Thursday, 14 June 2012

Review- The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)

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.

(Cover and description taken from Goodreads)

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Meghan Chase has always felt there was something slightly amiss in her life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six years old. Even her own mother and stepfather seems to forget she exists most of the time, and at school, only her friend Robbie takes any notice of her. Then the day before her sixteenth birthday, things start going weird. A gremlin only Meghan can see appears in the computer room and plays a prank on the most popular boy at school- resulting in Meghan being a victim of his cruel revenge. But public humiliation is the least of her worries, because the world around her is turning bizarre. Her little brother Ethan is seeing monsters everywhere, which Meghan is beginning to believe may have some truth to it, and her best friend is acting odd. But it’s only when Ethan disappears, leaving a vicious changeling in his place, that Robbie tells her the truth: the faeries are targeting Meghan because she is one of them, the daughter of Oberon, king of the Seelie Court. In order to save her brother, Meghan must travel to Faeryland, the Nevernever, home to the creatures thought to exist only in the imagination. Her best friend Robbie is actually Robin Goodfellow, Puck, her guardian in the human world.

The Nevernever is a dangerous place filled with horrifying creatures. She and Puck encounter nixies, goblins, and a talking cat called Grimalkin as they travel to the Summer Court to request help from Oberon. But there Meghan finds herself a target of the vindictive Queen Titania, and comes no closer to rescuing her brother. When the court is attacked by a chimera during Elysium, a meeting between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, each blames the other, leading to threats of a war unless someone can find the culprit. In the chaos, Meghan and Grimalkin flee the court in order to search for her brother in the Winter Court. But it becomes clear that something is very wrong in the Nevernever. According to Grimalkin, Faeryland is dying, as humanity loses faith in faerytales and imagination. Although with the rise of progress and technology- which is fatal to faeries- it is inevitable that belief in faeries would decline, this is on a scale unparalleled, and the Nevernever may soon cease to exist…

Then, en route to the winter court, a deadly battle ensues between Puck and Ash, son of Queen Mab and Prince of the Unseelie Court, who appears to take Meghan to his queen. It seems the two have a history, and are prepared to fight to the death…But midway through comes an interruption in of a swarm of deformed fey who take Meghan prisoner, telling her that the King of the Iron Court has her brother! It seems that with the advent of technology a whole new race of fey has been born, unbeknownst to the other fey. The Iron Fey are immune to the damaging effects of metal and technology, and are the reason the Nevernever is dying! Desperate to save her brother, Meghan makes a bargain with Prince Ash: if he helps her to rescue Ethan from the clutches of the Iron King, she will willingly go with him to the Unseelie Court. But complications ensue. Not only does she find herself falling for the Prince of the Winter Court, but it seems that many expect her to do more than save her brother – they expect her to kill King Machina, the Iron King, in order to save the Nevernever and all the fey.

This is a captivating tale from start to finish, filled with unforgettable characters and inventive magic. Meghan’s teenage voice is completely believable, and we stand beside her as she faces the perils of the Faery world. The settings are vivid, from the bright colours and bewitching music of the Summer Court to the iciness and deception of the Winter Court, and the treacherous, tangled paths of the Wyldwood. This bewitching contemporary fairytale for teens is a clever twist on the old superstition that faeries are vulnerable to the touch of iron. Julie Kagawa asks us to imagine what would happen if a new species of fey was born from the dreams of humans today, of progress and technology. Will the traditional characters die out, and the old faeryland disappear forever?

Rating: *****

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