Series: The Iron Fey, #1
Author: Julie Kagawa
Pages: 363 (Paperback)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: February 1, 2010
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 ended up liking this one straight from the beginning. It was different than I was expecting, in a good, weird way. Meghan is dirt poor, the step-daughter of a pig farmer, only has old clothes, and is ridiculed (quite harshly) at school for being "a hick." Very different than the usual heroine. This is truly a rags to riches story, as Meghan is really a faery princess. Her best friend, Robbie, is none other than Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck! Any story that references Shakespeare is okay in my book!
The Nevernever is an interesting place. I love how it seems like a combination of elements (and characters) from A Midsummer's Night Dream, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. It's a simultaneously beautiful and terrible place, full of all kinds of violent creatures. The laws of physics also don't apply there, and time has no meaning. It's amazing that Meghan was able to survive her first day on her own lost in the forest!
I have mixed feelings about Meghan. I like her, most likely because I feel sorry for her. She hasn't exactly had the most glamorous or pleasant life. But on the other hand, she sometimes says and does things that make me cringe. Like when she puts on her dirty, smelly, soaking wet clothes instead of a nice dress provided for her, just because she wants to own her poorness, or whatever. There's no shame in not being able to afford designer clothes, but there's no reason to be unhygienic just to show off that you're comfortable being poor!
The one thing that I did not enjoy at all was the "romance." It was obvious from the time they met, but there was no development. The whole book they're at odds with each other, then BOOM, kissing. What?! It was a lot too sudden and seemingly out of nowhere. Plus, it didn't exactly lead anywhere either. I think the romance element could have waited until at least the next book.
While much of the plot is focused on Meghan finding her brother (and possibly father), there's an overarching story of the Nevernever dying as it's taken over by iron. I absolutely loved the aspect of how the Nevernever is essentially fueled by human belief in fairies. But as humans become more and more reliant on advanced technology, it's leaking over into the Faeryland and is causing some quite terrible problems. If you believe in fairies, clap your hands!
I really enjoyed The Iron King. It was fast paced, interesting, and I loved the fey lore that was used in it. Although Ironhorse had me cracking up, since whenever he spoke I heard Optimus Prime!