The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Released: 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.
Wow, so how come it took me so long to start reading this series?!
The Iron King is an enticing introduction to the world of The Iron Fey. Kagawa's execution is brilliant as she lures both Meghan and her readers in to a frightening, curious world of fae and other fantasy creatures. Nothing is as it seems, and your perception of faeries comes completely undone to become something new and delightfully different. Although Kagawa sticks close to the more traditional idea of faeries than our contemporary idea of Tinker Bell (thankfully)!
The beginning of The Iron King is delightfully creepy, and works well as a set up to the rest of the novel. I really enjoyed reading about Meghan and Puck's friendship; I just really liked Puck as a character, right down to his one liners that were so bad they were funny. He's such a quirky, multi-faceted character! But before you even ask, right now I'm Team Ash simply because I didn't get a romantic vibe from the relationship between Meghan and Puck. Yet. But I haven't finished the series yet, either!
Ash is wonderful in his own way, he's like the antithesis to Puck. And that's probably what makes them both so interesting, is how different they are yet I still love how very real they feel. Everyone in The Iron King is flawed as a character, and that makes them come alive. Now that being said, I actually didn't like Meghan that much. I really disliked her at the beginning because she came across as such a whiny brat complaining about not having one pair of nice jeans. I think she does begin a more mature development as the story progresses though, and hopefully that continues throughout the other books.
One of my favourite things about The Iron King is how illusionary everything felt, as if it was a mirage almost. You can't be too sure of anything, particularly the characters Meghan encounters. There really isn't a clear cut "bad guy" and nothing's entirely black and white. Seriously, talk about depth in a YA novel.
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the technology bit yet. It seemed a bit silly as it played out in the first book, but I'm optimistic about it as a theme for the series as a whole. It's definitely a unique and interesting idea.