Book: The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa, Harlequin Teen, 2010, 363 pages, young adult fantasy.
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.
I loved reading this book! I have heard so much about it, all good, that I don't know why it took me so long to read. Once I got started, I could hardly put it down. The world that Kagawa creates is wonderful, somewhere between A Midsummer Night's Dream and Peter Pan - an interesting, yet creepy and dangerous, faery tale world.
I took notes while I read this book, yet I promptly lost them and so hopefully I can remember all of the things I wanted to say about this book. Here goes.
First off, Kagawa introduces us to a typical, unpopular teen girl named Meghan. She is about to turn 16, is poor and gets teased or ignored at school and even at home. She dreams of a fairy tale sweet 16, but knows it will never be for her. I'll have to admit, I found Meghan a bit whiny at this point, but it doesn't last long.
On her 16th birthday, her brother gets kidnapped by Fey who leave a horrible changeling in his place. Meghan learns her best friend, Robbie, is also Fey and they set off into the Nevernever to rescue her brother. This is a terrible and magical place where danger lurks behind every corner and word spoken.
It is so interesting how Kagawa juxtaposes Meghan's faery tail imagination with the harsh reality of the "real" faery world. I really felt for Meghan, willing to do anything to save her brother and trying to navigate her way through this unknown world where she doesn't know the rules. This new world is nothing like the one she had dreamed about.
There is also the dichotomy created between Puck, Meghan's best friend and trickster of the Summer world, and Ash, the Ice prince. They are so different and it will be interesting to see how the triangle works itself out as the series goes on.
Then there is the way Kagawa sets up the battle between imagination and technology. The regular Fey rely on imagination and songs being sung about them to survive. The new Iron Fey are a result of technology and modern beliefs and cannot cohabitate with the older, more traditional fey.
My one criticism of the book is that Meghan needs to be saved all the time. She has some power that gets alluded to a lot, so am eager to see it developed in the next books, but even when she is strong and does something brave, she still needs to be saved.
Overall, there are some masterful dichotomies set up in this book which make up the major themes. Even among the traditional Fey, there is the separation between summer and winter, and the two sides do not get along.
I highly recommend this book. The world created is wonderful, descriptive and vivid. The story is engaging. Those who like faeries are sure to like this book, along with those who like romance and love triangles. This is a fun book that is easy to read and transports you easily into its world.
Here is the book trailer from YouTube: