Sunday, June 30, 2013

REVIEW: THE IRON KING (The Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King
Series: The Iron Fey, #1
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: February 1, 2010
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My smiley rating: 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.


I was utterly and completely blown away by this book. I had no expectations going into it and though it started off at a snail’s pace, it soon picked up momentum and once I got to the chapter where the terrifying changeling came into the picture, there was no turning back. There’s an unmistakeable dark edge to this story which I found both enticing and mesmeric.  

The Iron King is one of the rare books where I loved absolutely everything about it. I’ll confess that this is the first book I’ve read by Julie Kagawa, but sure as heck will not be the last. I was captivated from the very first page, but two chapters into the story I did feel that it was moving a little too slow for my taste, yet I was too curious about Meghan’s dad’s disappearance to abandon it. Only further on did I realize why it was necessary to get to know Meghan’s family and her life at school first, and find out more about her past. All that background info is vital to the story. The minute I understood that, it was smooth sailing all the way.

Where shall I start? OK, let’s start with Meghan. Ya’ll know by now I have a low tolerance for clich├ęd, bratty female protagonists, right? Well, Meghan ain’t one of “those”. And really, this is where I want to shake the author’s hand and maybe put up a statue in her honor, simply because she had so much faith in her protagonist, she knew she could push her to her limits to show us what Meghan is made of. There is nothing typical about Meghan. She doesn’t have it easy at school (no really, the kids put her through hell), she lives on a pig farm in the boondocks and gets ridiculed by the popular crowd at school, while at home she is practically ignored by her mother, and her stepfather treats her as though she doesn’t exist. But all that is nothing compared to what she has to endure in the Nevernever. Honestly, there were times I was convinced there is no way she was going to make it through to the end in one piece. And I have the utmost respect for an author who can put her protagonist through the wringer again and again and again. What made Meghan even more convincing was that she never pitied herself or complained about the horrors she had to endure, but quietly gave in to her emotions only when there was no-one around to hear her. Meghan is not a butt-kicking character. Still, she showed a strength beyond her years which I could only admire. The rest of the characters – Puck, Ash, Grim, and just about every single character in this novel – is well rounded out and plays an integral part in the development of the plot. It is saturated with memorable characters which you’ll either love to love, or love to hate. But either way, there’s not one bland character in this superb fantasy.

The cat didn’t blink. “Human,” he said, and if a cat could sound patronizing, this one nailed it, “think about the absurdity of that question. I am resting in my tree, minding my own business and wondering if I should hunt today, when you come flying in like a bean sidhe and scare off every bird for miles around. Then, you have the audacity to ask what I want.” He sniffed and gave me a very catlike stare of disdain. “I am aware that mortals are rude and barbaric, but still.”

I have to mention that my number one favorite character is unquestionably Grimalkin, the cat (or rather a Cait Sith). He’s intelligent, sneaky, witty, and proudly embraces every typical cat trait you can think of. My other favorite creature characters were the pack rats. They were incredibly adorable in their odd way; so much so it almost made me cry.

Kagawa’s imaginative and clever world-building in this story is nothing less than spectacular and way beyond impressive! Every single page is an endless feast for the imagination. The combination of fantasy and technology in Faeryland and the modern world, had me marvelling at the resourcefulness of this author’s mind. The breathtaking beauty of the Summer and Winter courts, in stark contrast to the wastelands of the Iron court, helped set the mood of the novel and steadily drew me deeper and deeper into the Nevernever. I also enjoyed the parts of the story that took place in the real world and I was awed at how smoothly the story transitioned between these two worlds. Everything felt so real.

“Oh, we’re playing nice now?” Puck remained seated, looking anything but compliant. “Shall we have tea first? Brew up a nice pot of kiss-my-ass?”

The dialogue is fluid, stimulating and suits each character perfectly. Expect stellar writing, heart-stopping scenes, and an exceptionally riveting plot should you choose to read this book. The sequence of events happens timely, and the action is intense and highly gratifying. To my relief the romance is kept to a minimum and only glides along in the background. I only hope it stays that way for the rest of the series. The ending wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, but it still came to a satisfying conclusion with a wide opening for book two on which to continue.  The Iron King is a book I refused to put down, even when my vision started blurring at the edges, but I simply couldn’t tear myself away from it. I highly recommend it to all who enjoys a fantasy novel filled with characters and creatures born only from the wildest of imaginations. It deserves countless stars for unadulterated fantasy perfection.


Here are the three actors who I think would be perfect for the roles of Meghan, Ash and Puck, should The Iron King ever be optioned for film.

Meghan – Elle Fanning
Ash – Adam Gregory
Puck – Cameron Monaghan


The Iron King by Julie Kagawa has 6409 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon.


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Danielle said...

I love this book so much! The Iron Fey is one of my fav YA series and I highly suggest you read the entire series :) Awesome review

Unknown said...

This is such a good review!!! I totally agree about everything. I was literally nodding to myself in agreement when you mentioned the fluid dialogue and how you love certain characters and love to hate other characters. None of my friends have read this series so I have no one to talk about it with :(. It was great to find a reviewer who has the exact same opinion as I do!