Amelia, the pragmatic idealist's Reviews > The Iron King

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
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The Iron King was an enjoyable read, but not exactly a memorable one. And while there were certain elements to it that were fairly original, the majority of the story felt like the same old tired scenario that Holly Black and Melissa Marr have already used. And because I'm ornery for details - the linguistically accurate term is fay, not fey. Just saying.

For a protagonist, I certainly enjoyed Meghan Chase more than whosit from the Holly Black book and Madam Skank from the other author's book. Though prone to rash decisions and over-assumptive, Meghan seemed to have a good head on her shoulders and, when she wasn't jumping to conclusions, was a pretty reasonable character. Unlike a lot of other protagonists in fairy books, Meghan's motives and reasons for acting made sense to me, and she was easy to relate to - a definite plus. As for the other characters in The Iron Fey, I have to mention Grimalkin (the talking cat) and Puck...the dude from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Puck makes so many appearances in fiction nowadays, he's practically a stock character, and while I'm not sure I think he's a viable love interest, he was certainly a fun, sympathetic character. I like the way Kagawa portrayed him. Grimalkin the talking cat was definitely my favorite character - by a long shot. I guess I just have a thing for talking animals with a know-it-all and a Nell-if-I-care attitude. I tell you what, Grimalkin definitely had the best lines, that's for sure.
And it just wouldn't be a modern fairy story without Meghan falling in love with a fairy...dude. Sorry, but for me, Prince Ash was the worst character in the book. I know he and Meghan are going to end up together - surely - but it's a shame. One of the drawbacks I've encountered in paranormal fiction is the near-constant appearance of this type of love interest: the smooth-talking, cocky, oft-smirking bad boy (view spoiler). I just don't like bad boy characters as love interests, and I'd rather see them done-in than reformed, to be honest. So every scene with Ash had me rolling my eyes. And really, it's the reason I'm not keen on continuing the series with The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen - I don't think I can stomach more Ash. Blah.

It's a shame, too, because Julie Kagawa is a more than decent writer. Her style isn't overly-wordy and flowing with pace-slowing descriptions, but it isn't choppy, either. However, there was a repetitious pattern I noticed in The Iron King's plot. I can't tell you how many times Meghan and company would encounter scary, nasty creatures...then escape. Then they'd encounter more scary, nasty creatures...then escape. Here's something that I've noticed: it really doesn't matter how many scary, nasty creatures the characters encounter. It really doesn't. Because if the reader has guessed that nobody's gonna die, and nobody's gonna lose a limb...it just doesn't have the same effect.
As far as fairy books go, I'm not exactly sure why authors feel the need to portray fairies the same, worn way. The problem with portraying fairies amorally is that you really can't turn around and call the 'good guys.' Both of the courts (Summer and Winter, if I remember correctly) were portrayed the same way - so who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys? When the "good guy" characters act almost exactly like the "bad guy" characters, what kind of contrast exists? Tell me, how are Mab and Titania any different? And yet one is queen of the Unseelie Court...Unseelie usually implying malevolent. No contrast. And that's what frustrated me about the portrayal of fairies. (view spoiler).

Though I sound critical, I still enjoyed The Iron King, and I'm glad I read it. It was entertaining, but I don't really feel an overwhelming urge to continue the series.
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Reading Progress

05/31/2010 page 85
22.14% "I'm really impatient for Ash to appear!"
06/01/2010 page 148
38.54% "hmmm"

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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message 1: by Brooke (new) - added it

Brooke Haha, I'm going to buy this one soon, I hope it's good! Look forward to your review :o)


I am Bastet Amelia--this one has been sitting on my shelf for a while! lol maybe we can read it at the same time :-P


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist it's pretty good so far :]


I am Bastet Omg you are having the WORST luck with faeries! It makes me sad, because faeries are my favorite supernatural creature. Ok, I think you should read The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw. It's a children's book, so it's clean, and it's a really sweet story.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist The funny thing, Isis, is that I actually liked this book! It was fun and overall enjoyable - definitely better than Tithe and WF, the nefarious other faerie books I've read. I'll have to post a review later, but I did enjoy this one :) I'll explain in the review!


Kat Kennedy Hmmm, that's a shame - I was looking forward to reading this one.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I love how honest you are in your reviews Amelia! I'm glad you ahd a better experience with this one!


I am Bastet Wondrous Strange is a little different, but it's not in another world or anything. Some of the faeries are still rather... morally ambiguous. Just warning you :-P BUT, I think you'll like it--at least better than Marr and black. :)


I am Bastet Ok I really think you'd like The Moorchild--it is based on folklore, and the faeries live in a hill and are actually called "the folk" and the main character is a changeling. :)


Betsy Artiles Im reading This book now I a Totally agree with you On how Meghan makes the dumbest decisions while I am reading I Get The urge to reach in and smack her sometimes lol The Story Is Good It has me Entertained so Far But Meghan is really annoying me right now..


message 11: by Cory (new) - added it

Cory I totally agree. I hate it when authors butcher mythology. It's exactly why I don't like the Percy Jackson series. That being said I might read this soon if it's kinda like Wicked Lovely. While not fantastic, it's pretty decent compared to all the horrible vampire paranormal books out right now.


message 12: by Daphne (last edited May 13, 2011 03:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Daphne Delacroix I didn't exactly like the resemblance between Wicked Lovely and the book.Nor did I like the back-bone given by A Midsummer Night's Dream. Too cliche, and Titania and Oberon were Faery King and Queen. Oberon should be nicer to his only daughter and Titania, too. She was Oberon's blood, and yet even the staff was not nice to her! WTF?! I kinda pictured them as perfection, a picture of warmth. They're elves, they should be warm and loving, like usual. The characterisitc of mythical creatures should remain the same in any book.

The one thing that should have been cliche were the characteristics of the creatures and that was wrong. And ASH! Come on, make your appearance!


message 13: by Angela (new) - added it

Angela I know it's been a while since you wrote the review. I bought this book not too long after it came out. Still haven't read it. Is it worth it? I've got nothing new to read now... I enjoyed your take on this book


message 14: by Amanda* (new) - added it

Amanda* Rapp haven't read it yet but hoping to soon. your review makes me second guess myself on if I want to really read it or not but I'll try it out for a size. wish me luck!!!! ; )


message 15: by Lara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lara Lleverino Great review!


Sabrina Thought I was the only one who disliked Ash. lol.


Mitali exactly my thoughts.


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