Monday, December 8, 2014

The Iron King by Julia Kagawa - 4.5 stars

Book 1 in the Iron Fey series

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
4.5 stars

So I just did a reread of the series and I still found myself enjoying it immensely. Our main character is Meghan Chase. She's your average girl who has a crazy best friend, Robbie. She lives on a pig farm so she's poor and is an outcast. She's also a half-faery; daughter of Oberon himself. Robbie is actually Robin Goodfellow from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. When he decides not to give Meghan the concoction that hides the fey from her sight, Meghan discovers her true identity.

Of course, not long after she finds out about the fey, her brother is kidnapped by fey. Meghan enlists the help of Robin, aka Puck, to find her rescue her brother from the clutches of the Iron Fey. These Iron Fey are dangerous to the realm because iron is toxic to them. Since Meghan's half-human, iron doesn't affect her.

There are a wide variety of characters. We have Oberon and Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as a lot of different fey creatures. The main cast include Meghan, Puck, a cait sith named Grimalkin, and Prince Ash of the Winter court. Meghan needs help from Ash to find the Iron realm and defeat the Iron King. They strike a deal: Ash would help find and destroy the king and then he would take Meghan to the Winter court.

It's quite obvious from the start that Ash is going to be the love interest in this series. He's the brooding type and distant. He has to be; to survive in the Unseelie court, you have to hide emotions. Emotions make you weak. I found that Meghan and Ash fell in love pretty quickly and I'm definitely not a fan of insta-love. It didn't exactly fall into the insta-love category but it was pretty close.

Meghan goes through many trials and many many fights to the death. She's not really able to defend herself very well so she has to rely on Ash and Puck (spoiler)*. We learn about the faery world through her eyes and it's definitely not a world for the weak at heart. I like how Kagawa introduced us to the world of the fey. There weren't info dumps and Meghan's reactions are very realistic. However, she is a very strong lead and nothing deters her from her mission to save Ethan.

I love Puck and Grimalkin. Puck provides some comic relief and it's obvious that he loves Meghan. He goes against Oberon's orders quite often on her behalf. He has some pretty cool powers and he never knows when to shut up. Some would find it annoying but I didn't. Grimalkin is a cat through and through. He is in it for his own interests as he helps guide Meghan. Of course everything comes with a price and he likes to collect favors. I like his sassyness. He's also not afraid of running from a fight. He disappears when trouble shows up. That's a cat for you.

The climax of the book was definitely interesting and it has lasting effects for the rest of the series (spoiler)**. The actions in the Iron Kingdom and the promises made between the characters add to the complexity of the series and makes everything so much better.

I like the how Kagawa wrote the characters, giving them history and not simply giving us flat characters to help the story along. I think she did a great job writing the story and having it in first person works well for the book. Obviously I recommend this book and the rest of the series. It's enjoyable and an easy read.