Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review: The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King (Iron Fey #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin
Publishing Date: February 2010
Length: 368 pages
Genre: YA, fantasy, paranormal romance

4/5 **** The Iron King- A modern and magical fairy tale that has fire... and ice!

 ~ The Author ~

Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy. 

Author profile by
~ The Novel ~

The Iron King is the first novel in the Iron Fey series, first published in February 2010 by Harlequin. The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen, book two and three in this series were published in August 2010 and January 2011. The Iron Knight, the fourth instalment will be published in November 2011.

Julie also wrote a novella that can be read after The Iron King, named Winters Passage. You can read it for free, click here!

~ The Story ~

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.

Summary by Goodreads 

You can read the first chapter of The Iron King here!

~ The Review ~

A few years ago I read a fairy novel that really disappointed me. I never read a fairy novel again until I won the first two novels in the Iron Fey series from Loni @ A Casual Reader who then with her enthusiasm about the series convinced me to read them.

The Iron King starts with a high-school setting presenting Meghan Chase and her daily problems as a nobody. She is constantly insecure until her story transforms into a quest when her brother is kidnapped by faeries. As terrible this incident is, as positive it is for Meg’s development. Forced to enter the fairy kingdom she dives into her true identity and discoveres who she really is. Meghan is a round character, she still needs to experience her true human and fairy identity and how to combine them. What I like most about her is that she introduces herself, which is no major point, but one small detail that can contribute to a personal relationship between reader and character.

An old grudge between both male protagonists puts a new interest on the relationship between the three of them. Puck is Meghan’s best friend and Ash on the other hand prince of the Winter Court. They are as different in looks as in personality, Puck is playful and warm, Ash cold and rejecting. Each single character, main and secondary, contribute to the constitution  and establishment of the story’s magic atmosphere.

I enjoyed reading about Meghan and Ash slowly falling in love, especially because this one is once again a forbidden love. Meghan, the princess of summer court is not supposed to fall in love with Ash, who is the prince of winter court. Ash and Meghan are in a constant struggle between hot and cold. The cruelty of winter makes you flinch, the hotness of summer warms your heart.

The story around Meghan, Ash and Puck has its origin in the Shakespearean play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Iron King and A Midsummer Night’s Dream have some characters in common like the fairy king Oberon, Queen Titania, Mab and Puck. So Kagawa based her novel on the idea of Shakespeare and further develops her own story around it.

Noticeable is Kagawa’s skilled writing style and her ability of writing beautiful scenes of romance on the one hand and creepy ones on the other hand. Several popular culture references complete the impression of her great writing style.

The Iron King is a fairy novel for people who claim to dislike fairy stories. I am still no fan of pointed ears, but an even bigger fan of the rest that hangs on these two ears and defines the fairy personality.

~ We love this book because…~

1) we can’t resist the sly “Cheshire cat” charm
2) even best fairy friends can stand a horror film marathon
3) we find a new favourite animal in the pack-rat
4) it makes us wanting to (re)read Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
5) of entertaining puns

~ The Verdict ~

The Iron King is a modern fairy novel based on the Shakespearean A Midsummer Night’s Dream with non of its original magic lost. Kagawa invented a beguiling setting and character cast that lay the foundation stone for a great Iron Fey series.


  1. This book has been on my radar for awhile, so I'm happy to see how much you enjoyed it!

    I've also had terrible experiences with YA fairy tales. It can border on super cheesy if done a certain way.

    I think the second (or third?) book came out recently, so I'm excited to get started! :)

  2. great review! i loved the book as well :)

  3. Glad you enjoyed it. It's sad how one book can put you off a whole theme isn't it. Maybe you'll start to love fairy books again :D

  4. YAY! So glad you've read this series!! I just love it so much! Really great review!!

  5. Love the review and Adore the series!! The iron fey series is by far one of my favorite ever. Great review glad you now like fairy books again, who wouldn't after this series lol.

    Kelsey Anne

  6. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed this series! I've been eyeing the first book for my Nook and just hadn't made up my mind yet, so now I'll have to check it out.

  7. i'm going to read this series now! everyone keeps saying it is so amazing! i can't believe i haven't yet!

  8. I love your review! I have read quite a few about the Iron King around different blogs, but none where quite as informative as yours!

    I have to say that I haven't really been a fan of fairies in stories... I read one not long ago (it wasn't YA, it was more like chick-lit) and I didn't really enjoy it. I found it a little cheesy... But this one seems to be different. I think I'm going to try and get my hands on it as soon as possible! Thanks!!!

  9. Honestly, I have yet to read a faery book which I have fallen in love with. I have this book sitting on my shelf for a while now. Maybe it's time I picked it up and gave it a try.

  10. I really loved this series. I found it so clever. And I'm on Team Ash :) Enjoy the rest!

  11. I recently finished reading the first three books in this series. The Iron Fey series was actually the first Fey series that I have read, but I immediately fell in love with them. I totally agree with your "5 reasons". My favorite character, aside from the obvious trio, was Grimalkin. Who wouldn't love a witty feline?? I loved the Midsummer Night's Dream references as well.

    I think what was so refreshing and different about this book, for me at least, was the fact that most of these books takes place in a completely different world. So many of the books today are set in our world, but with a supernatural twist. Don't get me wrong, I love that, but it was so cool to read about the different plants, landscape, and customs.

  12. I'm not a huge fairy fan as well but your review perked up my interest on this book. The author seems to have a great writing style by blending together contradictions of hot and cold,romantic and creepy. Great review! =)

  13. I liked the Cheshire-cat charm, too. And I LOVED the pack rats (says the girl whose blog is Book RAT <--- go figure... ;p )
    But I was less than enamored with this book. Meghan really bothered me. She was SO foolish in a lot of her actions, and I just kept waiting for her to learn something, and she never did. I had a lot of other issues too (which I thought DID improve somewhat in book 2), but I'm not going to re-review it here. Just -- I was a bit disappointed in this.
    But I know I am in the minority in that...

  14. I keep hearing about this series and I have not read it. Glad I'm not the only one jumping on the bandwagon late in the game. I actually really like faeries books like the Need series and Dark Swan (although the latter is more adult). I'll have to read this one soon!

  15. The Iron King has been lying on my shelf forever. I did not know that it is based on the Shakespearean A Midsummer Night’s Dream - now I am definitely reading it soon! Thank you!

  16. I am a fairy fan! I have read only the firt book and I really loved it. I want to read the others. Your review is amazing! I like your five reasons, We love this book.

  17. I was so looking forward to reading this series that when I finished the first book, I was kind of disappointed. I had very high expectations. It was good but not as amazing as I wanted it to be. I loved Ash though, he is such a great character! I am reading Iron Daughter right now. Hopefully it will be better the the 1st book.

  18. This book looks really good! Great review. I will be adding it to my TBR list!