BOOK REPORT for The Iron King (Iron Fey Book 1) by Julie Kagawa
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Get Her Done
Bonus Factors: Labyrinth, Puck
Relationship Status: It's Not You, It's Me
Ok, let me preface this review by admitting to all of you that I am totally a Fred Savage when it comes to fairy books. I don't know why, but all of the fluttery wings and lute-playing and charming mischief-making is the Posh D. equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. I'm not saying these books are bad, not at all, just that they're not my cup of tea (er, vodka). If I had known that The Iron King is actually ALL ABOUT THE FEY, I would have let another FYAer review it. But honestly, I though it was a straight up fantasy book... until I read the back cover, which included this gem:
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.
WHAT NOW! Given that high quality promotion, how could I resist?
I really feel bad for Meghan Chase. Her dad mysteriously disappeared years ago, and now she lives in the middle of BFE with her distracted mom, even more distracted stepfather and her toddler half-brother, whose name I can't remember so I'll just call him Toby for reasons that will soon be obvious to you. Her only friend, Robbie, lives like two miles away and is kiiind of annoying. Meghan's always felt a little bit different, and she begins to understand why when Toby starts whining about a man in the closet (CREEPY MUCH) and suddenly transforms into an evil, bitey little terror. Robbie promises to help Meghan find the real Toby by taking her to Fairyland, a magical and dangerous place that appears to be disappearing. And guess what Robbie's short for? Robin Greenfellow, aka Puck, aka the only fairy in history (besides Tink) that I actually like! With the aid of a fickle cheshire cat named Grimalkin, Puck brings Meghan to the Seelie Court, where she discovers that OMG her dad is Oberon, king of the fairies! Or at least, the kinda nice ones. The even less nice ones, the UNSeelie Court, come for a chat about what's eating away at Fairyland, and Meghan meets Prince Ash, a super hot, meaner version of Iceman. Without giving too much away, a LOT of shizz goes down, and Meghan, Ash and Puck band together to find Toby and discover what exactly is hating on all of the fey (besides me, obvs).
BFF Charm: Meh
Meghan's got a good heart, and she obviously loves her little brother. She's also a typical teenager and therefore sorta bratty. But just like her Labyrinth alter ego, Meghan's attitude is softened and her maturity strengthened by the various trails she faces. Unfortunately, I never felt like I got to know her. Her character development seemed solely based on things happening to her rather than things happening inside of her. In other words, the character felt flat to me. So sure, I'd say hi to her in the hallways, and I wouldn't mind if we were assigned to the same group project, but inviting her to a slumber party? Not gonna happen. Puck, on the other hand...
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
So wait, this is Harlequin?! Home of the throbbing manhood? Promoter of Fabio? WHERE IS THE STEAM, I ASK YOU? Honestly, I would have expected more from the people who brought us ripped bodices. Kagawa does set up a nice love triangle between Puck, Ash and Meghan, and I gotta give her props for making both boys pretty attractive. But the relationship between Ash and Meghan felt incredibly formulaic to me. Like, oh, he's yr total opposite AND yr mortal enemy? Well of COURSE you need to fall in love with him AGAINST YR WILL. I would've liked to have seen more sparks with Puck, although I'm guessing that will happen in the next book.
Talky Talk: Get Her Done
This is what happens when an author has a LOT she wants to get through in a v. short amount of time. I don't know if she was motivated by inspiration or a deadline, but Kagawa rushes the reader through, like, a zillion different adventures at a breakneck pace. On one hand, that means this book is not boring. On the other hand, I barely had time to catch my breath, much less connect with the characters. And while I appreciated her restraint in, say, not using a whole chapter just to describe how enchanting and shimmery the fey folk are, the writing was all plot driven, which made any emotions expressed seem a bit forced. There's certainly a lot of imagination in this book, and I wish Kagawa had allowed herself to develop its complexity rather than leaping ahead to the next conclusion.
Bonus Factor: Labyrinth
Oh, like you didn't see this coming!! Kagawa borrows from a lot of classic tales, but her best inspiration was this muppety masterpiece of a film. I just wish she had taken MORE from the movie, like, say... David Bowie.
Bonus Factor: Puck
Oh Puck, you hooligan with wings, you! I'm a sucker for bad boys, and since Puck is universally acknowledged as the Asshole of the Fey, he had my vote immediately. See, there's a Team Ash/Team Puck war brewing on the internets, and while I don't feel strongly about this book, I am firmly convicted that Puck is a thousand times cooler than Mr. Icy Heart. Fans of Ash, feel free to unleash yr frozen wrath upon me in the comments, although I ask that you refrain from mentioning the real world Puck cos THAT'S A LOW BLOW.
Mia Wasikowska as Meghan
I KNOW, I know. I cast Mia for everything. but DOESN'T SHE LOOK LIKE A HALF-FAIRY?
Ben Barnes as Ash
And YES I HAVE ALSO RECENTLY CAST BEN BARNES. Maybe if Hollywood could step up the teen acting a little bit I would have more to work with! But actually, Ben is perfect to play the smoldering, icy cool prince.
As for Puck, I have a little joke for you!
Knock knock! Who's there? Oh it's the guy who can get away with playing an asshole cos he's SMOKING HOT!
Freddie Stroma as Puck
Relationship Status: It's Not You, It's Me.
There is really nothing wrong with this book. It's fun, it's fanciful and there is some definite swoon potential in the long run. I'm sure this book will go on to experience lots of loving relationships with other readers! It's just that I really don't like fairy books. And that's totally not The Iron King's fault! And also, well, we just didn't connect. So I wish this book well, and I hope that it finds true love with some of you ladies out there.
(Ok and I have to say it: a Bluetooth? Really? Major turn off.)