Thursday, 19 September 2013

Review - The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 1 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 363
Rating: 3/5 stars

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.

Meghan was very frustrating. She took a long time to clue into things and was very much a damsel throughout the novel. She was rescued over and over again and it got old quickly. Yes, she was in an unfamiliar, incredibly dangerous place, but she was far too reliant on everyone around her. She was also too trusting, especially in striking bargains all over the place like there were no consequences for her actions. I also found her interactions with Oberon and Titania very frustrating. She was so in denial that she acted like a petty child.

I thought that the romance came out of nowhere. I still have no idea what that was all about. I don’t get why Ash and Meghan even like each other, aside from the fact that she thinks that he’s pretty. I don’t see the attraction. I’ve already forgotten whatever sob story Kagawa gave Ash to explain away his tendency to be an asshole, so it clearly didn’t make much of an impression on me. He was exceedingly average, especially for a character with so much potential for greatness. I mean, he’s an Unseelie prince! He could be such a BAMF.

The plot… kind of sucked. Not only is Machina the dumbest villain name I’ve come across in a very long time, the whole concept of science as the enemy of magic was very contrived. I’ve read this exact plot over and over again. I liked the beginning of the book far more than the middle and end, which isn’t a good sign, in my opinion. Things became quite disjointed, particularly with the forced integration of Ash into the quest.

I like a good rescue mission as much as the next person, and I think that if there had been a better villain I would have liked this plot a lot more. I appreciated Meghan’s dedication to finding her little brother, though I did notice that the parallels with the movie Labyrinth were a tad on the overbearing side. I also really liked the references to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of my favourite Shakespeare comedies. I’ve always been a big fan of fairy folklore, but I was really looking for something new here. I didn’t find that Kagawa added anything to the genre that I’ve never read before, and neither the characters nor the writing made up for it.

The writing is quite juvenile, even for YA. It is evident that it is Kagawa’s first book, especially compared to her later Blood of Eden series. The language is simple, which I appreciate, though I could have used a bit more imagery (a request I never thought I’d make!). I liked some of the descriptions, particularly of the bramble in the Seelie court that changes shape based upon where one wants to go. Aside from that, the writing was pretty unimpressive.

A big fat MEH. I just don’t feel strongly either way about this book. It wasn’t horrible. The worldbuilding was interesting, though it could have been more thought out. It has a lot of potential and growing room for the rest of the series. The characters were frustrating, but not so much so that I couldn’t read past it. I didn’t like Meghan, but I didn’t hate her either. It’s really hard to say whether or not I’ll end up continuing the series. I won’t say that it won’t happen, but I’m not holding my breath until I pick up the next book either.

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