Friday, November 11, 2011

The Iron King Entertaining, Even Without the "Wow" Factor

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Meghan Chase has never quite fit in - not in her tiny Louisiana hick town, not with her classmates at the high school, not even in her own family. Only goofy Robbie Goodfell seems to get her. Everyone else thinks Meghan's weird, but it's not until Meghan turns 16 that she starts to believe them. Because, suddenly, she's seeing things that can't be real, hearing things that make no sense, and feeling the oddest sensations. The shivery feeling reminds her of the day when her six-year-old self watched her father disappear without a trace. It's not a happy feeling.

When Meghan expresses her worries to Robbie, he tells her the shocking truth: Meghan's half faery. The things she's seeing are glimpses of the Nevernever, a realm filled with creatures straight out of storybooks - and not the pleasant kind. Meghan wants nothing to do with the weird, alternative world, but when a terrifying creature sucks her 4-year-old stepbrother through some mystical faery portal, she has to follow. With Robbie (or something sort of resembling Robbie) as her guide, Meghan wanders through a strange fantasy world, learning why Robbie's always called her "Princess" (she's the daughter of a fabled faery king), why he kept the truth from her (to protect her from the king's enemies), and why her presence in the Nevernever could be disastrous (the king's enemies will, no doubt, use her as a pawn in their budding turf war). No matter how dangerous the Nevernever may be for her, Meghan refuses to leave until she finds her brother. Only then will she be able to leave the faery world behind. Only then can she turn her back on this magical, terrible world. Forever.

The Iron King, the first book in Julie Kagawa's popular Iron Fey series, introduces a lush fantasy world that is at once familiar and distinct. The satyrs, gremlins, sirens, goblins, even the Cheshire-ish cat won't surprise anyone, but Kagawa's secret race (I can't go into detail without being spoiler-y) bring in a little freshness. Plotwise, the story's quick-paced and exciting, even if it is mostly predictable. As for the characters, well, they tend to be either cliche or flat or both. All in all, though, The Iron King kept me entertained, if not exactly wowed.

(Readalikes: Reminds me of Need and Captivate by Carrie Jones and a little of The Mortal Instruments series [City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass; City of Fallen Angels] by Cassandra Clare)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for language (1 F-bomb, plus milder invectives), violence and sexual innuendo)

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find

2 comments:

  1. Glad I'm not the only one who liked it but wasn't wowed and didn't fall in love with it.

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  2. My thoughts exactly! I felt like I'd read it all before. It wasn't a bad book by any means, I just thought I'd be blown away after all the hype I saw around the blogosphere. I reviewed it on my blog, and the sequel too, but I gave up after that.

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