***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
My first complaint as always is I couldn't find a Hardcover Copy and I'm of the personal belief that every book should have a hardcover copy for those readers who want to keep a book for years and years and keep rereading it a few times. Paperbacks just do not withstand the test of time as well as hardcovers. Anyway that's beside the point.
This book introduces the character of Meghan Chase, a half-human, half-fairy who is the illegitimate daughter of Oberon, King of the Summer or Seelie Court of Fairies. While there are many stories out there which involve the Fae, the Seelie and Unseelie Court, this one has a whole new take on things. Yes I'll admit she brought many of her characters from Shakespeare's a Midsummer Night's Dream which is obvious in that she often refers to the play by name in the course of the story. However compared to other recent releases involving the Fae such as Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series or Cheyene McCray's Magic Series, it sort of turns the Fae World upside down. That's one of my favorite things about the Iron Fey Series is the fresh take on the Fae and the courts, the way she build an entirely new world in introducing Meghan, Puck and Ash.
It's the day before Meghan's 16th birthday when this story opens and you can't help but feel sorry for her, she doesn't know where she really came from until later in the story. She knows that only her four year old brother who honestly doesn't really behave like a four year old, seems to remember her birthday or even remember her. Her father disappeared on her 6th birthday, her stepfather forgets she exist only a few minutes after looking at her, and her entire wardrobe is thrift store bought. She's got none of the technological advances that most kids considered entitled to them and unlike most kids who expect gifts and a cake on their birthday all Meghan is hoping is the her mom actually follows through on taking her to get her learner's permit. While her younger brother is sort of endearing the rest of Meghan's family leaves much to be desired and it's actually kind of hard to understand just why she loves them so much. At best I'd consider her parents neglectful. The afternoon before her birthday she's excited to actually tutor the quarterback of the football team who she's had a crush on for two years only to have him first insult her, then to have the computer get hijacked with weird messages about someone coming for her and an insult to the quarterback himself which he of course blames Meghan for. As a wonderful birthday revenge the following day the quarterback gets someone to Photoshop a photo of her making her appear naked and not appealing so and sends it to the phone of every student in the school. What a wonderful way to say Happy Birthday. As if things couldn't get worse she comes home to find her mother on the floor of the kitchen passed out in a pool of blood, with her younger brother smiling about it. When her stepfather later takes her mother to ER and leaves her to babysit Ethan who attacks her taking a bite of out her leg. Having seen some decidedly odd things throughout the course of the day when her best friend shows up revealing he's actually Puck, the jester of the Seelie court and her younger brother is a changeling, and Ethan has been kidnapped she just goes with and journeys into NeverNever the land of the Fae to save her brother. I will agree with other reviewers in saying it is a bit odd that she never questions any of it, as unbelievable as this plot twist would be to a normal person. And I think it would have greatly added to Meghan's depth of character had she been a little bit more questioning and doubtful of this strange twist of fate.
The story then begins to take on an Alice in Wonderland sort of feel as she travels into the NeverNever, chased by Ash, sleeping in a tree, and then meeting Grimalkin, the mysterious talking cat. She's taken hostage by Goblins, followed by basically imprisonment in the Summer Court only to then be hunted down by the prince of the Winter Court Ash with whom she shares a strange attraction. A lot of the time Meghan seems to be a victim and she enters into deals with show no concern for her own well being. Her entire drive centers around saving Ethan. The story is a little odd and hard to get into in the beginning, you mostly keep reading because there are a lot of huh? moments that you want an explanation for, but as she enters the NeverNever and you meet an entire new world of beings, politics and magic you become quickly engrossed in Meghan's story. While there is a bit of a love story between Ash and Meghan, it's not really played up on and mostly focuses on physical attraction, leaving a lot to be desired as far as their relationship goes. However as far as an adventure goes, the Iron King isn't one to be missed and I would recommend the story to any reader of Fantasy.