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.
Julie Kagawa has created an interesting world that I can see myself becoming immersed in as the story unfolds throughout the rest of the series. The Iron King is an enjoyable read, and is everything I expected it to be.
Something that stands out to me first and foremost about this book is it's use of well-known faery mythology, as it were. A Midsummer's Night Dream is one of my favourites, and so I did enjoy having the little "mmhmmm" and giggly moments as such well known characters as Puck, Oberon and Titania were introduced. I was definitely with Meghan in those moments! Kagawa develops the story in a way that truly makes it her own however, and it was this that won me over in the end more than anything.
To begin with, I found The Iron King a little slow. Much of the dialogue felt stiff to me, and I didn't instantly like Meghan. Her crush on popular jock, Scott, had me rolling my eyes - yes, I get that we all crush on that gorgeous, unattainable guy, fine. But her utter lack of suspicion and completely ignoring Robbie's warning about the lunch incident - that is, Scott swears at her one moment, hugs her the next and invites her to lunch with him while his friends snicker and take their photo? That's where my eye rolling moments come into play. Maybe if she had have heeded her best-friend-forevers advice, just a little bit, and then still chosen to go ahead and meet Scott, I wouldn't be so exasperated. But as it stood, I truly didn't feel Robbie and Meghan's supposed long and deep friendship - she was much too blase with him, I thought. To be honest, that whole Scott bit set up exactly how the romance of this book was going to play out, which was a little disappointing.
I've said it in other reviews - I'm not a big fan of the instant love for the brooding hot guy. I want romance and actual development. So Meghan and Ash's love fell a bit short for me. While I felt that Kagawa certainly built the tension between them in certain moments - their dance, their hug, their first kiss - it all happened just that bit too quick. I mean really. Ash threatens to kill her one moment and then they're kissing and oh so in love the next. I just didn't feel it. This would be my biggest regret with this book, that I didn't have any sighing or cheering moments for their romance. I've been told however that by the time I finish the rest of the books in the series, I will be feeling it, so I guess I'll see. Certainly the revelation about Ash's relationship with Ariella (which I'm not going into detail about) helped me to at least be intrigued by Ash, a character I was feeling nothing for prior to that.
Kagawa's world building is what won me over in the end, as I said. From the moment Meghan entered the faery world the book was almost unputdownable (unfortunately the non-romance romance aspect had me taking breaks). Kagawa's descriptions completely drew me in so that I was able to see the characters and the world as if they were right in front of me. My toes curled every time a Red Cap appeared, as if afraid of being eaten! There was just so much to her world and story - the rival Courts, the goblins, the oracle, the Iron Knights, the pack rats, Meghan's non-biological father's back story! All of it came together perfectly, and the battles were breathtaking. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Kagawa's words! I keep trying to think of how Paul will come into the story...oh, the suspense!
As for the characters, hands down I love Grimalkin. I can't help but picture the Cheshire Cat! What a sarcastic know-it-all! I don't trust him, but he intrigues me so much that I'd read the rest of the series for him alone if I wasn't already so immersed in Kagawa's world. Another character I'm looking forward to more of is Puck/Robbie. I admit to being a little disappointed by him too - not as a character, but that his relationship with Meghan wasn't more standout. The thing is however, I don't trust him. As Oberon's pawn, I feel like I can't trust him, and so I think that's why I'm only a tad upset that he wasn't more of a contender for Meghan's love. But I would've liked to see - and feel - more of their relationship. For now, it was simply too jokey, if that makes sense? Maybe if you've read the book?
Overall, The Iron King is a good start to a series. I'm not feeling many of the relationships, but Kagawa's descriptions and the intrigue of some of her characters certainly make me want to read more, at least.
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published Date: 1st February 2010
Series: The Iron Fey, Book 1