Review: Julie Kagawa – The Iron King

Kagawa_Julie-TheIronKing

Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Harlequin Teen
Rating: 3.5 / 5

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.

Sooo… Truthfully? I’m not so much into Meghan. Really, I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. She’s new to the Nevernever, and she’s trying to learn all the rules on the fly, but she sometimes comes across as too…. stubborn. I’m not sure if that’s the word I’m looking for, but there was something about her I didn’t like.

But let me talk about what I did like, because holy cow there’s a lot.

I really, really loved how different the fae are from humans. No emotions, no conscience, nothing. If they want it, they take it. No regret, no remorse. Really, Oberon’s conversation with Meghan when she comes to the Summer Court sums it up:

“I did not.” Oberon’s look was pitiless, unrepentant. “What do I care for human rituals? I need no permission to take what I want. Besides, had she been truly happy, I would not have been able to sway her.” (p 111)

Oberon’s talking about when he met Meghan’s mom, but this kind of reflects the entire feeling the fae have towards humans. Complete disregard. Humans are nothing compared to the immortal, beautiful fae. Just a blip in time. I love it. So effing much!

So let’s talk about Puck and Ash, because apparently they’re the draw (I really don’t get the trend in YA for romantic triangles. One person has to lose, eventually. I have yet to see a happy ending for all three in a triangle, and no, Jacob from Twilight doesn’t count as a happy ending. It really, really doesn’t). During book one, I had such mixed feelings regarding both of them. They both did things that made me go, “whut?”

Nothing more-so than Ash’s conversation with Meghan when the Winter Court comes to the Summer Court:

“War?” Something cold touched my cheek, and I glanced up to see snowflakes swirling in a lightning-riddled sky. It was eerily beautiful, and I shivered. “What will happen then?”
Ash stepped closer. His fingers came up to brush the hair from my face, sending an electric shock through me from my spine to my toes. His cool breath tickled my ear as he leaned in.
“I’ll kill you,” he whispered, and walked away, joining his brothers at the table. He did not look back. (p 141-142)

Oh, Ash.

So Ash is supposed to be the “mysterious” character who, in reality, is an ass who people are inexplicably attracted to, and while I guess I can get the physical attraction, anything like the conversation above would have had my mental brakes screeching.

Again. Oh, Ash.

Of course, further in the book, we get a little glimpse of Ash behind all the jerkiness:

“Never again,” he muttered, almost to himself. His eyes were still closed, and I wasn’t sure he knew I was there. “I will not watch that happen again. I won’t… lose another… like that. I can’t…” (p 232)

And it was at this point that I started to maybe have a little sympathy for Ash. It doesn’t excuse him being a jerk, especially to Meghan, but his past garners him a little sympathy from me, at any rate.

And Puck. Oh, Puck. My feelings for Puck bounced back and forth repeatedly throughout the series. Sometimes I like him because he does his little tricks, then he does something so jerk-ish that I just loose all liking for him and I have to start from scratch with him.

I’d talk more about Puck, but for some reason, all my highlights and notes are about Ash. Go figure.

I also want to say that Kagawa paints a beautiful picture of the Nevernever, describing the characters and scenery in beautiful detail. The one thing that I didn’t get was much personality, in particular from Ash, and I have a note wondering about insta-love, because all Meghan talks about is how “hot” he is (for lack of a better word).

I also want to say a quick word on the rules of the Nevernever (don’t say ‘thank you’, don’t make promises, etc). On my first read-through of the book, I by-passed it. I didn’t think too much of it (as Meghan tends to do). On the second read-through, my brain went “wtf?” Meghan gets into a lot of trouble because of these rules. And while it was fun watching her work her way out, I also got a little frustrated for the characters; it must suck to live so restrictively. Then again, it’s probably all they know.

The “rules” thing comes into play much, much more in later books, and it gets much more interesting watching Meghan learn to navigate the world of the fae.

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