The Iron King
(The Iron Fey #1)
by Julie Kagawa
genre: urban fantasy, YA
Fantasy meets steampunk. The plot and concept behind the Iron Fey series is brilliant. Imagination and human dreams have given birth to a new type of fairies: iron fey. Mixing traditional characters from A Middsummer Knight’s Dream with characters of her own creation, Kagawa paints a unique world hidden in the doorways and under beds in the mortal realm. Read on to find out why I gave The Iron King a 4 out of 5.
Synopsis 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.
Brilliant. I love the concept of iron fey born from human dreams. It was an added bonus that Kagawa included characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The two worlds blended well even if not so much in the actual story. It’s a great YA adventure and I particularly liked that it was a girl saving a boy.
My one major plot complaint is the definition of “a memory.” Fairies don’t use currency, they trade in favors and other barter systems. At one point, Meghan trades “a single memory” for information vital to her quest. We don’t find out what the memory is until book 2, but here’s the conversation I was having in my head as I was listening:
“I bet [the person] chooses one of the memories of [an important person]. Mm, no. That wouldn’t work because that’s more than one memory. A memory would need to be limited to a single event.”
Kagawa was not listening to my inner monologue and defined “a memory” as all memories of a person. Suddenly the warning made sense. Giving away a memory is like giving away a piece of your soul. Who you are, your essence, is the product of everything that happened to you, every decision you’ve made, and all of the people and influences who have molded you. It made sense for the plot, but given that definition, it’s even more clear that a person is more than a single memory.
I actually liked the love triangle though dark and brooding was a bit tiresome. The dynamic between the two friends and Meghan was interesting and believable; I fell in love with both boys. There went my it’s not cheating if your book boyfriends are in different books theory though I ended up liking one more than the other. Meghan was foolhardy but loyal and determined. My biggest complaint about her us that she’s a passive character. Another reviewer said it perfectly, “I just keep hearing the same inner debate from Meghan and thought she needed to stop thinking about what she should do and just F***ing do it!” I wanted to shake her or dump cold water on her to get her out of her stupor. Way to sit there and leave your brother trapped in the iron realm. I was hoping for a strong female protagonist rescuing her brother, but I got a damsel in distress butchering her way through the adventure with two strong male sidekicks.
I listened to the audio book. Originally, I thought the narrator sounded too old, but by the end I was impressed. I’m not sure if she adjusted or if I just got used to her. Khristine Hvam performed the male voices beautifully and added to the experience. It was very disappointing when the POV changed at book 4 and a male narrator took over. I’d have been happier listening to her read in a male voice the whole time, but I understand how that would be difficult.
The ending was good, slight cliffhanger. It made up for some of the earlier complaints. 4 out of 5 stars.
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