The Flooze's Reviews > The Iron King

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
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Jun 12, 11

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bookshelves: urban-fantasy-paranormal, owned, vanquished_2010, ya_teen
Read from March 29 to April 01, 2010, read count: 1

**6.12.2011 ETA: Finished book three and this is one of the most frustrating YA series I've read to date. If you've no tolerance for angsty, bratty, obtuse heroines, steer right clear of it.**

**3.5-ish?**

Julie Kagawa’s YA novel is an interesting treatment of Celtic legend, with characters reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and the movie Labyrinth. Kagawa’s vision of Faerie (or the NeverNever) is fully-realized and her particular talent lies in description--her world feels incredibly alive. I can picture most of her landscapes down to the finest detail, yet the prose never feels bogged-down or over-wrought. It’s clear that this rendition of Faerie is oh so vivid in Kagawa’s mind.

Meghan Chase is thrust into this world with absolutely no warning. A socially-awkward teenager with only one true friend, she has no idea how to cope with the series of revelations made on her sixteenth birthday. The most stunning of these is that she’s only half-human, and her parentage makes her a pawn in a game of power. The action that follows is fast-paced. Meghan has people to save, bargains to make, and hunters to avoid--all while adjusting to her newfound status.

Kagawa’s incredible attention to detail makes for some wonderful exchanges between Meghan and her companions. The brief moments of affection between Meghan and her ice-cold prince stand out because of the little things: a light caress, a puff of breath felt against her cheek, a quickened heartbeat. So too does the character of Grimalkin benefit from such impressive detail. Every haughty swish of tail and narrowing of eyes makes his character more lively, more real.

The story also includes some unique twists on the usual Fae lore: the inclusion of steampunk elements. Since any UF reader knows the damage iron can do to the Fae, bringing metal and technology into the NeverNever is frightening. It flies in the face of everything we’re accustomed to, yet it seems logical. Dreams of science, whimsies of technology--it only makes sense that these notions should have power too, and it creates a nice juxtaposition between magic and logic.

So overall, I liked it. But I still had some problems with the story. Firstly, I mentioned both Alice and Labyrinth. Perhaps it’s the recent effusion of Wonderland tie-ins, but the similarity between Grimalkin (who I do love) and the Cheshire Cat is too strong for me. Mad yet logical, helpful yet untrustworthy, and always knowing what’s what, Grimalkin embodies everything that stands out about that Wonderland character. He even has the grin and a penchant for disappearing. Since I love the CC this isn’t too much of a problem, but I kept searching for something that would separate him from the template--I didn’t find it.

As for the connection to Labyrinth…well, if you’re not familiar with the movie this won’t matter, but I am die-hard obsessed with it. I have a funny feeling Kagawa might be as well. There’s a Ludo moment of freeing the friendly beast; goblins who remind me of the Fireys as they debate what type of creature Meghan is; a host of metallic creatures reminiscent of the Humongous at the gates of Goblin City; a quest to save a child; and perhaps most notable of all are the creatures called “pack rats” who pile junk of all kinds onto their backs for safe-keeping. The similarities are striking, and Kagawa’s world suffers for it in the eyes of this fan. Homage is one thing--these parallels run a little too deep.

Continuing along that theme: Whenever I watch Labyrinth, I’m always struck by the fact that I don’t really like Sarah. Similarly, there are times when I don’t feel much affinity for Meghan. She is quick to anger, and her intelligence escapes her at the oddest and most pivotal moments (she too would have ignored the Worm’s warning “Don’t go that way! Never go that way.”) Not the most rational girl, unfortunately. But at her core, she has a good heart and that is what’s most important. Plus she’s 16, so I suppose I must cut her some slack.

But Ash! Her Winter prince. He is (I imagine) centuries old and has the reputation of being a remarkable tactician. So…why would he willingly run headlong into a situation that maximizes his vulnerability? When a sneakier route to success--complete with element of surprise--is readily available? I don’t know, but it severely lowered my estimation of his intelligence. Tactician. Pah.

Lastly, I think the line editor's attention wavered at times. People who already had their arms crossed did so again two lines later, and folks who were standing were suddenly kneeling then standing again (perhaps they thought they were at a Catholic mass). The "first time" Ash uses Meghan's name is actually the second. Niggly things like that tend to bother me. It makes me want my red pen (unfortunately, not an option with an e-book).

Indeed, there are some issues with this novel. Most of them rear their warped little heads about half-way through. In spite of this, I praise Kagawa for her vision, her masterful descriptions, the steampunk twist, and for her ability to weave Celtic mythology into the text. It’s a very vivid world, and I will certainly visit it again.
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Quotes The Flooze Liked

Julie Kagawa
“My closet!" hissed the figure. A spiderlike hand darted out and grabbed the doorknob. "My closet! Mine!" And it slammed the door with a bang.”
Julie Kagawa, The Iron King

Julie Kagawa
“Oh, we're playing nice now? Shall we have tea first? Brew up a nice pot of kiss-my-ass?”
Julie Kagawa, The Iron King


Reading Progress

03/29/2010 page 1
0.28% "I am susceptible to mind-control beams." 14 comments
03/30/2010 ""Inflate-a-boob" Angie.
::snort::"
03/30/2010 "Scott's an ASS. But really, are we surprised?"
03/30/2010 "WHOAAA! I didn't see that coming!"
03/30/2010 "Oh, stupid girl. Will 'o the wisp!"
03/31/2010 "Parts of this remind me of Labyrinth, others of Alice in Wonderland." 2 comments
04/01/2010 "I've decided. The entire UF genre is part of an elaborate plot to bolster our belief in the Fae, thereby strengthening their magic. Tricksy." 35 comments

Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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Sabrina This just came up on my Amazon Recommendation list. Can't wait to hear what you think about it.


The Flooze I'll be starting soon. I'm hopeful!


The Flooze Review complete!

I'm trying the Shannon-method of formatting. Oooo! There is bold in there!


The Holy Terror The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "Review complete!

I'm trying the Shannon-method of formatting. Oooo! There is bold in there!"


Lol. I was doing that because I was thinking some people didn't want to read the whole review so the bold and italics kind of make a cliff's notes version.


new_user LOL. Done that from time to time myself. Kind of like bulletin points, but I usually sum at the end anyways for those who want the short and sweet.


The Flooze But how will they KNOW the sum is at the end?

:p

Methinks this bolding method works. Popularity will be MINE!!! Muahhhhahahaha...


Christina Cool.I'm glad you liked this book.I was afraid the hype would kill it. :p
Excellent use of bolding method,indeed. LOL

But..but...you did not care for Ash?
::blinks tear-filled eyes::


Laura Lulu Hey, it's true--I didn't want to read the whole review before I read the book, but I did read the bold parts--ingenious, I say.

Plus, it makes it look more professional review-ish--you are on the road to GR infamy.


message 9: by new_user (last edited Apr 02, 2010 02:10PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

new_user LOL! The bold works. We have customer testimonials.


message 10: by Laura Lulu (last edited Apr 02, 2010 02:20PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Laura Lulu I never used to read reviews, I mean, who has the time? But then I saw "Floozy's Fabulous Formatted Reviews" and I was sold! They changed my life! I'll never miss out on a review again!

--Laura O.
Monee, IL


new_user LMAO! xD


The Holy Terror Awww ... but but, she stole it from me!

::sniff sniff::


new_user That betch. LOL.


Laura Lulu I smell a lawsuit.


The Flooze ::reading thread::

Bold works! :)

Testimonials!! :D

Uh oh... :/

Ohhhh boy... :(


The Flooze Shannon wrote: "Awww ... but but, she stole it from me!

::sniff sniff::"


I gave ya credit, ya cry baby! See, right up there on message 3. Whaddaya want, a cookie?


The Flooze Christina (SilveryStory) wrote: "But..but...you did not care for Ash?
::blinks tear-filled eyes::"


I did like him. Thinking about it more: You ever have one of those moments where you blame the author more than the character? Without spoiling for other folks, I'd say the route taken in that final leg of the trip is not something Ash would readily agree to. It seemed contrary to character.


Christina The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "Christina (SilveryStory) wrote: "But..but...you did not care for Ash?
::blinks tear-filled eyes::"

I did like him. Thinking about it more: You ever have one of those moments where you blame th..."


::beams::
And actually, I thought so too, but I never mind these things so much anymore.Too much UF, too many TSTL choices from the protagonists.I've kinda gotten used to it, lol.


The Flooze No no! You must rebel! Don't succumb!


message 20: by The Holy Terror (last edited Apr 05, 2010 09:06PM) (new) - added it

The Holy Terror The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "Shannon wrote: "Awww ... but but, she stole it from me!

::sniff sniff::"

I gave ya credit, ya cry baby! See, right up there on message 3. Whaddaya want, a cookie?"


For the record I was replying to Laura Lulu's overt praise for your brilliant use of bolding that you so obviously stole from me.

(And now I think I'm going to go all Akeldama on your arse with italics)

So yes, I would like a cookie. Send one posthaste.


message 21: by new_user (last edited Apr 05, 2010 09:05PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

new_user LOL! Most good, Shannon. Most good.


Laura Lulu My sincerest apologies. Something I strive never to be is overt.


The Holy Terror Laura Lulu wrote: "My sincerest apologies. Something I strive never to be is overt."

Why thank you. Your apologies are most appreciated.


The Flooze Shannon wrote: "The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "Shannon wrote: "Awww ... but but, she stole it from me!
::sniff sniff::"
I gave ya credit, ya cry baby! See, right up there on message 3. Whaddaya want, a cookie?..."



Listen, my dearest squash blossom. Who do you think you are calling me a thief?!

Why, I never. I'm keeping all the biccies for myself.


The Holy Terror Lol, you win. I'm bored with this.


The Flooze LOL.

I was wondering when that would happen.


Ariana I agree fully on this stupid book. The idea and story were alright but the choices and dialogue and spelling were unreal and poorly planned. I did see the labyrinth connection too.


Ariana I agree fully on this stupid book. The idea and story were alright but the choices and dialogue and spelling were unreal and poorly planned. I did see the labyrinth connection too.


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