The Iron King is one of those books that I’ve seen around the blogosphere for a really long time now but just never got around to reading it. Then, on 21st January 2011 it was published in the UK and it seemed like the right time to pick up the book. Now, I freely admit that I’m not a big reader of fey stories and I honestly didn’t know whether I was going to like this book, I just knew that I WANTED to like the book as it had received such good reviews. I started reading and immediately liked it but the first four chapters freaked me out so badly that I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I’m not kidding. I have to say though that I did myself no favours by reading in the early hours of the morning in a dimly lit room with the wind howling outside. So, let me make something clear to you. DO NOT start reading this book under THOSE particular set of circumstances because if you’re anything like me, then your imagination will run wild. It was silly really and I found myself thinking “how can I be scared of faeries, this is ridiculous?!” but of course I wasn’t banking on ‘meeting’ faeries with homicidal tendencies.
It is with slight trepidation that I carried on reading but boy, I’m glad I did. Because it wasn’t scary anymore and I became immersed into that world, a world I would describe as Alice in Wonderland meets Labyrinth. Sounds interesting, right? Let me tell you a bit about what The Iron King is about. On this particular occasion, I’m going to cheat by grabbing the synopsis from Goodreads:
“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.”
Every time I read that, I immediately think “ooooooooooooh” LOL. I really enjoyed The Iron King and it kinda took me by surprise considering my early admission about reading/liking fey stories. I thought the writing was excellent, I loved the characters and I really fell into the whole concept of the story. And of course, there is Ash the dark winter prince. I’d heard mumblings of “Team Ash” and “Team Puck” some time ago now and at that time, I wondered which team I would be on. I was still questioning this as I was reading and I’m still not sure! I LOVE Ash and I think I’m leaning towards Team Ash but I have a little soft spot for dear old Puck too. Inventive, witty, clever Puck who is a loyal friend to Meghan (I suspect there may be more to it than that actually) who seems to be able to get out of any tricky situation. There were a lot of times when Puck made me laugh and I appreciated the light relief!
But Ash, oh Ash. He’s brave, dashing, very dangerous and thus verrrrrrry sexy. I absolutely ADORE how the relationship between Meghan and Ash starts and how it develops throughout the book. It’s exciting and dangerous but then it becomes sweeter as we learn more about the characters and their affections for one another grow.
I also liked the sparring between Ash and Puck although part of me wishes that they could be friends again. I did enjoy the scenes between them and also the scenes between Ash and Meghan. Meghan is of course the main narrator of the story and so we see everything through her eyes. She has an amazing strength of will in that she will never give up looking for her brother and this drives her every action. What I liked about Meghan is that she is seemingly nothing special in that she could be me or you or anyone. I thought Meghan’s teenage voice was spot on and it was nice to see the changes in her attitude and demeanour as the book went on. She certainly grew up a bit.
Another favourite character was Grimalkin, the cat. I could see and hear him as plain as day and kept imagining a deep, British voice circa Stephen Fry. He also appeared to have the same dry sense of humour shared by Stephen Fry too so if this ever gets made into a movie, he’s your Grimalkin.
With regards to the story, I will admit to getting a little lost at times with regards to remembering the different courts but I think I’ve got it now. I would really have appreciated some kind of map in the front of the book though, which I think would have helped. Overall though, I’m really surprised at how much I enjoyed this book and definitely want to carry on with the series. You’ll be pleased to know that the story doesn’t end on a cliffhanger as such, but you KNOW there’s more and you WANT more.
The Iron King has magic, mystery, faeries, romance, humour – you name it, it’s in there! I thought this was a fantastic debut from Julie Kagawa and I can’t wait to read the next instalment “The Iron Daughter” which is already published in the US and is released in the UK on 15th April, 2011. Thank you to Mira Ink for providing me with a review copy of the book.
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