excitement died down. The story itself became quite repetitive; travelling through Nevernever, getting scratched to hell by twigs and plants and generally having to outrun all of these magical creatures you could have ever imagined. Add into the mix an over confident yet quite charming 'best friend' and possible love interest, a moody prince who thinks he's gods gift and a talking cat, you've got yourself a remake of Alice in Wonderland which - sidenote - I've read and not enjoyed in the slightest, so The Iron King went from an instant 4 stars to 2.

Yes, the plot did improve the further we went into the story, we found out more about Ash and Pucks history, we found out why and what it was that was destroying Nevernever, and we found out that Meghan does actually have a backbone and isn't just this useless blonde haired silly girl sneezing and chasing after will o's. Yet it didn't seem like quite enough to make me forget how tiresome the plot was earlier; even with some of the best actions scenes, described to an amazing level, even after she'd given her characters, especially Meghan and Ash, some of the best character development and multi-layers I've seen in first books, even after she'd thrown into the mix the use of Shakespeare and imagination, technology and make-believe, it just wasn't enough. My heart almost overruled my head when it came to the last big scene between Meghan and The Iron King, and I'm not ashamed to say this book almost earned an extra half star just because of Kagawa's talent of making me stay right within the action without for one moment being very confused was that good.

When it comes to the love interests, I have to say, I wasn't that interested in either. Puck was most definitely the best friend every girl needs; he sassed his way to the top and had a jealous protective streak to him, yet he was compassionate and did whatever he could for Meghan, making him just the really good friend in my eyes, and Ash, well, at first, I found him quite cold and single leveled, but then Kagawa threw me at him and I was a little lukewarm by the end. I wasn't impressed by how abrupt Meghan and Ash's relationship went from admiring one another to making out in snow-land, but hey, we can't all be entertained by the same dashing prince spontaneously kissing hell out of the princess he should be avoiding, and that's my personal problem, so don't shoot me, but generally, I'm slightly happy with the whole relationship, but a little nervous about where it's going to go from here. I also don't trust Luke, not one bit, just putting that out there.

I know for a fact that I would have delayed this book for a long time if it wasn't for YA Midnight Reads Read-A-Long in Febuary, and I'm very thankful that I took part, because I really don't regret reading this book at all, it definitely was a pleasant surprise, however, rushing out to get my hands on the next three installments isn't high on my list of things to do, so how long it takes me to finish this series is a big unanswered question.* I'd also like to mention very quickly how fantastic it was to see a book with the right amount of gore, the right amount of cursing and the right amount of sarcastic humour and threats to make this an enjoyable book; too many books chop peoples heads of but are afraid to swear, not Kagawa's, and that's great. If you like your extreme magic, cheesy bad guy names, character growth and world descriptions, this may just be your next true love, but for me personally, the middle was just a little too, slow and unproductive.

*Sidenote: The day I wrote this review, I did actually go out and buy The Iron Legends, The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen, so I technically lied, however, I don't care, when I saw them, I had to have them, so that's the only explanation I've got and it'll have to do.


  1. Ahhh this series....I admit I was a lover of this book. But I read it, hm maybe a year and a half ago? At least. I need to re-read it. I do remember lots of Nevernever travelling, but I'm pretty positive Grimalkin was awesome! XD And. I think I might've swooned a bit over Ash...Puck not so much.

    1. I think if I was a few years younger I'd be very impressed and in love with this book, and I'd be swooning over Ash for definite, but I have a thing for redheads, so Puck is my man. I'm making my way through the series though, and it's gotten a little better so far. No harm is re-reading a series you loved is there, do it :)

  2. I still need to start this series but am not in a rush. Good review though.

  3. I've been wanting to read this series forever because it has been greatly recommended. I even won the boxed set last year. But Fey books aren't my favorite which is why I've been putting it off. The audio for this one is on sale right now and I was thinking of getting that...

    1. Fey books weren't something I thought I'd be interested in either, but for some reason, this one worked better than expected.
      You suit your audiobooks Nereyda, so maybe it might be worth just getting this in audiobook first and seeing how that goes? At least that way, you won't feel forced to read through it, and if it doesn't work out, you could give away the boxed set :)

  4. I'm debating whether or not to start this series...with a 3.5 star rating, do you still recommend it? Great review by the way. :)

    1. I would recommend this book. Even at 3.5 stars, I think it does have a lot of positives, and if you enjoy your slight fairytale re-tellings with a touch of classic literature and urban fantasy, then it really could be the book for you; I would just advise that your expectations be down to a medium, that way, you may be less disappointed or quite surprised :)
      Thank you Ebony!


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