Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)
From the Back Cover:

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.

Meghan Chase is having a bad day. It's her sixteenth birthday and nobody seems to care. The school bully is targeting her, she's seeing strange things, and when she arrives home after school hoping to go get her driving permit, she finds her mother out cold on the floor and her sweet little brother, Ethan, behaving badly. Something is wrong. Very wrong. Then her best friend Robbie shows up and sheds some light on the situation, and nothing will ever be the same for Meghan.

For it turns out that that thing in the kitchen is not really Ethan. Ethan has been kidnapped by faeries in an effort to draw Meghan into the faery world. And when Meghan steps through a closet door and into the Nevernever, her eyes are opened to a whole new world where magic reigns. An imaginative and vividly depicted world full of wonders and peopled with all kinds of fey creatures. But it's a dangerous world, too. And there's another surprise in store for Meghan, a revelation that makes her a target in the deadly battle for supremacy between King Oberon's Summer Court and Queen Mab's Winter Court. And no one cares to help Meghan find a useless little human boy. Desperate, Meghan strikes a deal with Mab's son, the dark and deadly Prince Ash, to help her find her brother...but can Ash really be trusted?

The faery lords are immortal. Those who have songs, ballads, and stories written about them never die. Belief, worship, imagination - we were born of the dreams and fears of mortals, and if we are remembered, even in some small way, we will always exist...

Or will they? As Meghan and her companions journey through the Nevernever, they witness the evidence of a startling truth:  The faery world is dying. A mysterious force is slowly spreading across the land, killing everything it touches, and as the little group moves through both faery and human worlds in the search for Meghan's brother, the mystery is explained:

Too much progress, too much technology. Mortals are losing their faith in anything but science. Even the children of man are consumed by progress. They sneer at the old stories and are drawn to the newest gadgets, computers, or video games. They no longer believe in monsters or magic. As cities grow and technology takes over the world, belief and imagination fade away, and so do we.

And that's where The Iron King comes in. He's taking full advantage of this fatal faery weakness and he's set his sights on Meghan, a child of both worlds, to help him fulfill his ambitions. And it's up to Meghan to stop him.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I can't find too much to complain about. Although it took me a little while to warm to Meghan and her "I'm such a loser, nobody notices me" attitude, and it takes her a bit to get with the program in the Nevernever, too, she does develop: growing stronger, physically and emotionally, and she finds her courage and her voice and becomes a worthy heroine.

And Prince Ash is one of those delicious dark heroes, the kind that keeps you guessing, the kind you're never quite sure of what his true feelings and intentions are, and it makes the story that much more suspenseful and mysterious. Full of adventure and danger, imagination and fancy, this book is an excellent escape into a fantasy world with themes relevant to the real world in which we unmagical humans must abide.

Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

*Please note: This review references an advance digital copy received from the publisher, and therefore the final published copy may differ. Though I received this ebook from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.

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