The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron KingThe Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Published by: Harlequin Teen on January 26, 2010
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 351
Source: Purchased
Book Details
Rating: ★★

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.

Judging by all the amazing reviews, I expected The Iron King to wow me, but it sooo didn’t.

The #1 problem for me was my lack of feeling towards this book. I didn’t care about any of it, really. I never cared about Meghan or her fate. I felt like I barely even knew her. She, along with most of the other characters, were so two dimensional. I never got invested in any of them. I didn’t care if they lived or died.

But to make matters worse, I often found Meghan to be annoyingly naïve and sometimes just plain stupid. At the beginning, she accepted the existence of the Fae and the Nevernever far too easily. She was basically like, “Okay, there’s this entire other world full of creatures that I never knew existed. That’s fine. Now what do we do?” There was no resistance or denial; she just accepted it. But then, she was told that she’s actually the daughter of the faery king and there are multiple pieces of evidence to support that, but she refuses to believe it for, like, ever. And she’s told that because she’s his daughter she has some powers, but again she refuses to believe it’s even POSSIBLE.

“I will never understand humans,” he muttered. “With everything you have seen, magic, fey, monsters, and miracles, you still could not believe you could become invisible.”

Or, another example, she’s gone in and out of the Nevernever multiple times. She walks in through one part of the US, trots around the Nevernever, and comes out a few states away. Then, when they get ready to do the same thing later, she suddenly acts like these Nevernever “wormholes” just don’t exist and she can’t effortlessly travel around the country like the Fae can. It’s like she’s forgotten all the magical traveling they’ve already done before.

“You’re talking about New Orleans. [..] That’s hundreds of miles away!” I protested. “I have no car and no money for a plane ticket. How are we going to get there—or were we planning to hitchhike?”

You’re traveling around with Fae in the Nevernever and you seriously think you’re going to have to take a plane ride or hitchhike to get somewhere?

I was also annoyed with Meghan’s refusal to kill anyone. People would be trying to kill her and her friends, then her friends retaliate in self-defense, and she scolds her friends for killing them. Fair enough if you don’t want your friends killing people in cold blood, but these people are trying to kill you! The only way to come out unscathed is to attack them back, but she’s standing there playing peacekeeper.

Then, Meghan just had a few stupid, WTF moments. Example: it starts raining, then this happens:

Water splashed over my jeans, and I yelped as something burned my skin.
We examined my leg. Tiny holes marred my jeans where the drops had hit, the material seared away, the skin underneath red and burned. It throbbed as if I’d jabbed needles into my flesh.

My first thought would be: acidic rain. As in, stay the fuck away. But Meghan’s first impulse is to stick her hand outside to feel for more:

“What the heck?” I muttered, glaring into the storm. It looked like ordinary rain—gray, misty, somewhat depressing. Almost compulsively, I stuck my hand toward the opening, where the water dripped over the edge of the tube.

Awesome logic.

The final straw for me was the romance. There is no romance for 90% of the book. Literally, none. Not a single flirty conversation or romantic hint. Then all of a sudden, at like 90% View Spoiler »

Overall, I just didn’t like this book. I didn’t like the tone, which felt childish and very “Alice in Wonderland” (in terms of vibe and target audience). Meghan was annoying as hell. And the romance just popped up out of thin air.

A few people have told me that the series gets REALLY good after the second book, but I’m not sure if I’m going to make it that far.

The Verdict


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  1. Ugh. I’ve been holding off on this one for a while because I don’t think i’ll like it as much as all my friends who have been pressuring me too. Lol. Also…fey and I do NOT get along well so I’m just scared and physically not interested in it. Sigh. I’m sorry you didn’t like it! I feel like I’m going to agree with you so it’s gonna be even longer till I do actually read this now…Haha.

    XOXO, Inkykins.

    1. I do love Blood of Eden! Well I loved the first book, but didn’t finish the second (not because I didn’t love it, but I just wasn’t in the mood for it at the time…). And I’m PSYCHED for her dragon series!!

  2. I gave this one a pretty good rating but I can’t even remember why, hmm. I remember thinking that Meghan was pretty naive but I think I was taken with the fantasy element of the book. I also actually liked Ash and all so I’m a little sad you didn’t like the romance. Now, I’m questioning my tastes way back haha!

    Hazel @ Stay Bookish recently posted: What Readers Want In A Book
    1. I second guess my ratings from months/years ago all the time! And who knows, maybe I would have loved this book had I read it earlier in my blogging “career”. I think I’m starting to get more and more critical as I read more books.

  3. I really enjoyed the series and the Alice-esque, fairy tale feel it had. I remember Meghan being naive, but I guess I was more focused on the fantasy element of the book. She actually changes quite a bit throughout the series, and, in the new companion series, she’s really different. I get what you’re saying about the romance popping up out of nowhere, but I really like Ash.

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  4. You know, I can agree with some of what you said. I did find Meghan to be absolutely witless and stupid in the first book. But I fell in love with the world so I kept reading (or rather, listening, as I did the audiobooks).

    And I ended up loving the series. Meghan does grow. And Ash and Puck are fun. And my favorite characters are actually Grimalkin and Iron Horse (who you haven’t met yet).

    Give it another shot, when you find time in your reading schedule. 🙂

    1. Thanks Mandi Kaye! A lot of people have told me that it gets better.

      Isn’t the Iron Horse in the first book? I remember him from near-ish the end. (If you’re thinking of who I’m thinking of, I’ll admit he was a pretty cool character!)

  5. I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe. I’m still on the fence about this series, and I read a few pages of it on Amazon, and I didn’t feel it draw me. But still there’s the hype. So I’m glad you confirmed to me that it has what I dislike most in female protagonists.

    Great review!

  6. I was kinda disappointed after reading this book, but after reading Iron Daughter, I was really amazed by Julie Kagawa. Nonetheless, I agree to what you have said. And thanks for the review!

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