Fantasy author and writer friend, Shawn Wickersheim, recommended I read The Iron King. Let me be more specific: tough, scary-if-you-happened-to-be-alone-when-you-run-into-him-in-a-dark-alley Shawn Wickersheim, author of the gritty, dark, fantasy adventure, The Penitent Assassin, recommended I read The Iron King. I point this out only because The Iron King is a Harlequin Teen novel.
Ha, ha—that’s right, Shawn, you read a Harlequin teen novel. Harlequin, as in Harlequin Romances! I always knew Shawn had a dark side–but this?
All kidding aside, The Iron King is a fabulous read for anyone, any gender, who enjoys fantasy. I read my share of Harlequin romances back in fifth grade (my dark secret) and this Harlequin novel is nothing like those formulaic romances of old. (To be fair, I’m sure Harlequin romances today are a far cry from what they were when I was in fifth grade, oh, so many years ago…)
The author, Julie Kagawa, knows her Shakespeare and while staying true to the characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, gives us an edgy, YA, fantasy adventure. But she doesn’t stop there. In addition to a world populated by the likes of King Oberon, Queen Titania and the famous Puck, Kagawa has created a new faery realm. A realm populated by faeries created out of 20th and 21st century imaginations: the iron fey, “…the faeries of progress and technology.”
Somewhere in the story, Puck notes that as long as he lives in our imaginations, he will always exist. But as humans become increasingly obsessed with technology, and the strength and reach of the iron fey, led by King Machina, grows, Puck’s world, and that of his fellow summer and winter faeries, is increasingly in danger.
That’s where Megan Chase comes in. Spoiler alert: Megan is half human and half faery. I’m not going to tell you who her daddy is, but he’s big—very big—in faery terms. Besides creating faeries made of iron (Which is really cool. I wish I had thought of it.), another reason this book is so good is its heroine, Megan Chase. Yes, there is romance—with a hot faery guy, no less—but it’s not Twilight romance. Megan isn’t some whiny girl ready to give up everything (including her personality) for love. (Side note: I loved Twilight, but I wanted to slap Bella. Really, girl, you need a hobby other than vampires!) Anyway, Megan is not whiny. She’s brave, she’s a good sister and yes, at times, your regular old teenager (but like I said, not whiny. Well… not too whiny).
The Iron King is the first in the Iron Fey series, followed by the e-novella, Winter’s Passage, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, Summer’s Crossing and The Iron Knight. I’m not sure if I’ll read all of them, but if I was in my teens or twenties, I surely would. What the heck, I still might. By the way (in my opinion) The Iron King is suitable reading for 7th grade and up.
That’s it. My intent with these book reviews is to keep them brief. If I review a book, it’s because I like it. The world is full of books, why continue reading something you don’t enjoy?