Hi, friends! Thank you for returning to my blog, or visiting for the first time! I hope you are having a brilliant
Today, I will be reviewing a book called The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. I am fairly certain that every person on the entire internet has read this book. And I loved the idea, the blurb and the title. So, you may be wondering, why, oh why, did I not pick this up until recently?
Well, purely because many things have gotten in the way of me reading this. I find other books, then I check my local library and it's out, and then I find other books and it just gets pushed back further and further. Please tell me in the comments or with a tweet if you can relate to this.. Anyways, it's been in my TBR pile for ages, and I finally got round to reading it. I borrowed out the entire series, and read the first three over the space of two days. Obsession? Maybe. Good writing, and me getting into the series? The excuse I'm using for obsessing over this story.
This book is about faeries, and is a very cleverly executed play on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. (I love Shakespeare, so this already had me hooked.) Meghan Chase has always known something was different about her, ever since her father disappeared in front of her when she was six. She has always felt like her mother was running from something, always felt like an outsider. On her sixteenth birthday, everything changes. When darker, magic forces threaten her family, she is thrown into the world of the fey, and must battle and fight to save what she loves. She joins forces with her best friend, who isn't who he claimed to be, a talking cat and a broody, dark faery prince to help her on her quest, but she soon realises that this is no longer just a rescue mission, but something much darker and more dangerous, something that she plays a crucial role in. Something that she can no longer run from.
I quite liked this book, and desperately loved the world it was set in, so I suggest if you haven't read it, you go to your nearest book shop or library and get yourself a copy (don't delay like I did).
Well. This book, and entire series, is nothing like I imagined it. I guess that's the case with all good books, however. You come into it thinking one thing and come out thinking another. Anyways, I will explain why
I loved this book in a way that will probably maybe hopefully not be a positive rant.
As a fan of Shakespeare, I am always excited to see references to him in any book. This is arguably the reason I picked up The Fault in Our Stars (besides the internet having a fit over it, which did make me curious). And the blurb of this book did not explain that this would be inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream, so I was completely surprised when I found out Robbie was Puck. I almost jumped with excitement. I hoped that this play on Shakespeare's work would carry through the whole thing successfully, and not just start and end with Puck. Thankfully, and to my utmost joy, it did.
As soon as we met Oberon, I was sure that she was the Princess. In fact, as soon as Robbie called her 'Princess' in the first chapter, I was certain it wasn't just a cute pet name. It was pretty predictable, but there is no way to make it a surprise, if you know what I mean. I'm sure no one was shocked when Hagrid said, "You're a wizard, Harry" in Harry Potter. It's the type of thing you can't really make shocking (much like Ash's "death", but I'll get to that later). I loved the way Titania was written, and it just took me back to A Midsummer Night's Dream. I was sad that not only did we see very little of her in this book, but very little of her in the next few books. I would've liked to see her warm to Meghan, maybe even be a tiny bit more motherly to her.
Another very predictable thing was Robbie/Puck's love for Meghan. As soon as I heard him call her 'Princess' (this seems to be a fundamental moment of realisation for me, doesn't it?) I had a feeling this was going to turn into a "best-friend-versus-mysterious-bad-boy love triangle", similar to The Mortal Instruments. And we always know that the Mysterious Bad Boy wins. So as soon as she talked about seeing a dark, attractive boy riding a horse, I had a feeling that he might be critical to the story. And when she saw him at the ball, I knew he was love interest number two.
I must admit, the fact this name was "Ash" made me want to groan a bit, because, well, it's such a… stereotypical-young-adult-fantasy-bad-boy name. But then I remembered that these faeries had a flair for the dramatic, because his older brother's name was Sage, for crying out loud. But it still annoyed a tiny bit. But I loved Ash, because he wasn't like other YA love interests. Exactly. In my mind, he was a quieter Jace, a more cold and calculating Jace (I'm referencing The Mortal Instruments here, go read it if you haven't already). He was just such a nice contrast to Puck, and I loved seeing the three of them interact, and I still do. I liked the way that he didn't just constantly profess his love for her, and constantly throughout the series he's like that. Sometimes I find that with male love interests in YA, they start out cold and cruel to the girl, and then once they finally profess their love, it's like they just can't stop. Every four seconds it's "you're beautiful" or "I love you" or more kisses, and I liked that just because he let Meghan know that he liked her didn't mean that he totally changed the way he was. It was constant throughout the book and throughout the series, and I admire Julie Kagawa for not following the normal path.
One of the best things about this book was the ability Julie Kagawa has to write as if it really is being narrated by an irritated, emotional teenage girl but still have incredibly pretty writing. Some of the words and sentences took my breath away, and this style was completely consistent as I travelled through the first three books. Even though this is from the third book, The Iron Queen, it was one of the most memorable sentences, even though it's not important to the story at all. Grim is sitting at an eating table, where breakfast is laid out, and it says something along the lines of "he observed the opaque, pearly droplets on his paw" (talking about milk of course). It was just so pretty and it made me jealous as an author. Why, oh why, can I not make drinking milk sound as pretty as Julie Kagawa can?
I think the reason why I made this a four star instead of a five star was because things sometimes felt a little too angsty or a little too… dramatic. I know Ash is an angsty character, as with most fey, but his effect on whole storyline made it so angsty that it started to be too dramatic. When Meghan trips and Ash catches her, they just have this awkward moment of staring at each other, I wanted to groan. It reminded me of that moment in the City of Bones movie where Clary fell on top of Jace and they just stayed like that. Ughhhhhh. If it had been Puck who caught Meghan (believe me, I totally think Meg and Ash were perfect for each other, this is just an example), he would've given her a cheeky smile and some smart, sassy quip that would've made the whole scene less groan-worthy and more cutesy. Anyways, I guess having angsty scenes is just an effect of having a more concealed character.
My other major complaint about this book was that Meghan was just a bit… wimpy. Don't get me wrong, if I was in that world, I would be clinging to Ash's legs and refusing to let go until he gave me a sword and some basic fighting lessons, but I'm not a YA protagonist. It just felt kind of deflating that she kept running behind the defences of the males around her. As a feminist, this made me a little irritated, but later on in the series, she asks Ash to teach her how to fight and she becomes stronger and much more tough and willing to fight. In my eyes, her fear to fight for herself in this book is there so it can be developed later on, however, looking at it from just this book's example, it did make me a little unhappy.
Anyways that's my thoughts on The Iron King, and I hope you can leave a comment with your thoughts, along with your twitter name and I will shout you out/follow you :)
Have a terrific day and I'll see you here next week for a recommendation!