Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

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.

4.5 stars

I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading The Iron King. I’ve heard of all the hype surrounding it, but was always wary of getting into and actually starting it. I didn’t know if I would like this book, because I haven’t had many encounters with the fey (the only book I can think of that has fey in it that I've read is Summer Knight by Jim Butcher, which, needless to say, is nothing like The Iron King).

But, I read it, and I absolutely loved it. The Iron King starts off with a bang, and was actually pretty creepy, and really mysterious and intriguing. Sadly, though, I discovered the “plot twist” within the first few pages of the book, but that didn’t make the reading experience any less enjoyable (I do, however, wish Kagawa made the twist much less obvious). Despite that, the pacing is spot on, and it remains at the same perfect pace throughout the whole book.

The only other book of Kagawa’s I’ve read is The Immortal Rules, but I can say with certainty now that Kagawa’s writing is both captivating and beautiful. The way she describes things, like the first moment when Meghan was using Glamour, is (in my mind) amazing:

[About Glamour] "It was like color given emotion: orange passion, vermillion lust, crimson anger, blue sorrow, a swirling, hypnotic play of sensations in my mind."

As well as the writing, the world-building in The Iron King is excellent, and I mean excellent. The courts, their rivalries, the creatures of the Nevernever, everything about them was just excellent. I also really loved the way Kagawa incorporated the concept that imaginary friends were in fact Fey, and that the people Meghan once looked at as ordinary human beings were actually creatures from the Nevernever living among the humans.

And then there’s the characters… I really loved most of the characters (although it did take me 90% to even like Ash, but I did end up liking him), and they were each flawed perfectly (ha, that’s contradictory). I also think it’s safe to say that I’m so on Team Puck. He’s funny, nice, reliable, and just not a total ass (which was my only word used to describe Ash throughout most of The Iron King). But of course, there’s also the main character Meghan, who, while I did like, I didn’t really love like I loved the others. She was whiny at times, but that was understandable given the situations she was under. What I wasn’t crazy about was how Ash pretty much sought out to kill her and take her into his leader, but then he decided he’d help her find her brother but still take Meghan into his leader when everything was over, and she was pretty much head over heels for him after that, and actually refers to herself as the “beloved of Ash”. I mean, come on. There’s Puck, who genuinely cares for you and doesn’t want to kill you, but you go for the one that does (more or less). I don’t get it. I know that there will be development in their relationship in the later books, but this is a review for the first book. My favorite character in the book, however, would probably have to be Grimalkin. I’m not a cat person, but I absolutely loved Grimalkin and his humor, and the cat humor, such as:

”Grimalkin’s look was scornful, and no one does scornful better than a cat.”

There’s a lot more cat humor, and that wasn't even my favorite, but sadly I was enjoying the book far too much to take notes.

Oh yeah, what the hell is “Grimalkin sneezed a laugh” supposed to mean? Yeah, I get it, Grimalkin is laughing. You don’t need to describe it as “sneezing a laugh”. Whenever I read that, I had an image in my head of Grimalkin laughing while simultaneously sneezing. It’s a weird image to have in your head…

I also liked the ending (80-100%), although not as much as I liked the rest of the book. I saw pretty much everything coming in the ending, but it was still enjoyable, even though it was a bit anticlimactic and certainly could have lasted longer.[especially the big “fight” between Machina, Meghan and Ash. I felt like my book was missing a few pages during the fight scene, because there was barely any fight. (hide spoiler)]

Overall, I really, really liked The Iron King, and I’m going to start the next book right away. I just hope the next books maintain the pacing of the first book, and leaves behind the predictability of it all.


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