The Iron King (Iron King #1)

The Iron KingBy Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Netgalley

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.

Goodreads Summary

Not unlike a lot of other fantasies, the book begins simply enough: young Meghan Chase, daughter of an impossibly distracted mother, stepdaughter of a father who never seems to remember she exists and general misfit everywhere else, has one friend, a kid that always seems to take a protective interest in her. Everywhere else, she’s that square peg in a round hole, until the day she becomes Alice, chasing the proverbial rabbit (her stepbrother Ethan) down the white hole (a magic portal) with her pal (the actual Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

From there, things are very charming and very adventurous, as well as charmingly adventurously predictable; Kagama does what I thought was pretty innovative in the what ended up being the “paranormal year of the vampires”; she fearlessly throws all sorts of fantasy references into the writers’ vortex, along with her own vivid imagination and plan for the story. It was fun for me to read (I’m not necessarily the intended audience – I’m 42) and pull some of the familiar ones out. From the obvious and stated Midsummer Night’s Dream (most of the cast is here), there are Alice and Wonderland references, some things that are very Where the Wild Things Are, a dab of Willy Wonka, some Peter Pan, a little manga, some Christmas movies I can’t remember the names of, some Wizard of Oz and some crazy imaginative ones of Kagawa’s own. This is wild and Meghan is a consummate Dorothy, always wanting to go home once she finds what it is she’s looking for.

Fortunately, the second part of the book becomes slightly darker and more interesting as Meghan is forced to travel places she’d rather not go and learns to be warier of what she gives away in exchange for information. I know that a relationship between Meghan and Ash needed to be developed, but I think it may have been done a little too quickly a little bit too late; I’d have liked to see it drawn out more. His attitude toward Meghan could best be described as reluctantly gallant a lot of the time, and it was only towards the end that he let some of that slip and seemed to become protective because he wanted to in a romantic way. Nice, yes. Heartbreakingly romantic will have to develop, which I expect it will. I absolutely loved Grimalkin; the big story-saver here was the sarcastic, know-it-all cat who kept popping up in all the right moments. I can’t wait to see the guy running though the rest of the books.

I’ve got Winter’s Passage and The Iron Daughter still in my to-be-read pile, so I’m still forging on and based on this book, I’d recommend anyone else do the same, especially the targeted young adult audience. Despite the issues I may have with Ash and Meghan’s relationship, I think the whole NeverNever world is charming and it’s the very mishmash of all of the different references plus Kagawa’s own that make it a pleasure to turn the page and find out where she’s gone next.

My Rating: A



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