REVIEW: “The Iron King,” Julie Kagawa
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Title: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Published: February, 2010 by Harlequin Teen
Pages: 363
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

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.

Final Thoughts:
I think I may have left this one a little too late. I’ve heard people rave about this faery series, putting it up there as one of the best. But, for me, I just couldn’t seem to connect with it. I found myself rushing through it just because I wanted to get to the next book on my to-read list—not a good feeling. I couldn’t find fault with the characters—I wasn’t annoyed by them, they weren’t stupid—the story just didn’t grip me. I wish it had, because it was a wonderfully descriptive and well developed world. So that, again, makes me wonder whether I would have enjoyed this book more had I read it a few years back.

Perhaps, I wouldn’t have. I’m not a fantasy reader. Dragons and kingdoms aren’t my thing. And this book, it has a lot of that. There a few scenes set back in the human world, but the book has a predominant chunk of it set in Nevernever, the land of the fey. There are all sorts of creatures introduced, so many that I can’t remember even half of them. I think there may have been a giant metallic horse at one point. I particularly liked that—oh, and the talking cat. But that just gets me reminiscent of my childhood, growing up with Salem on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. This cat had plenty of attitude and often ignored wisdom quite like Sabrina’s familiar.

Looking back at the publication date, this book has been around for at least four years now, so I can forgive it for the love triangle that appeared to be brewing throughout this instalment. It didn’t really feel like there was much of a romance at all, personally. We do get some kissing scenes, but the lead up to them was almost non-existent. It was like BAM, ‘I’ve always had these feelings for you. We must kiss now.’ Maybe I missed something, but it felt really out of nowhere to me. I would have been happy if they’d left the romance until book two. Considering how things played out, it would have seemed justified that these feelings had grown.

While the romance and the heavily fantasy-laden setting may not have worked for me, I think it pulled off the action scenes quite well. They were spaced all throughout the book, with new discoveries happening consistently, rather than leaving the bulk of it until the final quarter like other books of its time. If you like ‘quest’ novels, you’ll probably actually enjoy this one a lot. They don’t really work for me though, mainly because I find myself bored when characters are sent off on journeys through the woods, encountering trouble—and new friends—along the way. But considering I’ve already bought all of the books, I know I’ll be checking out the sequel eventually.

Recommended to:
Those who enjoy fantasy worlds with evil kings and queens, dashing princes, and a range of creatures trying to either trick or eat you.