The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen, 2010
Young Adult Fantasy
Can someone answer for me why I read this book, like, months ago and never put up a review? If I'd hated it, that would be a good reason, but I TOTALLY LOVED THIS BOOK. In fact, I voted for it on GoodReads as one of the best 2010 YA debut novels.
Yeah. It's *that* freaking amazing.
This is the first of the Iron Fey series, starring Meghan Chase, a half-human daughter of Oberon, King of the Seelie Court (the Summer fey). The story starts out with her humdrum life in high school, on the brink of her sixteenth birthday. Then all these weird things start happening. And I mean WEIRD. Like, a goblin thing appears on top her computer monitor and makes things flash on her screen. Stuff like that.
She thinks she's hallucinating (obvs), but we know better.
So does Robbie, her neighbor and friend, who is actually Robin Goodfellow (aka Puck) from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Meghan discovers the truth when she comes home on the eve of her birthday to find that her younger brother has been kidnapped and a changeling has been left in his place. And then it, you know, tries to eat her?
Yeah. I'd want some answers, too. Fortunately, Puck is there to fill in the gaps. Meghan decides she must save her brother and Puck takes her to the Nevernever, and that's when she learns who her true father is, among other things.
You'd think that all this old hat fantasy stuff (Seelie and Unseelie courts, fey, goblins, bogeys, changelings, and whatnot) would be boring and turn you off, but no. The authors descriptions are magical, the pacing always high, the characters and the fantasy world dangerously alive.
Aside from dodging constant threats on her life, Meghan also meets Prince Ash (youngest son of Mab, the Winter Queen) and tries to hate him despite his unearthly good looks. Again, it screams cliche' teen romance, but the way it's written keeps you on edge, not really knowing which way the story will go.
Oh yeah, and there's this thing about iron being deadly to all fey. Except Meghan because she's half-human. And the advent of modern technology in the human world has created a new fey--the iron fey--led by the Iron King, and the spread of his realm is killing the Nevernever. That's a problem for both Summer and Winter courts, and not only that, but it turns out Meghan's brother is being held hostage in the Iron realm. So now she is enlisting the help of Puck (Seelie/summer fey) and Ash (Unseelie/winter fey) to save her brother from the Iron King. But they're sworn enemies. Yeah, baby. Let the games begin.
It's a mess, to put it simply. A big beautiful mess.
This book is the reason Julie Kagawa is now one of my favorite authors. It's classic fantasy with a modern twist. Anyone who loves fantasy, or loves YA, will absolutely LOVE this series. I'm currently reading the second book, THE IRON DAUGHTER, and man oh man, it is just as good! I'm devouring it, so a review for book two should be up soon (not today, but soon).