Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
First published by Harlequin Teen in 2010 (this edition by Mira Ink in 2011)

Book #1 in The Iron Fey series

Description (from Goodreads):
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.

My thoughts
How much greater could this book have been? Well, not much really! The Iron King is quite honestly the best fairy/faerie book I've read so far. It is also completely different to the ones I've read; in Aprilynne Pike's Wings, faeries are actually plants and in Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, they're more urban and street-wise characters.

The Iron King, on the other hand, is a completely different kind of story. Julie Kagawa utilises characters from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as their supernatural realm to create a story of her own. The main character in this book is Meghan, a 16 year old girl, who lives with her mother, stepfather and stepbrother, as her father disappeared when she was very young. Her best friend is Robbie Goodfell, who lives a couple of miles away (though she has never actually been to his house - or met his parents). At some point, weird things start happening, which result in her young brother being kidnapped. As if that wasn't enough, she finds out she is the daughter of a faery king and that not everything is as it seems to be.

I haven't actually read A Midsummer Night's Dream, but I had heard of King Oberon and Queen Titania before, and I am pretty sure I'd heard of Queen Mab being mentioned somewhere. I think that the idea to use an already existent universe (the one created by Shakespeare) and make changes to it to create a completely different story was absolutely brilliant. Especially as those changes weren't just minor ones. Hence, The Iron King is not a retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream, but a story of its own, with unique characters and a wonderful plot that kept me wanting to read it all night long!

The best part of the whole novel (for me) was where the existence of the Iron Fey was explained. If you think about it, it really is a very simple notion and makes complete sense in the context of the novel and the fey legends. I am really looking forward to seeing where Julie Kagawa will take the story.

Meghan is a lovely character; she is brave, honest, loving and determined. She enters the faerie realms for a reason and stops at nothing to achieve her final goal, which is to save her brother. As for the male characters, they are equally loveable, each for their own reasons: Puck is funny, a little reckless and always tries to make light of any situation. Ash is dark and brooding, but you can tell there is something going on inside his head that's making him unsure.

I really did love the book. Lovely writing, lovely story, lovely characters. I will definitely be picking up the next books in the series! As soon as possible!!

Rating: 9/10

Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California, but, essentially, grew up in Hawaii, where her family moved to when she was 9. Over the years, she worked in many bookshops as well as as (???) a professional dog trainer. She currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky, from where she writes full-time.
Her other books in The Iron Fey series are:

As well as two novellas

(I have these two last ones and from the titles alone I am guessing that Winter's Passage has something to do with Ash, whereas Summer's Crossing has something to do with Puck.)

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 1st in a Series Challenge


  1. I love this series!!! It makes me want to read A Midnight Summer's Dream. I'm glad you liked The Iron King. Each book after that just gets better and better.

  2. Great review! I really love this series. The third book is my favorite, so far! Hoping to start The Iron Knight soon! :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. I am reading -uhm listening- the audiobook at the moment and I am not sure if that's my thing. The audiobook is too slow and the accent of narrator annoys me a bit. I might switch to the actual book and I think I will enjoy it better.

  4. Ow I forgot to mention: great review :)

  5. I hope I get to the others soon! I really did like The Iron King!

    @Selina: I'm not a big fan of audiobooks. I am trying my first one (Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater) and while it's not a bad recording, it's far too slow for me... I think you will enjoy the book if you actually read it at the pace you want! Let me know! :)


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