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Monday, October 24, 2011

REVIEW: "The Iron Queen" by Julie Kagawa

SERIES: The Iron Fey #3
GENRE: Young Adult-Romance-Fantasy
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PUBLICATION DATE: 201
READ DATE: October 2011
SOURCE: Bought-Book Depository
SUMMARY: My name is Meghan Chase.  I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.  This time, there will be no turning back.




MY THOUGHTS (**Possibly Minor Spoilers for The Iron King, Winter's Passage, and The Iron Daughter)


When we last left Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, Meghan and Ash prevented a civil war between the Summer and Winter Courts, but were banished from the Nevernever for openly declaring their relationship.  The Iron Queen provides readers with the aftermath of this banishment and the conclusion of the conflict between the Summer/Winter Courts and the Iron Court.  The entire series has been building up to this book and Julie Kagawa does not disappoint her readers with the world building, storyline, and character development. 

One of my favorite aspects of Kagawa's series has been the way she builds the world of the fey.  I have read many books about the Seelie and Unseelie courts and haven't always found the most original approaches to the myth.  By introducing the mysterious Iron Fey into this world, Kagawa is providing a new twist on an old idea that has captured my attention from the beginning.  The reactions of the Summer and Winter Courts to new creatures with powers that are potentially fatal to others allows for some fascinating scenes. 

In terms of The Iron Queen and the world building, I loved going back to familiar territory like Leanansidhe's house, the Voo Doo Museum, the wyldwood, and the Iron Kingdom.  These settings have changed dramatically since Meghan first visited them due to both the onslaught of Iron Fey and Meghan's growing comfort level.  I thought this was a nice way to showcase changes without telling the readers about them.

I also really enjoyed the plot of this installment.  Readers are thrown straight into the plot with Meghan and Ash visiting Meghan's family in the mortal world and figuring out their next steps.  From there, the book becomes a continuous rollercoaster with twists and turns at both predictable and surprising junctures.  I especially liked the battle scene between Summer/Winter and the Iron Fey in the wyldwood.  It reminded me (and Meghan) of the Lord of the Rings.  

The characters are another main reason why I enjoy this series so much.  Meghan, Ash, Puck, and the secondary characters all have a purpose in the overall plot which means little stereotypes and a lot of development.  Meghan especially shows her growth in The Iron Queen.  She has become less reactive to everything around her and also seems to be more aware of people's feelings.  I'm specifically referring to the Ash-Meghan-Puck love triangle that has never really been a significant storyline.  Meghan now understands Puck's feelings for her and is self-aware enough to tell him the truth and apologize for leading him on.  This does not mean that Meghan has become the "perfect heroine."  She still acts like a seventeen year old girl would under the amount of stress she's enduring.  She snaps at people and still has her impulsive nature to deal with, but overall I have seen definite growth which makes the ending more realistic.  

Ash and Puck both shine in this book as well.  Ash, by being banished, is finally able to open himself up more about his feelings for Meghan.  While he still has a tendency to retreat into his "ice prince" facade, it is obvious now that it is a defense mechanism rather than his true nature.  His devotion to Meghan could have been cheesy, but I found myself sighing at the ways he spoke to her.  Puck still retained his classic mischievious personality, but the readers got to see different sides of that.  He is very loyal to both Meghan and Ash and proves himself many times over.  Kagawa also shows us the vulnerable part of Puck that truly loves Meghan and mourns the fact that he waited too long to pursue her.  I did appreciate that while he mentioned those feelings, he never resorted into moodiness.  The friendship between Puck and Ash was evident in this book and made me sad about the way that their relationship had soured over the years.

There were many other secondary characters that I enjoyed meeting and seeing again.  Grim was as mysterious and snarky as ever while Mab, Oberon, and Leanansidhe continued to be annoyingly arrogant about their positions in life.  I also liked getting to know the Iron Fey that are rebelling against the false king who is trying to get Machina's power from Meghan and take over the Nevernever.  Readers are provided with the truth about the dangers of being Iron Fey and I really felt for most of them.  I specifically would like to know more about Glitch, the head of the rebel faction that assists Meghan in her quest. 

Overall, I thought this was a fabulous "conclusion" to the Iron Fey storyline.  There is definite openings for more books, but I appreciated the way that Meghan's journey finished.  Can't wait to read The Iron Knight and learn more about Ash and Puck and their former friendship! 



5 OUT OF 5 STARS

 FAVORITE QUOTES:

“It's not everyday I get to tell someone I was attacked by a pair of flying reading glasses. Ow!"

“I learned long ago that you don't get in the middle of a lover's spat. Nothing EVER goes as planned - People fall in love with the wrong person, someone ends up with a donkey head and then its a whole big mess."

“If you are gone then I will welcome nonexistence. There will be nothing left for me to live for.”

SERIES INFORMATION:

1. The Iron King
2. Winter's Passage (e-novella)
3. The Iron Daughter
4. The Iron Queen
5. Summer's Crossing (e-novella)
6. The Iron Knight


INTERESTING LINKS:

Book Depository Page
Goodreads Page
Author Website
Author Blog
Series Website

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