Review of “The Iron King” by Julie Kagawa

I enjoyed the “Blood of Eden” series by this author, so I thought I would try her earlier “Iron Fey” series.

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The Iron King introduces Meghan (“Meg”) Chase, who, at age 16, finds out she is half-fey: the product of a one-night stand between her human mother and Oberon, Lord of the Faery Summer Court. What triggers this new knowledge is the fact that her 4-year-old (all human) half-brother has been captured by goblins, creatures the likes of which she never would have dreamed. She enlists the help of her best friend Robbie to get Ethan back.

Robbie, it turns out, is actually Robin Goodfellow, or Puck, a member of Oberon’s court, and it is he who tells Meg who (and what) she really is. When Meg and Puck enter the land of the fey, called Nevernever, to go after Ethan, they discover that Ethan has been taken not by faeries from the Summer or Winter Courts, but by a new, previously unknown species of fey in an “Iron” Court. This realm arose from dreams of science and technology rather than of elves and sprites. Its existence, and its growing hegemony over the minds and hearts of humankind, is killing off the Nevernever and the fey who inhabit it. Neither the Winter nor Summer Court is aware of the rise of the Iron fey, and Meg is determined to warn them of the danger.

Meg and Puck are joined in their quest to reclaim Ethan by Ash, Prince of the Winter Court. Ash made a promise to help the two attack the Iron Court and rescue Ethan if Meg agreed to return with Ash to the Winter Court. Ash’s mother Mab, Queen of the Winter Court, would like to use Meg to get to Meg’s father Oberon, who is Mab’s enemy. Meg will do anything to rescue her little brother, and consents. Needless to say, Ash and Meg fall for each other. But Summer and Winter cannot be together, and Ash, at least, resists the attraction.

Discussion: This series is full of fey of every sort and derivation, but they are not gratuitously included: the author is making a point about the wealth of imagination versus the limitations of logic; i.e., the “magical, capricious, illogical, and unexplainable” versus science and technology, “which folds everything into neat, logical, well-explained packages.” The Nevernever land of faeries is dying because humankind is losing its faith in anything but science. Even children, formerly reliable in the imagination and creativity departments, are now consumed with gadgets, computers, or video games. The helpful talking faery cat Grimalkin explains to Meghan:

“As cities grow and technology takes over the world, belief and imagination fade away, and so do we.”

It’s an interesting conceit, if not totally original, but the characters are likable enough that I want to continue on, to see how they fare.

Evaluation: Kagawa is not yet showing the level of skill she displays with the “Blood of Eden” books. Nevertheless, this book is an entertaining read, and it seems like a promising series.

Rating: 3/5

Published by Harlequin Teen, 2010

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9 Responses to Review of “The Iron King” by Julie Kagawa

  1. sandynawrot says:

    At the risk of sounding completely obnoxious, if I even hear the word “fey” in relation to anything (book, movie, whatever) I tune out. I should probably at least try one someday…a really good one, just to see.

  2. I just, eh, I tried this, and I think it was too much like the rest of all the YA out there — I got fed up and abandoned it halfway through. It’s good to know that it’s not as good as Julie Kagawa can be. I’ve been discounting her later work on the basis of disliking The Iron King, but maybe I will give it a try after all.

  3. BermudaOnion says:

    You’re not gonna believe this, but I’ve actually read this book! I didn’t hate it but I didn’t like it enough to continue with the series. I think that’s a reflection of my taste, though, and not a reflection on the book.

  4. Beth F says:

    I read the first three in this series and enjoyed them. Good entertainment. But for some reason I never went back to read the additional entries. (BTW: I’m skipping your Burn review until I have a chance to read the book)

  5. Kailana says:

    I have been meaning to try this since it came out… Still haven’t… I have the audio actually, so should give it a listen!

  6. trish422 says:

    I read this series, and while I’m reasonably sure I enjoyed it, I seriously don’t remember much…probably not a good sign, but then again, when you read quickly and for pure entertainment, sometimes things just don’t stick.

  7. I love the covers on the the books in this series, but haven’t gotten to the point of wanting to read them. I read the Blood of Eden books and like them a lot, so I was curious to know how these compared.

  8. Vee says:

    I actually just checked this ebook out from my library based on some of the praise it received on Goodreads. I wanted an entertaining read for the cold, snowy days ahead. Now, you all have me wondering if this one was a good choice. I’ll try it and see what I think….

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