The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Certainly there are a good many books that catch my eye on a hourly daily basis due to their just so covers. But I have to say there haven't been many to capture my complete interest like Julie Kagawa's debut The Iron King in quite some time. First off is the title font: I'm loving everything about those sharp, pointy letters that wind up evolving into these twisty, curling vines. It's bold, yet whimsical and almost dangerously thorny looking at the same time. Then we have this stunning, bright blue-eyed girl almost obscured by the same greenish vine motif - all of which scream faery. Honestly, I found the entire cover so visually appealing that I knew I would wind up reading it just to find out if the story inside was half as good as its brilliant outside.

Meghan Chase isn't enjoying her sixteenth birthday like any other normal teenager. Instead of parties and cake and adoration, she's shunned by her classmates and forgotten by her family. And then the unthinkable happens, her little half-brother Ethan is kidnapped by faeries and a horrific changeling is left in his place. Not knowing how she is going to rescue Ethan (just knowing that she will), Meghan sets off for the Faery realm with her best friend Robbie as her guide. Although Robbie isn't exactly human himself and turns out to have some handy connections within the high courts of the fae. Completely unprepared for dealing with countless vicious faery creatures, Meghan inevitably finds herself discovering allies in truly unexpected places: the moody yet clever cat Grimalkin and the young Prince of the Winter Court, Ash, who is as dangerous as he is striking.

Notwithstanding the many recognizable fae elements in Julie Kagawa's world of faery (the Summer and Winter Courts as presented in A Midsummer Night's Dream), Kagawa has managed to create a fantastical world that mixes so seamlessly with the modern landscape that I was totally caught up in her storytelling and believed every single word. Of course the nonstop adventure could have added to its appeal too. ;) Without fail, I find myself drawn those faery stories that clearly detail the sharp danger as well as the glamour and beauty of the faeries. And let me tell you, The Iron King does not shy away from the dark and dangerous side of the fae whatsoever. Literally the action in The Iron King is constant and completely engrossing. There are trolls and ogres to be fought, hounds to elude, Kings to outsmart... the list goes on and on. And although Meghan is in waaay over her head, she is still resourceful, intelligent, and unfailingly loyal. Three cheers for a strong YA female lead!! Not to mention the inclusion of a surprisingly realistic romance - which I saw coming from a mile away, but still swooned over anyways - that utterly captivated me with its selfless quality. So let me just go ahead and say it for the record: after that wide open, cliff-hanger ending, just know that I'll be picking up Kagawa's sequel, The Iron Daughter, to be sure.

series reading order:
~ The Iron King
~ The Iron Daughter (August 2010)

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
The Book Pushers review 
Dark Faerie Tales review
Jenn's Bookshelves review
La Femme Readers review
The Story Siren review

book source: my local library


Chachic said...

The cover of this book is really lovely! It makes you want to read the book based on the strength of its cover alone. I have heard good things about this and I borrowed a copy from a friend so I should get around to reading it soon. I'm glad you liked it, makes me want to read the book more. :)

Michelle said...

Chachic - Yep, I do like the pretty ones! And I liked it more than I thought I would to be honest, especially the harsh quality of the fey.

Anonymous said...

This sounds great! I have it on my TBR list and can't wait.