Book Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

My Rating: 3/5 stars – I liked it, but it didn’t blow me away.

6644117Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Paperback: 384 pages
“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.”

Why did I read this: My sister-in-law read it, so I was interested in trying it. It got very mixed reviews from the people I follow on Goodreads (from six reviews, 2 to 5 stars). I am also a sucker for the covers of this series.

The Iron King was my first foray into Julie Kagawa’s books, and I liked it. I like Kagawa’s fast-paced, gritty writing style, and the fun, pretty world she created in Nevernever. I like Ash, the prince of the winter court, with his snarky, angry, arrogant personality that is developed through a truly terrible family. We get to find out more about Ash’s past and family life in the second Iron Fey book, the Iron Daughter. I found Ash to be a much more fleshed-out character than our heroine, Meghan Chase, who I thought was boring, but in a way, that made her somewhat relatable. Meghan’s feline companion, Grimalkin, is a fabulous, huge, lazy, sarcastic grey cat. He starts off as everyone in faery: He will only help Meghan for a favour, but turns into her friend.

One strength of this series is the dreamy worlds that Kagawa created in The Nevernever. I pictured everything about the setting vividly, from the misty, green, mossy Wyldwood; to Arcadia, the Summer Realm with it’s out-of-this-world music, light, smells, and textures; to Tir Na Nog, the bleak, beautiful, unfeeling, frozen Winter Realm. I liked these interpretations of the summer and winter courts, because it is what they would be like in my mind, and Kagawa describes them beautifully. I thought the idea of the Iron Fey was really interesting: Fey who are immune to iron, created through humans obsession with progress and technology. I liked that the birth of this new type of fairy is juxtaposed against a war between the arrogant summer and winter courts, who don’t realize that a bigger threat is looming over all of Faery.

I’m not sure if there are any themes or morals to this series. I am just reading it for fun, but perhaps we are watching Ash and Meghan start to come into their own, and figure out who the are and what they want to do with their lives, in Faery and the human world.

I love the gorgeous covers in this series, with their gritty, viney design. I like that the typography for the title is continued throughout the chapter headings.

Up Next: See my review for The Iron Fey #2, The Iron Daughter.


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