Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Iron King (The Iron Fey Series #1) - Julie Kagawa

Summary:  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.

(Summary from back of book - Image from Amazon.com)

My Review:  Confession time.  I picked this book up from the library because I saw it recommended on Instagram and didn't even look at the summary on the back until I had finished reading it.  If I had, I might not have read it.  That last line (above) is all the cheese.  But anyway...

Meghan Chase's father disappeared when she was six.  Soon after, her mother hauled her to the middle of po-dunk nowhere and married a pig farmer.  Now she attends school in hand-me-down rags and her mom and step-dad barely seem to give her a passing thought.  The only light in her life is her best friend Robbie and her four-year old half brother named Ethan, until the day Ethan is stolen.  Soon, Meghan is pulled into the world of the faery and discovers a destiny and heritage she never could have imagined.  

That's the long and short of it, without any major spoilers.  A lot happens.  Like, a lot a lot.  It felt a bit like one of those attraction rides at a theme park.  Think Pirates of the Caribbean but on 20X speed. Crises galore -- each one quickly overcome just before the next crisis looms (and is quickly over come before the next crisis looms).  You get the idea.  I like my characters to take their time tackling a few big problems, rather than low-hurdling a bunch of little ones that serve as filler more than anything else. It made the plot feel rather middle-grade, as if the author kept things moving just so the kiddos would continue reading.  That writing style may work for a younger reader, but unfortunately, it felt directly at odds with some of the more adult language and innuendo sprinkled throughout.  

Since the plot was almost entirely action-driven, I never felt like I had a good handle on the characters.  With the exception of Meghan, who I assume is the girl pictured on the cover, I was unable to hold an image of any of the characters in my mind for longer than the time the author spent describing them.  They just didn't stick.  I know that Ash has silver eyes, but I seriously couldn't describe Robbie to save my life.  Some of the secondary characters felt more like caricatures and Meghan's mom might as well have been a stick figure for all the effort that went into crafting her character.  

I know I have pretty much unloaded on this one, so I would like to close with a few of the things I liked about it (sans spoilers).  First, Ethan 1.0 and the Rat Pack are pretty darn adorable.  Second, I liked the concept of how all Fey were born and how that played into the story, especially in regards to technology.  Finally, there is a moment towards the end where a character is reminded of their worth and galvanized to step forward  I won't say any more, but it gave me chills (the good kind).   

I picked this book up after having to abandon another book (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue*) that was also recommended on Instagram.  Moral of the story:  Sometimes Instagram recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt (says the same girl who actually has a 'bookstagram' account).  I currently have the second book in the Iron Fey series on loan from the library, but it's going back tomorrow. I have no plans to read further in the series.

My Rating: 3 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader: Swearing scattered throughout (mostly D, H, Bs, Sh, and one F, if you want specifics). Some sexually-tinged bullying.  Attempted rape, brief and mild in description.  Some innuendo.  

*Here's my mini-review of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue - Too many sensitive reader issues (of the sexual variety) for me to keep reading in full. I skipped to the end and am not sorry.  

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