Tuesday 23 March 2010

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Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (#Ad)

The Iron King by Julie KagawaThe Iron King by Julie Kagawa

I was sent this review copy for free by Harlequin Teen for the purpose of providing an honest review.

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.
From Amazon US

I was really looking forward to reading this book! It sounded so good, and I was so excited to read it! Then after I read Sophie’s review over on So Many Books, So Little Time, I decided The Iron King would be the next book I would read. I finished it yesterday, and it took me eleven days to read – pretty long, even for me. Did I like the book? I just don’t know. Before I go into to whether I enjoyed it or not, let’s look at the positives.

I loved how this book was inspired by A Midsummer’s Night Dream! King and Queen of the Seelie Court? Oberon and Titania. Puck is an important secondary character. It’s mythology in this story is really cool; the fey are born from the dreams and imaginations of humans, when the dreams and belief fade away, so do the fey. According to this book, Shakespeare was inspired by Oberon, Titania, and Puck, and because his work is so well known, those fey are able to live on without fading. The idea that Shakespeare has kept these fey alive is just so cool, like it could be true.

There are a few things in Sophie’s review I have to agree with. Firstly, I’ve never read The Spiderwick Chronicles, but I have seen the film, and I agree that in some instances, what is described in the book has a similar feel to the movie version of Holly Black’s The Spiderwick Chronicles; the type of fey and what they looked like. This only happened a few times, the rest of the book was what I would call “standard fey”, the type of fey I’m now used to reading about; the sinister and scary, but beautiful and elegant fey. Another point I agree with Sophie about is that Grimaulkin, a talking fey cat, is so similar to the Cheshire Cat, just minus some of the creepiness. I actually really quite liked him, despite finding him annoying at first. His unbothered and arrogant ways, along with his dry wit, make him really amusing, his parts in the novel were some of the most enjoyable.

The plot was pretty unique, and fairly unpredictable, though I would say this is mainly because the book consists of a series of events that flow well into each other, and you just didn’t know what would happen next, rather than you didn’t know the general direction the book was taking. I’m not an expert on folklore, so I could be wrong, but it didn’t feel like much of the story was based on actual folklore – being called The Iron King and being inspired by Shakespear, you would kind of guess that, but I’m not entirely sure if the other elements of the story were all that folklore based. Compared to some other fey books I’ve read, it didn’t feel it, it felt like it was pretty much imagined, which adds to the uniqueness of the story; you’re not sure how this fey story is going to go, because it’s different to the others. It was refreshing.

Now to the negatives that make me unsure. It’s always going to depend on the type of book whether or not I like it when a lot is going on in a book. With this book, it put me off. As I said, the series of events do flow, but it felt at times like there was just obstacle after obstacle, and that Meghan wasn’t finding out anything helpful for her for the reason she was in the Nevernever – Faeryland – in the first place. At times it just didn’t feel like it was getting anywhere, which is why it took me so long to read; it just didn’t grab me.

Meghan is one of those characters who just seems to keep making bad decisions or choices. People have commented in their own reviews before about characters like this in books I’ve loved, but I feel this was a little extreme. I just wanted to shake her sometimes. However, her heart was in the right place, and she was very selfless. Robbie was a pretty nice guy, and I grew to like Puck, but at first he was just too much with his jokes about situations that were just unnecessary. Ash, I don’t really know what to say. Ok, he was gorgeous, but I didn’t feel there was much personality. I also didn’t feel there was much chemistry between Meghan and him either. When they danced was the only time I felt it.

I didn’t completely dislike the book, there is much about the book I did enjoy, it was just that the book didn’t hook me in and that the characters were a little flat and annoying, in my opinion. I will definitely be reading the next in the series, The Iron Daughter, which comes out in August, I want to find out what’s going to happen next, because this plot is just so unique. Hopefully there will be a little more depth to the characters in the next one.
Please read some other reviews before making a decision. Don’t write the book off because my review wasn’t glowing, it may be your cup of tea.

One final point; The Iron King starts off in our world, and then goes the Nevernever, so I’m unsure whether this would be considered urban fantasy or high fantasy. I’m going to label it as both, but anyone who has read it, your opinion is welcome!

Thanks to Harlequin Teen for sending me a review copy.

Published: 1st February 2010
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Julie Kagawa’s Website


  1. Interesting review! Ha, it always gets a bit annoying when you want to shake some sense into the characters ;)

  2. Thanks! Oh, it does, but there were some good moment! :)

  3. I feel the same way about some female characters. When they keep making bad decision after bad decision and you can't help but flinch every time she does it.

    I really enjoy coming to your blog and reading your reviews. I always feel like I get honesty!

    I have an award for you:

  4. It's really great to read such an honest review of this one. I've read so many glowing reviews and it's always useful when somebody gives me another angle. I felt similarly about a faery book I read last year, which seemed to have a lot going on without hooking me. Love the sound of the unique plot though!

  5. Sarah - Thank you so much, I appreciate it! Though some people think that about other characters I love, so I don't normally mind. But this was a little annoying.
    Thank you for the award! I'll go check it out now! :)

    Lauren - I'm glad you liked the review! :) The plot is pretty cool, but I couldn't give too much away without spoiling it.

  6. Aw, sorry you didn't love it. I actually did -- which surprised me, because I'd heard nothing about it prior to getting a review copy. I adored it.

  7. I am so glad you enjoyed it! I was really looking forward to it, but, as I said, there were some aspects that didn't work for me. Nevermind! :)

  8. I enjoyed your review and while I did like Iron King I found Meghan did need a bit more gumption. I am hoping we find this in Iron Daughter.

  9. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :) Me too, I hope a few things are different in The Iron Daughter!

  10. Lovely honest review! It's interesting to see how different people percieve it. I haven't read it yet but I still really want to! :D

  11. Thank you! Oh, I hope you enjoy it when you read it! It's not completely bad, there were a lot of things I liked about it :)

  12. Hmm. I need to read this (I have #2 for review) and I want to like it...Guess we'll see.

  13. Oh, I hope you like it! I'm jealous of you having book 2 to review! Although I had some issues with this one, I still look forward to finding out what happens next! :)

  14. I have to say that I actually loved The Iron King. I til this day is still thinking about this book and the second one. At first though I did feel like you in the sense that the story just took to long to really get to it. I was expecting more of Ash in the beginning, but once Ash was in the story I just couldn't put the book down. The beginning was a little slow, but in the end I loved the book so much I recommend it everyday! lol I like your review on the book though. Better than the one I gave ahaha.

  15. Oh and Misty, I read part 2 and I have to say that Julie out did herself with book two. I think she got right to the point and just kept going! I enjoyed it so much better than part 1!

  16. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, it was just a little slow for me, I'm afraid. Thanks for commenting!