Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review: The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa

Photo by Eamon Curry

Meghan Chase is not particularly excited about her sixteenth birthday. She doesn't expect her mother and stepfather to remember it, and she only has one friend at school, where she has never fitted in. But when she gets home, she finds her mother, bleeding and unconscious, and her brother Ethan is no longer the sweet, loving child that he has always been. She quickly learns that the child in the house is not Ethan at all but a faery changeling, and that she doesn't have much time to find Ethan and bring him home.

I had read a couple of reviews of Julie Kagawa's books before but only picked up The Iron King after I was given a copy at the MIRA Ink Blogger Party, where there was a live video call with Julie Kagawa. All the other bloggers there were thrilled and she came across as a really nice, friendly person so I knew I would have to read it before the year was out.

At first I found it a bit difficult to get into The Iron King. The story didn't immediately grab me the way that Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tale series did, and I found Meghan a little frustrating as she so easily accepted the meagre information that other characters gave to her about what she was getting herself into. I have the same problem with many books though - sometimes I find it unbelievable that a character wouldn't just refuse to get involved without all the information I would deem necessary. I made a similar comment in my review of Tithe.

However, about halfway through I was hooked. I love the idea of the Iron Fey, created when human's dreams shifted away from nature and towards science and technology. I also liked seeing how Meghan grew up and became a stronger person, and as the story that I think will be the centre of the series emerged, I felt myself settling in for the long haul!

I also really liked the contrast between the two love interests. Yes, there's a triangle, and ordinarily I'd be yawning at the merest whiff of one but I don't know which of the two guys I prefer yet! Also, it's really not that important to the story, at least not in The Iron King, and I hope it remains somewhat of a background detail and stays out of the major plot in the future books.

The characterisation was best for Puck and Ash, but they stand out from the rest of the fey with their morally ambigious natures. It's more difficult to figure them out than most of the other characters. I loved Grimalkin the best, however, and I hope he appears a lot in the other books. I can't tell what he wants, ultimately, but he is very funny and clever.

I am going to largely reserve my judgement until I have read the rest of the series, but I enjoyed The Iron King and would recommend that you give it a try if you've enjoyed other stories set in the world of the fey.

If you've already read amd loved The Iron King, some suggestions for you:

  • Tithe, by Holly Black - another story about a faery changeling, but this time, the main character is the changeling
  •  Ash, by Malinda Lo - a retelling of Cinderella in which she makes a deal with a powerful fairy, rather than being saved by a fairy godmother

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors of 2012

This is my thirteenth Top Ten Tuesday post, though technically it's Wednesday and I'm late again! Top Ten Tuesday was created and is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I'm quite pleased about this theme as it's great to think back to all the books I've read (so far!) this year. My list is in chronological order; it's not a ranked Top Ten.

 Photo by chefranden

Top Ten New To Me Authors I Read in 2012

 1. C. J. Daugherty - A debut author for 2012 with boarding-school mystery Night School. The sequel, Night School: Legacy is coming out in January and I am so excited!

2. Veronica Rossi - Another debut author (Under the Never Sky) with a sequel due in January - Through The Ever Night - that I am looking forward to enormously.

3. Eva Ibbotson - I wasn't expecting to love Journey to the River Sea as much as I did, as it's aimed at 9-12 year olds, but I was delighted by this new discovery and am looking forward to devouring all her other books.

4. Suzanne Collins - I finally read The Hunger Games! A book I first learnt about in 2009! I should have read it much sooner, but I'm glad I got around to it this year.

5. Sophie Flack - Yet another debut author - I'm looking forward to seeing what she does next, having liked Bunheads a lot.

6. Elaine Dundy - I really enjoyed the semi-autobiographical The Dud Avocado and am planning to read her other books soon.

7. Hannah Harrington - Again, Saving June was a debut that showed a lot of promise and I'm looking forward to reading Speechless, her second novel.

8. Rachel Vincent - An author with several series to her name, I started with My Soul to Take from the Soul Screamers series and have no plans to stop!

9. Malinda Lo - I'm really pleased that I read Ash this year and discovered another fairy tale reteller to obsess over!

10. Karen Russell - I'm currently reading St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, which is a book of short stories, and really enjoying it. All the protagonists/narrators are adolescents whose worlds are in some way a little magical. For example, there's one story about a boy whose dad is a minotaur, and another about a boy who uses a pair of underwater goggles to look for the spirit of his dead sister.

Have you read any of these authors? What did you think?


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