Iron King - July Kagawa
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.
Iron King is a page-turning adventure/romance set in the faery world. I read this book shortly after finishing Lament by Maggie Stiefvater, my first faery book. I'm glad I read Lament first - it only delves gently into faery mythology. Iron King dives right into the deep-end of NeverNever land. If I hadn't had some basic knowledge about faeries, I would have been completely lost. I'd also advise you to read Midnight's Summer Dream before reading Iron King (which I have not done); I think you will appreciate Iron King much more.
Meghan Chase is a pretty boring girl in a small Louisiana town. She lusts after the school jock but will never win that game. She doesn't fit in anywhere, including in her family. Her only friend is Robbie, who is always there to brighten her day. On Meghan's 16th birthday everything changes. She comes home to find her mother collapsed on her floor and her 4 year old half-brother Ethan acting bizarrely. She soon learns that this new, hateful "Ethan" is a changeling, a faery. Ethan has been kidnapped and taken to NeverNever. Meghan can't believe it; faeries aren't real...or are they? Regardless, she'll do anything to save her brother. She heads to NeverNever to find him. With her is loyal Robbie, who is actually the famous Puck of faery legend.
Meghan heads to the Seelie Court of King Oberon. To Meghan's great surprise, she discovers that she is the daughter of King Oberon. This, ultimately, is the cause of all her troubles. She (and little Ethan) is a pawn in a great faery war. Seemingly derailing Meghan's quest to find her brother are the many people who want to kill her. The queen of the Unseelie Court sends her son, the handsome Prince Ash, to deliver Meghan to her. His quest takes a detour when Meghan, Puck, and Ash realize that a new force is present in the faery world, one that threatens them all. The three embark on a journey to rescue Ethan and save the faery world.
I have a few quibbles about the characters in Iron King - they're rather trite. Meghan is best described as "blah." There's really nothing interesting about her other than her determination to save her brother. That, of course, is a very redeemable quality, but she's just boring. Even as she grows stronger and more self-confident throughout the book, I still found her to be a flat character. Puck/Robbie is the classic funny, loyal best friend who is secretly in love with the girl, but she's completely oblivious. Ash is the stereotypical mysterious, handsome bad boy who steals away the heart of the heroine. It's not that the love triangle wasn't interesting - it was...but I've read this plot line 1,000 times. I actually thought the most interesting character was Grimalkin, the giant cat who guides Meghan throughout much of the story. His sarcastic, bemused look on life set added levity but not silliness to the story.
Despite a few misgivings, Iron King was a thoroughly enjoyable tale. The characters encounter a lot of danger along their journey. I kept reading as fast as I could to see what was going to happen next. The faery world is fascinating. Meghan quickly learns how different life is in NeverNever. Things are very black and white. Your word is unbreakable - even if you no longer want to fulfill a promise made. The words "thank you" actually have dangerous significance. Even your name has meaning. Iron King introduces endless mythological creatures. Each creature was interesting in its own right and thanks to Harry Potter and Lament, many were familiar. Iron King ends perfectly set to lead into the sequel; I am definitely excited to read more.
Rating: 4 / 5