Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Friday, February 22, 2013 9:00 AM
Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Published: February 1, 2010
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Length: 11 hours and 48 minutes
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“But if the Nevernever dies, won’t you disappear, as well?”
“I am a cat,” Grimalkin replied, as if that explained anything.”
― Julie Kagawa, The Iron King

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. (Goodreads)
My Thoughts
Once again, I have fallen prey to all of the hype surrounding a series. I just had to see for myself if the The Iron Fey series was worth all of the hullabaloo, and I have mixed feelings. I'm torn between loving The Iron King and calling it another over-hyped, typical paranormal romance. There were certain aspects that had me rooting for The Iron King and others that majorly turned me off.

For starters, I was thrilled with Kagawa's world building. I loved the Nevernever, and it had everything that makes a "Midsummer's Night Dream" and folklore revolving the world of fey so enchanting. The Fair Folk were just as mischievous as could be imagined. During their revels, fairies were often torn apart limb by limb as the courts lost themselves to ecstasy and bloodlust. There were the Seelie and Unseelie courts, the light and the dark fairies. From what I have gathered in the past, the Seelie court is not always benevolent just as the Unseelie Court is not always malevolent, and Kagawa did a excellent job of portraying both sides. Not to mention, there were a host of other creatures present. There were ogres, goblins, trolls, brownies, pixies, pookas, dwarves, redcaps, changelings, chimera and more.

My favorite creature in The Iron King had to be Grimalkin, and not just because I'm a cat lover. Grimalkin (also known as a cait sith or Devil's Cat) wasn't as devilish as I hoped, but I loved his dry humor and how he closely resembled the Cheshire Cat, appearing and disappearing and then reappearing when it suited him. And then there was Puck, another favorite in this book. While I loved his sense of humor and light-heartedness, I also wanted to mourn the loss of his true nature. He just wasn't puckish enough. While he was a prankster, he didn't even closely resemble the Puck of "Midsummer's Night Dream." What happened to his wicked ways? Instead, he's falling head over heels for Meghan and following her around like a lovesick puppy. He goes against his king's wishes time and again because he can't help but serve his beloved Meghan. That's just too much for me. And he kept calling her Princess. I understand she actually is a princess of the summer court, but it gets old after awhile.

And then there's Ash. My love triangle sensors are tingling. Ash was one of the exceptions to the Unseelie court's malevolent nature. He starts off wanting to kill Meghan, or at least threatening to do so, and then suddenly he's besotted with her. What happened to getting to know each other? And Meghan can't get enough of her Winter Prince as she's constantly staring into his silvery eyes and wanting to run her hands through his midnight black locks. Don't worry about your brother who might be dead or the danger that is lurking nearby. Nah, just fall deeply into Ash's silvery eyes. And Ash really needs to lighten up. In all honesty, I like Puck so much more than Ash so I guess that makes me Team Puck. Yes, there are teams. Like any other typical YA paranormal romance, there are teams. You can tell I can't stand love triangles. For the most part, they serve absolutely no purpose except to heat things up a bit or cause a little drama, and The Iron King is no exception to that rule.

Despite these issues, I loved listening to the audiobook for The Iron King because the narrator was a delight. The voices she did for pixies, redcaps, and just about any of the creatures were so well-done. I could hardly believe it was the same girl. It really entertained me at work, and I think if I had read the book, it would have detracted from the experience. Her voices just made it all the more wonderful.

While I think Kagawa did an excellent job with the world building, I just wish she could have simmered down on the romance. It really took a toll on the originality and left me feeling slightly disappointed. I definitely preferred The Immortal Rules to The Iron King. I'm listening to The Iron Daughter because of my newfound devotion to this narrator and there is kind of a cliff hanger at the end. Why, Kagawa? Why?


  1. Ehhh, yeah I have read a few negative reviews where people have had similar critiques for this one as you and it's kind of scared me off a bit from reading it. I'm not big on romance heavy plots and love triangles either. But from what I understand, the trilogy gets loads better with each book. So I will probably read it at sometime, go into it with lowered expectations, and then hope to come to love it more and more with each book. I like the sound of that narrator actually, so maybe I'll do this one on audiobook!

    1. I hope you enjoy it, Aylee! I preferred just listening to it because I could do other stuff while listening. And I don't know how long it would've taken me to finish it if I hadn't listened to the audiobook.

  2. YES. I seriously could not stand Ash, he was legit the worse and I didn't get why he was so much better or greater than Puck. Like you, I also think the world building of the Never Never was fairly interesting and well written. I am glad to hear that the audiobook narrator does a good job, that makes me wish I had read this via audio.

    1. yes, Ash is just so boring. And cold. Which makes sense given him being the Winter Prince. But Puck is so much more fun.

  3. I had similar feelings to you. I liked this book okay - definitely preferred The Immortal Rules.

    Tanya Patrice

    1. I know, Tanya. Though I've always preferred vampires to fairies. :D


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