Saturday, 9 July 2011

review: The Iron King

by Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen, 2010
young adult fantasy
Awesome Awktopus Summer of YA Lit Challenge

Finding out her younger brother's been replaced by a changeling, her best friend is the Puck and Faeryland, aka the Nevernever, exists wasn't really what Meghan Chase had in mind for her sixteenth birthday. But Ethan's trapped in the Nevernever, and Meghan will do anything to get him back -- even team up with a cait sith, hand over her happiest memory to an oracle and strike a deal with an ice faerie. In a land where saying "thank you" means you owe a debt and every creature's looking to eat you, even a half-fey like Meghan will be hard-pressed to stay alive.
The cover:

From afar it looks pretty, but when I take a good hard look, this cover just looks like a photo of a girl behind an edging of swirls. The only part that speaks of a degree of creativity is the title; the swirly lines twirling into the letters are pretty cool, especially the "the".

The book:

Oh, Meghan. Why must you be so whiny? Why must you be so inept? Why must you love every gorgeous guy that comes along? What makes you special besides your birth status? Nothing, that's what. The reader doesn't ever get a sense for why Ethan is so important to her. Exploring their sister-brother relationship earlier in the novel would've made her going in over her head at least seem a little reasonable. Instead, Kagawa seems to skimp and go for an easier route.

Speaking of the beginning, it's impossible to believe that her classmates could've been so mean to her. If she's always being forgotten (as is later explained in the novel), they would never have gone to such effort, in the start and at the end of the novel. The land of the Nevernever is somewhat developed, what with the tords, hedges and Seelie and Unseelie courts, but there are far too many magical creatures to take in. Soon they all just become something else to file under "creature".

And tremendously unfortunately, I didn't even like any of the supporting characters, which is a bad, bad thing when I'm disliking your protag. Grimalkin was cool (but even that, I suspect, is because there's another Grimalkin in the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica that is much cooler), but if Puck is a member of 2DCharacterLand, then Ash is the king. Seriously. We learn nothing about him other than Meghan thinks he's smexy and that he can shoot icicles, fight with a sword and wants to kill Puck.

This series better get better. Since I'm reading this for Audrey's Awesome Awktopus Summer of YA Lit Challenge, I'm required to finish, but... *writhes in agony on floor*

Rating: 1.9 out of 5