The Iron King

Following a bread crumb trail that started reading the Vampire Book Club’s blog I found The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa. Rocambolesque, (as in fantastic, incredible, and fabulous) is the adjective that comes to my mind to describe The Iron King. First in the Iron Fey series, this novel is a joyous ride between the human world and Faeryland.  The protagonist, Meghan Chase, is a regular teenager who has been living at the fringe of society, misunderstood at home, ridiculed at school, with only one friend to keep her company. Meghan is resigned to her fate, when she discovers that Robbie, her only friend, is Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck, and that she is not in fact a human teenager at all. When Ethan, Meghan’s four year old brother, is kidnapped and exchanged with a changeling, she leaves everything behind to save him. In her quest to find Ethan, Meghan meets her real father Oberon, king of the Summer Court, and falls in love with Ash, a young prince who happened to be the Winter Court queen Mab‘s son. I will not try to summarize the plot, because it would be like writing the synopsis for the second Transformer’s movie, but in a good way. Suffice to say that the Summer Court  and the Winter Court are not in the best of terms, and that Meghan and Ash are not supposed to fraternize. The plot thickens when a third contender for the supremacy of Faeryland appears. The Iron King, whose realm made of metal threatens to suffocate Faeryland, wants Meghan more than anybody else.  Ash promises Meghan to help her find and free Ethan from the Iron King’s clutches, if in return she willingly follows him to the Winter Court. Finding Ethan takes some time.

I particularly liked Ash, he is a fascinating character and he is dark and moody without becoming annoying. Meghan is a strong heroine with a pure heart. The secondary characters are equally entertaining. Puck is the perfect bodyguard, loyal and funny, and probably also in love with Meghan. Grimalkin, a cait sith, is the unexpected sidekick who comes back to fix problems when he is needed the most. I will definitely read the following chapter in the story, The Iron Daughter, because I want to know what happens between Meghan and Ash. I also enjoyed the way the author played around with the characters from Shakespeare’s plays and Celtic mythology, creating a modern fairytale.

Having finished the first book, I only have one request/hope: Mrs. Kagawa, please bring back Beau, the German shepherd, if you haven’t already. I went through the whole novel waiting for the dog to make an apparition, even ghost-like would have been fine, but it didn’t happen. Keeping my fingers crossed for the time being.

The Iron King

The Good Neighbors

Every year accomplished authors write pep-talks for Nanowriters (Nanowrimo’s aficionados, slightly cuckoo in the head) like me. This year one of the pep-talk I liked the most was written by Holly Black. Driven by sudden inspiration I checked out few of her books and I found the Good Neighbors’ series. I have already read Kin and Kith without blinking my eyes once, and I can’t wait to read the third and final installment that just came out, Kind. I didn’t know that they were comic books, and I was pleasantly surprised by discovering Ted  Naifeh, who is the illustrator. The Good Neighbors narrates the story of a teenage girl, Rue, who has always seen things out of the ordinary, but has never thought about it until tragedy wreaks havoc in her life. Rue’s mother disappears for several days after an altercation with her father. Her father is accused of having murdered his wife and another young woman who was one of his student. Rues discovers the truth behind her mother’s disappearance when, while trying to put together bits and pieces of her scattered life, the fairies reveal to her that she is one of them. Rues is forced to confront blood ties she would have never thought real, and a reality which is not a fairy tale. As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough by itself. I particularly liked Holly Black’s dark narration and the eerie qualities of Ted Naifeh’s art. I am now officially hooked on fairies’ stories. But only if they are bad, the fairies, not the stories.

Happy reading!

The Good Neighbors