BOOK REVIEW: THE IRON KING BY JULIE KAGAWA Fantasy, YA (age 9+) Harlequin Teen, Jan 2010
On her 16th birthday, Meghan Chase is drawn into the world of FaBOOK REVIEW: THE IRON KING BY JULIE KAGAWA Fantasy, YA (age 9+) Harlequin Teen, Jan 2010
On her 16th birthday, Meghan Chase is drawn into the world of Faery adventure. She's always wondered why her father disappeared on her 6th birthday, and when her half-brother, Ethan, turns into a changeling, Meghan must save them both.
Actually the daughter of Oberin (from A Midsummer's Night Dream), Meghan is a Faery summer princess, and as she fights an evil Iron King, she falls head over heels in love with a winter prince.
Meghan's faithful friend, Robbie, turns out to be Puck (also from A Midsummer's Night Dream), who helps her navigate through Faeryland. They enter through Ethan's bedroom closet, and after that moment, Meghan's life changes forever. She's no longer just the daughter of a beautiful mother who loves her but has too little time for her, no longer just the step-daughter of a pig farmer, and no longer just the kid that the cheerleaders and jocks make fun of all the time.
The Iron King is a YA fantasy with a touch of romance. Written in first person point of view, it maintains a deep insight into Meghan's thoughts and feelings throughout the book. It opens by showing the reader an adorable Ethan, a miserable Meghan who has to wear junk clothes to school while her classmates taunt her, and an okay step-dad who doesn't seem to notice her existence. The reader is immediately drawn into the story and captivated by both Meghan and Ethan.
But when Ethan changes from a loving four-year-old boy into a monster who bites her, Meghan is cast into her Faery adventure. The book changes tone at this point and shifts from a story about a kid in high school to an adventure story.
We see goblins, satyrs, elves of all kind, chimera, trolls, ogres, gnomes, dwarves, mermaids, and many other Faery creatures. Along with Puck, who obviously likes her a lot, Meghan has another companion on her journey: Ash, a prince and the son of the Unseelie Court. Meghan totally falls for Ash, but in the meantime…
The evil Iron King, Machina, wants her to be his Queen, promising her eternal life and freedom for Ethan. But Machine is more evil than a comic book villain: he and his fey are a new species of Faery, born from a jumble of technology and complete with creepy tentacle-like cables. If Meghan, Puck, or Ash can't stop him, Machina could kill everyone in both the summer and winter courts.
The Iron King features nice pacing and lovely prose. The plot is fairly standard with a nice twist around Machina (those creepy cables are flippin' cool), and the characters of Meghan and Ethan are captivating. There's a great cat in this book, too, which is a definite plus. Julie Kagawa draws settings that remind the reader of Alice in Wonderland crossed with the movie Labyrinth and maybe even crossed a little with The Spiderwick Chronicles with its goblins and "human" cages. Overall, this is a fun Faery adventure book.