The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Julie Kagawa is an American author, who was born in Sacramento, California. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job. Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband. She is best known for writing the Iron Fey series: The Iron King, The Iron DaughterThe Iron Queen and The Iron Knight.

** This review contains material which some readers may consider spoilers. **

    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.

    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.

After looking forward to reading this series for almost a year, I was disappointed at the beginning of The Iron King. Julie Kagawa forces every cliche in the YA genre into the first part of her novel: the uncaring parents, the funny best friend, the dark and mysterious stranger. My disappointment stemmed mostly from Meghan’s character. She is a sixteen year old girl who begins the book by bemoaning the poverty of her family and mooning over a football player. The mysterious disappearance of Meghan’s brother finally starts the ball rolling - Meghan becomes a much more interesting character because of her love for her brother. However, she regularly forgets the reason she made the journey into the land of the Fey. One look from Prince Ash, and she’s forgotten all about her brother!

My gripes with Meghan aside, I must admit that the book got a lot better as the plot progressed, especially at Part III. I liked Prince Ash - mostly because he seemed like a genuinely good person. I never did understand exactly when Ash and Meghan fell in love, there seemed to be many glances and gasps, and suddenly, randomly, they were kissing. I felt sorry for Robbie (Puck), but usually the scenes he was in felt strained and awkward, especially when it became clear he was the third wheel in the romance. I loved the idea of using characters like King Oberon, Queen Tatiana and Puck from Shakespeare, the Summer Court is a lovely re-imagination of the play. I also liked the Iron Fey - fey are born from the aspirations of mortals, and the Iron Fey were created because of mankind’s progress with technology. 

I feel I should point out that the book needs a little more editing. When someone says, three quarters of the way through the book, that it’s the first time Prince Ash has taken Meghan’s name, I immediately go back and check if that’s true. And it wasn’t, Prince Ash had spoken to her and taken her name before. 

I feel that Julie Kagawa has a lot of potential, and since the quality of this book improved by the end, I am going to read the rest of the series. At the moment, however, I don’t feel like this series deserves the hype it gets.

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