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The Iron Fey #1

The Iron King

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Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

363 pages, Paperback

First published January 19, 2010

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Julie Kagawa

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Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
January 10, 2011
ICOFA (InCase of Fairy Abduction)

In the event that you are abducted by fairies, please adhere to the following guidelines so that I don't have to watch or read about you blundering through fairyland like an incompetent idiot.

1. Never thank a fairy for services rendered.
2. Never eat fairy food.
3. Never dance with fairies.
4. Never strike a bargain with a fairy unless you've agreed on the fine points.

The Iron King is a book about a sixteen year old girl, Meghan Chase. Can I advise all people reading this review: never be sixteen. It's a horrible age. Avoid it as much as you can.

Meghan is dragged into the fairy world when her younger brother is replaced by a changling. She soon discovers she has deeper ties to fairy than she'd originally thought.

The Iron King, like many modern day fairy tales, tries to adhere to old school fairy myths yet still manages to balls up and humanize certain fairies with all the eagerness a coming of age book about a sixteen year old on a magical adventure CAN balls up and humanize fairies. I take particular exception to the depiction of famous fairy Robin Puck's character and the introduction of romantic lead, Ash.

The fact that Robin Puck has been turned from a wicked, mischeivous sprite with a penchant for disaster, into competition for a sixteen year old's affections was really just traumatizing to me. Suddenly Puck is sexy, serious, occasionally brooding and suave. Excuse me while I choke back tears and reread A Midsummer Night's Dream.

We've gone from:

old school


[image error]
Emo fairies are the new mythology, folks.

Meghan Chase is not a complete idiot. Her handling of the Goblins and her occasional ability to use her brain redeems what would otherwise be another atrocious YA paranormal adventure. The two or three times she redeems herself and isn't completely useless, however, is quickly overshadowed by her inability to move the fuck out of the way of charging, rampaging monsters trying to eat her. She has a serious case of Damsel in Distress.

Over all, the story isn't too bad. It's simply hard to ignore all the elements so obviously drawn from other inspiration. The Packrats are cute versions of the female packrat in The Labryinthe, Grim is so much like any other talking cat guide that I'm wondering if there's a book written on the subject for aspiring authors. The whole plot of getting the younger sibling back from the fairies is already such an overused cliche.

The thing is, I did kind of enjoy this book after a while, though it took a long time to stop rolling my eyes. I will read the next book in this series but only because it left off on a little bit of a cliff hanger and I want to find out what happens next.

*shakes fist*

emo fairy
Emo Fairy wants your soul! And $27.99 for this book...
May 17, 2017
3rd reread: May 15, 2017. I still love this book to pieces. Ash, you sexy motherfucker.

I know that a lot of people might be surprised that I like this book, considering I tend to rip other fantasy YA to pieces. I just don't think it's bad. I don't think Meghan was annoying, she reacted appropriately freaked out at times, but that's reasonable. I think Ash is **HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGG** there's a reason he's one of my 3 book boyfriends.

Grimalkin is absolutely a devilish little delight. Puck was a bit grating, but he was appropriate, given his character. The Nevernever is enchantment itself. The only thing that really bothered me was the fact that Ash and Meghan seemed to fall for each other so easily, with so little evidence. Overall, this is still a rock-solid book that I evidently love through an unprecedented three readings.


Original review:
I don't think there's anything further I can add to what's already been said about this legendary book. There is so much to love, and very little I found objectionable. This is my second time reading it, with a more critical view, and I found that I enjoy it even more this time around.

The plot in a nutshell: Meghan's little brother Ethan has been acting strange, and it turns out he has been replaced by a changeling. She and her long-time best friend Robbie (more popularly known as Robin Goodfellow, or Puck) goes into the Nevernever to rescue him. Along the way, she discovers the truth about herself, encounters numerous dangers (and a cat), and falls in love.

Sounds like your typical YA fantasy, right? Oh, but this is so much more. As someone with a short temper for TSTL characters and unbelievable characters, I can tell you that there is nothing I can complain about here.

I was starting to write a list of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, but there is so few of the latter two. And whatever there is that is ugly in this book is so eloquently described that it becomes beautiful, if only the writing. So here's the list of everything I love about this book.

The setting

The Nevernever, in all of its lands and aspects, are beautifully and vividly described.

A warm breeze blew into the closet, carrying with it a shocking assortment of smells—smells that should not be together in one place. Crushed leaves and cinnamon, smoke and apples, fresh earth, lavender, and the faint, cloying scent of rot and decay. For a moment, I caught a tang of something metallic and coppery, wrapped around the smell of rot, but it was gone in the next breath.

And the creatures...

In the scattered moonlight, faeries danced and sang and laughed, calling out to me from a distance. Satyrs whistled tunes on their pipes, piskies buzzed through the air on gossamer wings, and willowy dryads danced through the trees, their slender bodies waving like grass in the wind.

The writing and environment so often makes or breaks a book, and in this case, it enhances the feel of a beautiful and dangerous world.

The characters

Meghan is such a fantastic heroine. She is strong, tough, but so vulnerable. She acts impulsively sometimes, but never endangers herself or her loved ones needlessly.

Meghan has her faults; she is obstinate and headstrong at times, but it's in a believable and rather sympathetic manner.

I slipped into the baggy jeans and the wrinkled, smelly T-shirt, feeling a nasty glow of satisfaction as they slid comfortably over my skin. Burn my things, will he? I thought, dragging my sneakers out and shoving my feet into them.

Little acts of rebellion...who among us hasn't dressed improperly for an important occasion as a teenager? Meghan's little acts of foolishness are largely harmless, the defiance of a teenager instead of willful obstinacy, and I like her all the more for it.

Puck is Puck. He is capricious, a trickster, but he has more depth than that of a court jester. He is truly devoted to Meghan, and the mistakes that he made in the past has made him even more protective of her. Puck is even willing to endanger himself and endure punishment for the sake of his friend, and I am glad that he is by Meghan's side as she continues her quest. He adds an element of lightness to the serious feel of the novel, and his seemingly lighthearted stance is invaluable in helping Meghan keep her spirits up when things are fearful.

Ash: Oh man, what a dreamboat. I love a good reformed rake in my Regency novel, and while this is in no way a similar story, Ash is the kind of bad boy that's every fangirl's dream. He is dark, scarred; he has a difficult past and a hard life as the son of Mab. His courtship with Meghan...if it can be called that, is a rough one. They're enemies, and he did try to kill her...

“What!” I stared at him in disbelief. “You tried to kill me!"

“Technically, I was trying to kill Puck. You just happened to be there. But yes, if I’d had the shot, I would have taken it.”

Their reluctant alliance and their growing feelings for each other are so gradual that I can't even recall the exact moment when Meghan falls for Ash...or hell, when I fell for Ash.

Grimalkin: I don't think I've ever met a talking cat I didn't like. I've loved talking cat guides in every fictional reincarnation I've ever read, be it the Cheshire Cat or Edgewood Dirk, and I can say no less about him in this book. I love his selfishness, his wicked sense of humor, his questionable morals, and his wisdom...

“The Nevernever is dying, human. It grows smaller and smaller every decade. Too much progress, too much technology. Mortals are losing their faith in anything but science. Even the children of man are consumed by progress. They sneer at the old stories and are drawn to the newest gadgets, computers, or video games. They no longer believe in monsters or magic. As cities grow and technology takes over the world, belief and imagination fade away, and so do we.”

The plot itself is fast-paced and action-filled. There is a lot that goes on in this novel; typically, I hate it. I like things to stay in one place. Rapid changes in settings are so often poorly done and lose my interest and credibility, and just confuse the hell out of me. This is not the case with The Iron King. Everything is paced as it should, and though the book moves rapidly, I never feel lost. I'm so glad I reread this book; it only improves in the reading.
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,862 reviews30.1k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 30, 2017

I tried.
I really, really tried.
But this just wasn't my jam.
I picked it up at least three different times and no dice.



When you are interested in a book by an author you've never read before...
...which is priced at $7.99...and you discover your library has it in ebook form for FREE.

Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
404 reviews912 followers
October 29, 2017
I have a vague memory from my early teen years that haunts me to this day - there I was, reading The Iron King as it had just been released. I turned the last page, smiling to myself, and thought, "Wow, what a fantastic book. Meghan is so amazing and smart, and Ash is so dreamy. I wish I had two handsome, perfect men chasing after me."
Then, out of nowhere, a disembodied hand materialized in front of me and smacked the living daylights out of my face, like so:

The Supernatural Slapping Incident of '10 has remained a mystery to me until today, when, upon rereading the Iron King for a BR, I unraveled the very fabric of the universe to reach back in time and give mini-me a big ol' slap for ever enjoying this book.

Because, seriously, what is there to like? The plot is clusterfuck of cliches, the heroine - *someone get me a bag to retch in* - and the love interests are two barely distinguishable heaps of garbage.

So, Meghan. She's just turned 16 but has enough entitlement to fill an Olympic pool. She spends her days swooning over the football captain and complaining about how her hard-working parents won't buy her new jeans.
Then she sets off on an adventure into the Nevernever, aka Fairyland, to rescue her baby brother and we get a real glimpse at the unfathomable stupidity lurking inside her skull.

This bitch is DUMB.

She makes binding promises to untrustworthy strangers (Favorite phrase: "I'll give you anything you want!")
If there's danger, you can bet she'll freeze up and wait for handsome man to save her.
And tact is at the bottom of her skill list.

That's all nothing against her biggest act of idiocy, however.
Ladies, I've said it before and I'll say it again. Attempted 👏 murder 👏 is 👏 NOT 👏 SEXY 👏👏👏.
Meghan meets Ash, her love interest, for the first time and he tries to put an arrow through her face!!! Her reaction?? Swooning and daydreaming about his physique. NO! No, honey, no!
The next time she meets him, he tells her multiple times he plans on killing her. WTF? We're supposed to buy that THIS is a love interest?!?
There's a lot of qualities I can forgive in a man in exchange for good looks. MURDER IS NOT ONE OF THEM. FOR FUCKS SAKE GET A GRIP MEGHAN

It's not that a problematic heroine is an automatic red flag. In fact, an inherently flawed character is perfect for growth and development, to entertain readers with struggle and journey and so on. But when the author presents an awful human being as protagonist and then condones her qualities, presenting her as a role model, that's when we have issues. Meghan shows no sign of improvement and the tone of the book was never once negative towards her flaws. Instead of facing consequences of her idiotic behavior, Meghan flounces through the world protected by her strong men and is rewarded for every misstep. This isn't a basis for YA fantasy, this is garbage.

Meghan's second love interest, Puck, isn't much better; he's been in love with her all along (picture me shocked at the reveal) but is too chickenshit to act on his feelings and instead waits until she shows interest in someone else, then gets sulky and angry about it. If he were a human he'd already have thrown around the words "friendzone" and "slut". Yeah, he's that kind of guy.

And then the plot... I can't take the plot seriously. Most of the problems arose because of Meghan's single-digit IQ and had to be solved by the *charming* love interests. The book checks off every overused YA trope on the list. Love triangle, powerful but inexperienced heroine, falling for the "bad boy" prince, you name it. I'm just so sick of the whole spiel.

Take a pointer from me and try a different book. I've heard even Julie Kagawa's other series are better than this. Save yourself the stress and popped blood vessels.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
January 24, 2020
help. i think im entering a slump because im pretty sure i was over this before i even began reading it.

i was really in the mood for something fae related, but i had barely reached the second chapter when i knew this wasnt the kind of fae story i wanted. i love julie kagawa - i appreciate her writing and unique portrayal of the fae world - but i just wasnt feeling this.

i think meghan is a big reason why. she is one of the most insufferable characters i have read in a long time. ash is pretty great though. but then again, we all know i have a thing for fae princes. lol.

i do feel guilty because i probably would have enjoyed this when it came out 10 years ago and i was still a teenager, but ive read so many better stories since then that this just feels like unmet potential. :/

2 stars
Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,331 followers
June 7, 2017
I've had 'The Iron Fey' series sitting on my Audible shelf for quite some time. Paranormal/Fantasy isn't my "go-to" genre, but I was curious about this series after seeing some great reviews for it. Yet, every time that I was in the mood for this type of story there always seemed to be another book released that was higher up on my TBR priorities.

I finally got around to listening to this audiobook on a recent cross-country family road trip. Since my children, as well as my 89 year-old grandmother, were in the car, my usual smutty romance selections were off the table. After all, I wouldn't want to be responsible for giving my grandmother a heart attack and I certainly wasn't prepared to answer any questions that might arise from my children related to something they might hear in a dark romance novel.

Since this series is aimed at a younger audience, it ended up being the perfect time to give it a listen. Other than a few "mildly bad" words, which were no cause for a freak-out in my opinion, this book was clean enough for my girls (ages 5 and 10). It also had enough adventure and suspense to keep the adults in the car engaged in the story. While my youngest daughter wasn't exactly following the story closely, she did pay enough attention to pick up on the general theme and point out who her favorite characters were. I'm not sure that I could've found another series that would have worked as well for our group.

The story centers on a high school girl, Meghan Chase. She is a heroine that is easy to relate to because she is flawed, but strong and personable. I appreciated the fact that Meghan was a good role model for young girls. She had the same insecurities of all young, teenage girls, but was able to rise above - and even make light of - teenage drama. Topics, such as bullying and body image were addressed, but not in an over-the-top, in your face kind of way that reeks of an after-school TV special. The author addressed these issues subtly and without much fanfare.

Meghan's reality changes overnight, when she discovers that her younger brother, Ethan, has been taken into the Nevernever. A changeling has taken his place in the human world, while the real Ethan has been taken.

Everything that Meghan thought she knew was wrong. The man that raised her, and disappeared when she was six, wasn't really her father at all. She is the daughter of Oberon, the King of the Summer Court. It ends up that Meghan is half faerie and not entirely human at all.

In addition, her neighbor/best-friend, Robbie, is really "Puck", the faerie of legends. He had been sent by her father to watch over her for years. Revealing her true identity to her, Puck goes on to become her tour guide through the faerie world.

As Puck and Meghan set out to find Ethan and return him to the human world, they embark on a series of adventures. Along the way, Meghan meets Ash, the Winter Prince, who becomes her love interest. Meanwhile, she must carry on in spite of the contempt of the Summer Queen, Titania and other members of the faerie courts that look down upon her because she is a "half-breed".

From start to finish, I was captivated with this story. The characters were easy to relate to and the storyline was compelling. I was lost in the fantastical world that Julie Kagawa created. It was absolutely magical!

Check out more of my reviews at www.bookaddicthaven.com
Profile Image for Blacky *Romance Addict*.
473 reviews6,301 followers
July 19, 2016


I almost DNF-ed this one. It just irritated me to no end :(

But then I met Ash. He deserves the 3 stars here <3

You know, sometimes less is more.

The Iron Fey universe obviously doesn't know of the concept "less" :(((

Up to 40%, the heroine sees about a 150 different creatures, a bit less in the second half but overall she sees a million of them and they're all described like crazy. I know, now you're thinking, Blacky you're a moron or your brain is non-existent for not being able to cope with a hundred million creatures in one book, but let me tell you how it is to read about it.

she sees a weird creature. it looks like this and this and does that and that.
next page.
she sees two creatures that try to kill her and they look like this and this and do that and that.
next page.
she sees one creature that helps them and he looks like this and this and his house looks like that and that
next page.
she sees a horde of creatures that try to kill her
next page.
she sees a weird creature that saves her and it looks like this and this
she again sees a bunch of creatures that try to kill her
next page.
she sees 5 different creatures that look weird and scare her
next page.
she gets warned not to go to a dangerous place where the weird creatures live but she STILL goes to the dangerous place and those weird creatures try to kill her
next page...

and so, by the time we get to her actually meeting Ash, there is absolutely NOTHING happening in the book except her seeing creatures and those creatures trying to kill her or save her. Seriously, absolutely NOTHING happening.
Though, even after she meets Ash, she still gets creatures that try to kill her all over again and some new ones that try to save her.

So basically, all the story in this book is the "world building" that was just over extensive because after the 100th creature I met, I didn't give a sh*t about any other and the more she saw the more I wanted to stop reading.
Yeah, I have a problem but damn, I just couldn't take it.

Another problem here is that she meets Ash at about %!!!!!!!!!!!


He's the only thing worth reading in the book and the REAL story starts at about 60 % I think, which is a shame and a f*cking waste of reading time as far as I can see, but oh well.

The heroine is really, really irritating, she got on my nerves from page one, I don't like the way she thinks, I don't like the way she acts, she's one of those "if I can do anything wrong you bet your ass I'll do it and mess up everything". She made unnecessary deals with just about anyone and that just proved how damn stupid she is.

Robin, he is OTT too. I didn't like him, though I probably should but dunno :(
He's too funny and too quirky and too everything.

So I guess I did a huge rant here ahahhahhha

I can say what I actually LIKED here...

The whole concept of the Summer Fay, the Ice Fey and the Iron Fey
is really great and has huge potential, if (let's hope) the second book actually has a story for more than 40% it'll be great because (let's hope) we're done with the introduction of the world and it's creatures and it can just move on normally.

Ash <3

He has silver eyes and is an enemy to Meghan <3
I love how the story went after he was introduced in the book, I can't say about it because it would be spoiling, but let's just say that it went from DNF to 3 stars :))))

So, I may try the next book because this series DOES look like it has potential to be awesome, and I DID read that they get better and better as it goes along. I hope it's true :)

Profile Image for MischaS_.
785 reviews1,371 followers
November 19, 2020
Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa
It's so interesting to go down the memory lane. In my book diary, I called the Iron King the book of the year 2012.
And now I can only remember a scene or two nothing more. Plus I do not believe I either finished this series. It's fascinating how your feelings towards a book can change so much.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
August 7, 2014
“Something was happening, something strange and creepy and terrifying, and the scariest part of all was that it wore a familiar, ordinary face.”

3 1/2 stars.

While The Immortal Rules series is still Kagawa's winner for me so far, I was actually really pleasantly surprised by this book. Almost everyone I know picked up this series a few years back and I deliberately avoided it. YA paranormal with a love triangle? Yeah, no thank you. But I've been meaning to see if I was wrong ever since I really enjoyed The Immortal Rules... and this first installment is bursting with Kagawa's trademark humour and a likable cast of secondary characters. It's far from perfect but I've heard it's the weakest book of the series. We shall see.

The foundations of the story aren't breaking any new ground - an awkward teenager called Meghan Chase discovers that the world isn't quite what she first expected when her brother gets kidnapped and taken to the Nevernever (Fey world). She must then go rescue him with the help of her friend Puck and other interesting creatures she meets along the way. Of course, things aren't that simple and Meghan uncovers a bunch of dark secrets that have remained hidden in the Nevernever for years.

Despite the familiar premise, The Iron King had a completely different atmosphere to most of the YA paranormal genre. A lot of the genre is very loosely based in fantasy and more focused around the central romantic angst, which this book wasn't, in my opinion. It has a very Alice down the rabbit hole or A Midsummer Night's Dream kind of feel to it, almost dreamlike at times and full of magic and illusions. There is some romance, of course, like when Meghan tries to convince herself that Ash is definitely not Mr Sexy:

“That is Ash, prince of the Unseelie Court. He tried to kill Puck, and he might try to kill you, as well. He is not sexy. He’s not.”

But I think what I like most about Kagawa's work is that she creates a wonderful balance between dark, fast-paced survival stories, and hilariously charismatic characters. I admit that this story gets a little messy at times with the influx of every paranormal Fey-like creature imaginable, popping up one after the other and causing drama, but I think the series may have been finding its footing.

My love for the characters started with Puck, whose sense of humour was EXACTLY the kind I love:

“Charming,” Puck commented, gazing around in distaste. “I love the barren, dead feel they’re going for. Who’s the gardener, I wonder? I’d love to get some tips.”


“Oh, we're playing nice now? Shall we have tea first? Brew up a nice pot of kiss-my-ass?”

I'm sure Kagawa is going to try and persuade me to change my mind, but Puck is so much more my type than Mr Broody smoldering gaze (Ash). I've said before that I can be sold on a love triangle if it's told well and I think this is one I could get invested in.

And then there's Grimalkin.

“I am a cat,” Grimalkin replied, as if that explained anything.”

Kagawa put an hilarious, completely lovable, frequently sarcastic cat in her book. How could I not love it?! He is easily my favourite character so far, Puck coming in a close second. The only character that hasn't wowed me yet is Meghan herself, but it also took a while for me to like Allison in The Immortal Rules so hopefully the MC love will come later.

As I said, this book is far from perfect; but it is enjoyable, fast-paced fantasy. And sometimes that's all I want.

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Profile Image for Amy.
150 reviews54 followers
February 8, 2010
Wow!- As many others have stated, at first glance THE IRON KING appears to be your typical faerie book. Summer court? Check. Winter court? Check. Shakespeare-esque characters? Check. Yes there are similarities, but these lie only in the bare backbone of the story. Yes there are those faerie courts and A Midsummer Night's Dream characters (Oberon, Titania, etc), but they are necessary for the make-up of the story. From here on out, Julie Kagawa makes THE IRON KING shine in the already-faerie inundated YA world.

Julie Kagawa writes in a style that is easy and refreshing to read. She doesn't weigh you down with a barrage of information, rather, she slowly immerses the reader into her world, page after page. Descriptions flow off the page and her tone is never stilted. It's narrated in first person point of view, through Meghan's eyes, and I found this great because she had a voice that was believable and easy to relate to.

The thing I loved most about THE IRON KING was its multiple story lines. Meghan embarks on a journey that takes her far and wide, to diverse regions of Faeryland and all over America. There wasn't just one set plot where she travels into the Summer court and stays there for the rest of the novel. Nope, her quest brings her from one plot to another, from one crisis to a new one, from one mission to the next.

THE IRON KING has a more action and adventure feel to it, though that is not to say it didn't have romance. There was a love story, but it did not overwhelm the fantasy-like realm of the Nevernever (faery land) and its unique and engaging inhabitants. First off, I love the feel of THE IRON KING. It's like a quest in the sense that Meghan, the main character, encounters all sorts of odd and malicious beings along the way as she nears her main goal. Unlike many faerie books out today, there was SO much going on! And in a good way. The story wasn't just about faerie drama and court intrigue, although there was a good portion of that in the beginning, which was actually done in a superb way. There was a lot of fighting, which was written well so it wasn't boring- usually, I dislike fight scenes for their dull descriptions and constant sword clashing, etc, but in THE IRON KING, I was actually very very enthralled!

The romance was very well done as well. There was a "love triangle" going on, although that was subtle and not very well emphasized because one love interest took the backseat to the other, in a good way. I love the push and pull, the chemistry between Meghan and the guy, which was very believable and made it all the more satisfying when they admit their feelings, sorta.

And the characters! I loved them all, which is a rarity in these types of books, where only the main character and one or two others stand out and all others are only fleetingly described or mentioned. Meghan has a companion in a Cheshire-like cat named Grimalkin, whom I adored, and all the other characters were well fleshed out to the point where I could visualize them in my mind and understand their actions. THE IRON KING is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland in that there is this feeling of being in an alternate and extremely quirky and surreal setting, which is true to an extent because a lot of the novel takes place in the Nevernever, home to the faeries.

Although THE IRON KING is only 368 pages, it was 368 pages of captivating adventure and page-turning action. I wholeheartedly recommend this to all those who love faeries, and ok- everyone else too!
Profile Image for Giulia.
156 reviews237 followers
August 13, 2023
Okay, I can't do this anymore. DNF at 62%. This is a negative review, so if you liked the book please respect my opinion as I respect yours.

... this book. You see, this is not a situation in which I can say that the book wasn't bad but it just wasn't for me (as it happened with Cruel Beauty, or even with Fangirl). This book is terrible. It's every cliché and stereotype in YA fantasy in one single book.
It was honestly painful for me to even get this far, and I don't want to do this anymore. Every time I thought hey Jun, you know you still have to finish The Iron King, right?, I found myself cringing and then procrastinating so that I somehow couldn't find the time to read it. Because, I'm gonna be really honest with you all, I hated everything about this book. It was so unbearably average, and I kept feeling like I had already read it a thousand times before.

The whole story is based on the weakest of premises. Picture this: you suddenly find out that your little brother has been kidnapped by the fae folk, and in his place there is a monster that looks like him but is actually a vicious Changeling. Said creature has also attacked your mother, who is now in the hospital. Now, you have two options: kill the damn thing, which would cause the fae who have kidnapped your brother to give him back immediately, or go to the extremely dangerous Unseelie court in a long journey in order to retrieve him. I sure as hell know what I would've chosen, but of course the main character, Meghan, thinks it's a great idea to leave a kid in the fae world for weeks and to risk her own life, instead of going for the most logical option. O-kay. And again, of course her friend Puck - who is, mind you, Robin Goodfellow from effin' A Midsummer Night's Dream - doesn't think he should change her mind, or at least kill the Changeling himself and spare them a potentially fatal trip to the Unseelie court. No, he's just like: alright, let's go to the Nevernever then! PLEASE.

Meghan is the biggest idiot you could possibly think of. No, seriously, she's the most insufferable main character I've ever read about. She never has any idea what to do and she prides herself on being "different from other girls", because they're all spoiled rich bitches who spend all day fixing their make up. Riiiiight. My hands are itching from how much I want to slap her.
Not only she's the most typical Mary Sue ever, but she's also - really, I'm sorry, but there's no way to put this nicely - extremely stupid. She doesn't know or understand even the most obvious things about the fae world, keeps putting herself in danger and generally getting her ass kicked, and she's always terrified. She once runs into the woods during the night (yes, the woods of the really dangerous fae world I mentioned before) because she thought she saw her brother there, and almost ends up being eaten alive for the umpteenth time. *sighs heavily*

But don't worry, there's more! Let's talk about the love interests, that don't seem to have any kind of personality of their own. No, wait, let's talk about the love triangle. Or about the insta-love? Yeah, I'll go with the insta-love. Yes, because Meghan meets this guy what, once? twice?, and she is already heads over heels for him. I'm serious.

First time they meet:
Ash, aka the dark brooding prince of the Unseelie court: I want to kill you and your friend.
Meghan: AHHH I'M SO SCARED! You're also really hot. And scary. But mainly hot.
Second time they meet:
Ash: I'm going to kill you. But first, let's dance.
Meghan: Wow!!!! So hot!!! I wonder what it'd be like to kiss him!!!
Third time they meet:
Ash: I'm going to kill you. But first, I want to kill your only friend.
Friend: *tries to kill Ash*
Meghan: No!!! Please, don't kill him!!! He's not as bad as you think he is!!

The writing is average at best, and the plot basically consists of Meghan doing something stupid, a terrifying creature approaching (which is always described in minute detail. And there were like, a bazillion creatures. I felt like I was reading a fae world bestiary), and then Meghan getting rescued by someone else. Repeat for 100.000 times.
I just want to forget this book even exists, so yes, I'm gonna stop here. What a waste of my time.

(2016 read)
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.9k followers
December 23, 2015
Before everything else,I need to express my strong belief in the existence of fairies,because they would perish without our dreams and thoughts and hopes.I've got your back guys,I will not let you fade into oblivion!

"Yeah,Mom,Ethan’s turned into a monster and my best friend thinks he’s a faery.How was your day?"

As you can see,Meghan's life is not that simple.She used to be the girl that lived by the swamp,an outcast,until her 16th birthday,when a creature disguised as her little brother tried to eat her and her best friend revealed to her that he is an ancient faery protecting her.Then she visited the Summer Court,found out her father was a Faery King,his wife was not particularly happy about her and she started a dangerous journey to find her baby brother,accompanied by trickster Puck,a talking cat and a brooding dark prince.I know,the brooding-dark-prince part is the best!
"Ladies and Felines,welcome to Tir Na Nog.Land of endless winter and shitloads of snow"

(Well they didn't stay there long enough but I liked Puck's sarcasm in this line.)The Iron King is the first book of a very promising series,and a different one.Fairies are not your typical creatures of extraordinary beauty and wisdom (except the royal ones),trolls and goblins and gremlins pop up from every corner,the legends of the monster inside your closet are all true,and they exist as long as us mortals believe in them,as long as our imagination runs wild and our minds are open to the impossible and inhuman.

I really liked Julie Kagawa's writing and fresh ideas!I guess the only reason I didn't give the Iron King 5 stars is that it took me a while to adjust to its world and magic,but once I was sucked in,I enjoyed it very much!My favorite character has to be *drum roll* Ash (of course),he is the result of the perfect combination;brooding,dark,sometimes an asshole with a tragic back story who needs someone to make him feel alive again.And gorgeous.Of course.

Puck was an entertaining addition,but I sense a love triangle in the making and I hope it will not cause unnecessary drama.Grimalkin the sassy cat was a pleasant surprise,a mysterious being with vast knowledge and hidden agenda.And then,there is Meghan.Thankfully she is not annoying and I actually like her,despite her being stubborn and immature at times.

All in all,a very good first book in an interesting series,I'm looking forward to the next one.And note this,Ash is mine .
Profile Image for Kristalia .
394 reviews615 followers
February 4, 2016
Final rating: 3/5 stars
Final rating - for the whole series: 3.5/5 stars

To venture in a world of The Iron Fey, you must proceed with this knowledge:

1. This is not a book about fairies like these:

Imagine evil - well, not all of them are evil- ELVES, so called FAERY or plural FEY.

2. They don't have wings (well, most of them don't) and there are many of them like dryads, goblins, gremlins, kelpies, ogres and so on and on.

3. In this world, fey are not to be trusted! They will always go for favors and bargains and never-ever-never say "thank you" to fey.

4. There is a neverending hate between Summer (Seelie) and Winter (Unseelie) court.

5. There is one extremely annoying, stupid and idiotic heroine, but nevertheless interesting (just ignore her and you will be fine).

6. You will without any doubt fall in love with two heroes - they will make you swoon.

Now this was interesting experience ♥ I love fey, they are my favorite paranormal creatures (and yes, i love and will always love evil fey ideas) and i love Julie Kagawa since her Blood of Eden series , which was fantastic!

I know this book was one of her earlier works, but i can't help but compare it to BoE series. While BoE has strong and kickass heroine, this series has weak and angsty one - and it really bothered me, which is why i gave it one star less. Still, it was quite interesting and it kept my attention so it was bearable to ignore Meghan. Well, i am overreacting - she wasn't that bad - she just bored me sometimes .

Alas, i heard that the other sequels get really and much better, so i am still having high expectations, while i lowered them for this one. But it surprised me and made me eager for more.

The world building was quite interesting. The Nevernever world was really well done and i love how Kagawa always describes the surroundings in quite a good amount of details. I could imagine everything perfectly and that is a big + from me. I just can't help but admire Kagawa's writing style ♥_♥.

And like every other young adult book - this one too has a love triangle. And i didn't mind it. God, what is happening to me, i used to hate love triangles! But here...it makes it even more difficult because there are Ash and Robin (aka Puck, which i will refer as Robin because its prettier) and i love them both.

The last 40% of the book i absolutely loved which is the reason i didn't give the first book less than 4 stars.

P.s. everytime Ash and Puck argue or fight, it reminds me of this:


Once upon a time, there was a normal girl. She was living in a poor family, with her mother, stepfather and step brother. She had best friend who was always there for her.

Meghan chase thought she was normal, she lived normally, she has a good life, even though it sometimes wasn't kind. Her father disappeared when she was young and her mother married another. And gave birth to Ethan, Meghan's step brother.

She likes hanging out with Robbie, her best friend. He was always there for her, no matter what.

But when she finds out that her brother Ethan was kidnapped, and that a changeling was put in his place, she doesn't know what to do. She learns from Robbie that he was kidnapped by a Fey and that he can help her bring him back. But its so hard to believe in it - until he takes her to Nevernever, homeland to all Fey.

For those who took interest in fey, then you heard of Seelie and Unseelie courts, some of the names like Mab, Oberon and Titania, the fairies' fear of iron and metal. And add all those supernatural creatures like dryads, goblins, gremlins, kelpies, ogres and so on. It's all in here, waiting for you to go and be sucked into it just like Meghan was.


Meghan :

The main character and narrator of this story. Once a normal girl, she finds out that she is not what she thought she was. She was never prepared for what would happen to her and it makes her miserable, sad and devastated. But she is not giving up - she would do anything to get people she loves back, even if it means making bad choices.

“Yeah, Mom, Ethan’s turned into a monster and my best friend thinks he’s a faery. How was your day?”

In a way, i understood Meghan, she was alone, she was afraid and it was all knew to her. And unknown. And it is scary when you are thrown in a world you know nothing of, and when you don't know the rules.

Puck/Robin Goodfellow :

Robin was Meghan's best friend in our world - he is a fey and he was sent to protect Meghan. And he would do anything for Meghan. Even break the rules.

“I guess the sacrifice of my dignity is the only thing that will save us now. The things I endure for love. The Fates laugh at my torment.”

He was amazing character, extremely fun, sarcastic but not so kind either...especially to his enemies. I loved all his comments, and he made me laugh so many times and he was just awesome.

Ash :

Ash, son of Mab, the queen of the Unseelie/Winter court. Ash, the third Unseelie prince and enemy to the Summer/Seelie court. Ash, the completely stubborn, sometimes evil SOB but also kind, brave and horrifically awesome.

“Combat doesn't have to be with swords... Emotions can be deadly weapons, and knowing your enemy's breaking point can be key to winning a battle.”

Ash... sigh... i am in love. At first, i kind of hated him, but as the story progressed i couldn't help but fall in love little, slowly and in the end completely.

Grimalkin :

The true hero of the story for me would be Grimalkin the cat. Always there to make bargains, promises and save the day. And he keeps many many mysteries and secret...because...

"I am a cat," purred Grimalkin.

Sigh....why don't you turn into a sexy prince so i can fall in love with you too?

Everyone else :

Oberon => meeeeeeeeeeeeeh, you didn't give me enough reason to like you.
Titania => erm... *coughbitchcough*
Mab => you are not better than them either...but we shall see :P
Ethan => cuuuuuuuuuuute ♥

and the rest bla bla bla.... too tired to write and i would just spoil the story.


Loved it. I love everything related to fairies and this was nice addition to my fairy mania. Anyway, i look forward to other books and for more Ash and Puck ♥


The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)
Winter's Passage (The Iron Fey #1.5)
The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, #2)
The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, #3)
Summer's Crossing (Iron Fey, #3.5)
The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)
Iron's Prophecy (The Iron Fey, #4.5)
The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #1)
The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #2)
The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #3)

This review can be found on my blog: infinity-of-time.blogspot.com also known as...

Profile Image for Whitley Birks.
294 reviews355 followers
May 9, 2013
I don’t mind if you want to write a story with a “green” message, if you want to encourage people to value and protect nature, if you want to say the narrative equivalent of “yo, bro, you don’t seem to have noticed that pollution is bad.”

But when you do that by literally killing the embodiment of the dream of human progress?

Sweetie, we’re going to have issues.

So let’s break down all the many ways this doesn’t work, shall we? In this anti-science, anti-reason, anti-all-that-is-separating-us-from-the-beasts novel, fairies are born of human dreams and imagination. The more people imagine, the more the fairies are born/grow stronger/have magic/fuck the reader, because this book can’t decide which of those options it wants and doesn’t care enough to clarify. Imagination = ~*~*~SOMETHING MAGICAL, OKAY, DON’T QUESTION IT~*~*~

And Faeryland is diminishing because people aren’t imagining much anymore.

Seriously, just the fuck are you thinking, book? We’re more imaginative than ever right now. Know why? Because 90% of the population isn’t engaged in back-breaking labor from sun-up to sun-down. We’re at the most imaginative point in history. We have hundreds of thousands of people who literally do nothing but sit and imagine up stuff all day. And I’m just talking entertainment here. That’s not including teenagers on youtube. And that’s also not including scientists, engineers, architects, anyone who ever had a dream and went out to make it real. If you sit there and tell me the guys that built the first rocket ship had no imagination, I will punch you in the face. They imagined up rocket ships to the moon.

Ones that actually work

We are hellaimaginative.

So already this book fails like a penguin is Equator.

But then it gets worse.

Because you see, in this book, we have “Iron Fey,” which is what you’d think: fairies that are made of or immune to iron. Supposedly they’re born from the whole electronics craze/industrial revolution/maybe/fuck the reader, because this book doesn’t want anything to be clear. They even go so far as to have a fairy named “Virus” who uses little tiny computer bugs, because that’s clever, right?

So…fairies take on the aspects of whatever it is the people were dreaming about?

Then how the fuck did this Winter/Summer Court of fairies come to exist?

Because, seriously, when in history have we dreamed more about frolicking in nature than we have about tearing nature down and building our own shit in its place?


Literally the first thing that the first human did was go out and chop the shit out of nature so he could burn that motherfucker down. And, you know, invent fire and cook his food. At least, I assume that’s the first thing he did, but if not it was at least the second or third thing.

So how did our long and glorious tradition of razing nature to the ground and building cities on her rotting corpse turn into the traditional fairies that populate this book, but our tradition of doing that – just with better tools – turned into evil monster fairies?


Because we get to meet the very first Iron Fey to ever be imagined into existence. He came about during the fucking Iron Age.

Yeah, these guys have been around since iron tools were first invented, but they weren’t as powerful as the nature fairies, because…fuck all if I know. We’ve been gaga for iron ever since we figured out we could tie it to the end of sticks and kill stuff with it.

And yet what have we ever done for Oberon? Some dude wrote him into a play (and did that relatively recently, compared to the fucking Iron Age) and now we make high school kids read about, which most of them don’t do because purists refuse to translate Shakespeare into teenage-speak.

But the iron guy remained weak throughout the ages, but Oberon is totally all butch and powerful and shit.

So as we get into things, we find out these Iron Fey are destroying the pure and gorgeous nature homes of the traditional fairies. Okay, I can roll with that. Then we get to their own iron kingdom, and the whole place is full of acid rain and trash and broken shit and just basically every single negative aspect of technology, but magnified times a million, and also that’s all there is.

Bweh? Why? Why to the Iron Fey get only the crapshit of the dreams that made them, but over in Oberon’s land there’s no…I don’t know, swamps or cacti or mudslides or tar pits?

Well, it’s because this book doesn’t give a shit about saying anything actually subtle or meaningful. It just wants to throw crap in your face like an irate monkey. None of it adds to any sort of discussion about technology vs environmentalism, because it’s too busy being so fucking extreme that none of it makes sense. You can say “nuh-uh” just by pointing out that scientists actually have to imagine shit or else there wouldn’t be any science because REALLY DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT SCIENCE IS?

And that’s on top of everything else that makes this novel just brain-bashingly stupid, but other reviews have covered that thoroughly. It had its high points, and to be honest the majority of the novel was…if not good, at least on an even keel. But the low points just have this tendency to jump out and slap you in the fact and spit in your hair, so that the end result is that I didn’t care about the okay bits because it was overall just such a terrible experience.
Profile Image for Jessica.
742 reviews618 followers
February 3, 2016
Endearing Heroine? Check. Unique plot? Check. Gripping story that sucks you right in? Check. Loveable and interesting secondary characters? Check. Hot romance? Check!

You see? DING DING DING DING DING ! Jackpoooooot!

God, I pretty much devoured this book. As so many others I find it rather difficult to review books that I loved and seeing as the Iron King will join the rest of my favorite books in my personal hall of fame I can hardly come up with anything to say about it except for: This.Was.Truly.Amazing.

I was sucked in from page one and loved the atmosphere Kagawa created. While reading I felt like Alice in Wonderland because of all the wondrous creatures Meghan encountered on her journey. I loved the secondary characters Puck and Grim (he reminded me of the Cheshire Cat) and I thought the whole Iron Fey idea was unique. I also liked how their existence was explained. But the best thing about this book was Ash. I have to say, all my warning bells went off when I read about his raven-wing hair that tumbled down to his shoulders because, let’s face it, long hair and men? Ugh! I’ve got a serious aversion against long-haired men. Usually that’s a total turn-off for me but OH.MY.EFFIN.GOD. does Ash make up for it!!! He could have worn his hair in pigtails down to his waist for all I cared! I still would have been drooling all over him! Well, okay...maybe that’s not entirely true but I guess you get the picture. Ash = Extra yummy. He’s exactly how I like my boys.

Alright, enough of the fangirling. This book was really awesome so if you haven’t read it yet I strongly recommend you to do so. Soon!
Profile Image for Choko.
1,221 reviews2,594 followers
August 30, 2017
*** 3.75 ***

A buddy read with the MacHalo sisters, because this summer we want to return to our early teens:):):)

So yes, I finally read this and I have to say, it is not bad at all. However, it is another of those series that I wish had been around when I was 12, 13, 14 or so years old, because I would have been swooning and in love with this Fairytale for teenagers and YA. I think this is exactly what one of those should read and feel like, not to light, not heavy, no excess in violence and romance, no sex. Full of Fae of all sorts and the idea that Fairy lives as long as people dream of things, this book is nicely imaginative and I even think it would make a great Disney movie. The 16 year old Megan and the two young men around her, her best friend Puck and the possible frenemy/love interest Ash, of the Winter Court, make for a potential love interest, but I am guessing that would develop later in the series. For now, the three of them, together with a magic snarky Cat, are looking for Megan's brother, who has been taken by someone with nefarious motives.

"...“Careful, human.” Grimalkin appeared on the corner of the stage, overshadowed by the dead chimera. “Do not lose your heart to a faery prince. It never ends well.”
“Who asked you?” I glared at him. “And why do you always pop up when you’re not wanted? You got your payment. Why are you still following me?”
“You are amusing,” purred Grimalkin.”..."

In the true self-centered fashion of the teenage girls the world over, Megan tends to overlook a lot of important details and asks just the wrong questions. I decided early on not to take that to heart, because otherwise there wouldn't have been a story, of course. Obviously, she threw herself with abandon into any and all dangerous situations, not taking under true consideration the possible outcomes and how dire some circumstances could be. It is also way to easy for her to say that she would do something or die, if that is what it takes. This is not brave, but reckless in my opinion, particularly because most of the time she gets just about killed, but someone always prevents it, not dew to her personal prowess though. Rarely does she thinks about her parents and if they are worried about her, which for me is a big issue, but that might be because I am the age I am... Kids just don't always think about their parents feelings while not into their company. And her constant willingness to bargain when she had nothing to offer... Ghhhrrrrr....

"...“I guess the sacrifice of my dignity is the only thing that will save us now. The things I endure for love. The Fates laugh at my torment.” ..."

Despite all that, once again given the targeted audience I understand and can overlook those parts, I actually was in need of something Fairytale-like and fluffy, so I enjoyed this read. It was just what I could handle after another big block of Grim-Dark Fantasy, letting me relax and visit with some Fantasy Fae Creatures:):):) I recommend this series for readers as young as 9-10 years old and up, definitely a linear story line and more about the younger imagination than for those who are looking for something more complex or challenging. Enjoy!:):):)

"...“Time to switch to decaf, princess. If you're going to shriek at every bogey that jumps out and says 'boo', you'll be exhausted before we reach the edge of the woods. -Puck”..."

Now I wish you All Happy Reading and many wonderful books to come!!!
Profile Image for The Flooze.
762 reviews249 followers
June 12, 2011
**6.12.2011 ETA: Finished book three and this is one of the most frustrating YA series I've read to date. If you've no tolerance for angsty, bratty, obtuse heroines, steer right clear of it.**


Julie Kagawa’s YA novel is an interesting treatment of Celtic legend, with characters reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and the movie Labyrinth. Kagawa’s vision of Faerie (or the NeverNever) is fully-realized and her particular talent lies in description--her world feels incredibly alive. I can picture most of her landscapes down to the finest detail, yet the prose never feels bogged-down or over-wrought. It’s clear that this rendition of Faerie is oh so vivid in Kagawa’s mind.

Meghan Chase is thrust into this world with absolutely no warning. A socially-awkward teenager with only one true friend, she has no idea how to cope with the series of revelations made on her sixteenth birthday. The most stunning of these is that she’s only half-human, and her parentage makes her a pawn in a game of power. The action that follows is fast-paced. Meghan has people to save, bargains to make, and hunters to avoid--all while adjusting to her newfound status.

Kagawa’s incredible attention to detail makes for some wonderful exchanges between Meghan and her companions. The brief moments of affection between Meghan and her ice-cold prince stand out because of the little things: a light caress, a puff of breath felt against her cheek, a quickened heartbeat. So too does the character of Grimalkin benefit from such impressive detail. Every haughty swish of tail and narrowing of eyes makes his character more lively, more real.

The story also includes some unique twists on the usual Fae lore: the inclusion of steampunk elements. Since any UF reader knows the damage iron can do to the Fae, bringing metal and technology into the NeverNever is frightening. It flies in the face of everything we’re accustomed to, yet it seems logical. Dreams of science, whimsies of technology--it only makes sense that these notions should have power too, and it creates a nice juxtaposition between magic and logic.

So overall, I liked it. But I still had some problems with the story. Firstly, I mentioned both Alice and Labyrinth. Perhaps it’s the recent effusion of Wonderland tie-ins, but the similarity between Grimalkin (who I do love) and the Cheshire Cat is too strong for me. Mad yet logical, helpful yet untrustworthy, and always knowing what’s what, Grimalkin embodies everything that stands out about that Wonderland character. He even has the grin and a penchant for disappearing. Since I love the CC this isn’t too much of a problem, but I kept searching for something that would separate him from the template--I didn’t find it.

As for the connection to Labyrinth…well, if you’re not familiar with the movie this won’t matter, but I am die-hard obsessed with it. I have a funny feeling Kagawa might be as well. There’s a Ludo moment of freeing the friendly beast; goblins who remind me of the Fireys as they debate what type of creature Meghan is; a host of metallic creatures reminiscent of the Humongous at the gates of Goblin City; a quest to save a child; and perhaps most notable of all are the creatures called “pack rats” who pile junk of all kinds onto their backs for safe-keeping. The similarities are striking, and Kagawa’s world suffers for it in the eyes of this fan. Homage is one thing--these parallels run a little too deep.

Continuing along that theme: Whenever I watch Labyrinth, I’m always struck by the fact that I don’t really like Sarah. Similarly, there are times when I don’t feel much affinity for Meghan. She is quick to anger, and her intelligence escapes her at the oddest and most pivotal moments (she too would have ignored the Worm’s warning “Don’t go that way! Never go that way.”) Not the most rational girl, unfortunately. But at her core, she has a good heart and that is what’s most important. Plus she’s 16, so I suppose I must cut her some slack.

But Ash! Her Winter prince. He is (I imagine) centuries old and has the reputation of being a remarkable tactician. So…why would he willingly run headlong into a situation that maximizes his vulnerability? When a sneakier route to success--complete with element of surprise--is readily available? I don’t know, but it severely lowered my estimation of his intelligence. Tactician. Pah.

Lastly, I think the line editor's attention wavered at times. People who already had their arms crossed did so again two lines later, and folks who were standing were suddenly kneeling then standing again (perhaps they thought they were at a Catholic mass). The "first time" Ash uses Meghan's name is actually the second. Niggly things like that tend to bother me. It makes me want my red pen (unfortunately, not an option with an e-book).

Indeed, there are some issues with this novel. Most of them rear their warped little heads about half-way through. In spite of this, I praise Kagawa for her vision, her masterful descriptions, the steampunk twist, and for her ability to weave Celtic mythology into the text. It’s a very vivid world, and I will certainly visit it again.
Profile Image for Kristi.
1,192 reviews2,900 followers
January 28, 2010
This book was outstanding. I mean really... I was totally enthralled from page one to page three hundred and sixty eight. I am blown away at the sheer awesomeness that emits from this book.

First off, I’m a huge fan of “Fae” in general, especially love reading this type of story. But at the same time, when it comes to book about fae there are a lot of similarities. Many books share the same mythology, the Summer Court and Winter Court, references to Midsummer Night’s Dream... The Iron King has these elements, and yet... Kagawa totally makes it her own thing. She created this strangely unique world, with even stranger inhabitants...magical! There was no way to anticipate what Meghan would encounter next.

Absolutely loved Meghan’s character. Strong, independent, stubborn, selfless. This is the kind of character that you want to read about, the kind of character that you admire. Not to mention the absolutely compelling cast of supporting characters... Puck, Ash & Grimalkin. There aren’t many times, especially in a debut, that I find myself genuinely enjoying and being impressed with all the characters. There are usually one or two that really stand out, and the others fade in the background, that’s not the case with The Iron King.

This book has it all..... action, romance, humor, intrigue! Not to mention it’s exceptionally written.

This is part of a three book series, but the first book wraps up nicely and sets up perfectly for the next novel, The Iron Daughter. Absolutely recommend this book! Can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!

Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
850 reviews3,880 followers
February 15, 2021

There's just something so satisfying in reviewing a much hated book that I genuinely liked a lot. Or is that just me? See, when I'm in the minority, it's usually because I can't bring myself to understand the fucking appeal of some asshole who's loved by everyone and his cousins.

The opposite is rarer, but it does happen. Proof's The Iron King. Even if I read it in 2014, back in the time when I was new to GR and barely back to reading, I won't change my rating. Here's why.

I loved this book.
I loved Meghan (I know, I know, *GASP* and the likes)
I loved the world.

I regret nothing.

This book managed to reach a part of me which had stayed forgotten for years. The part of me who watched The Never Ending Story, wide-eyed, and read Alice in Wonderland, eager to meet that odd cat and to visit whatever weird world on which I could put my hands.

"I don't even recognize myself." An image frashed through my head and I giggled with slight hysteria. " I won't turn into a pumpkin when midnight comes, will I? "
"If you annoy the wrong people, you might."

Welcome trolls and goblins and squirrels nails! I love you all already.

Quickly I found myself completely mesmerized and captivated by all the details brought to life by the descriptive writing.

"It's an elf," hissed another, giving me a toothy leer. "An elf what lost its ears, maybe."
"No, a goat-girl," cried yet a third. "Good eatin', them."
"She ain't no goat, cretin! Lookit, she ain't got no 'ooves!"

I giggled out of amazement. All the time. This said, I can see how fairy lovers could be annoyed, because all the rules aren't respected. I honestly didn't mind this time (for some reason??), but hey, to each their own.

As many readers pointed it, that's not the most interesting storyline that I had the chance to read about, yet I couldn't put it down and felt like it just clicked into place nicely. Actually I was on the verge of writing that the pacing was fast, when I remembered that the majority of readers grew bored in the middle of the book. That wasn't my case. At all. I don't know if that can be explained by the fact that I'm such a sucker for fantasy and always have, I don't have a damn clue about it. Sorry. Oh, well. That's my review after all, so perhaps it should be taken with a grain of salt, but in my opinion this book is compelling and fascinating, as it was such a page-turner for me .


And in the end... The surprise . Indeed all the concept of Iron Fey is truly fascinating. I don't want to spoil potential late readers like I was, so I won't say anything more about that but trust me : that's quite original and well, I loved it.

Let me introduce you... The Infamous Meghan!!

There's no denying that she isn't a kick-ass character, but you know, I'm feeling lenient with her because she never annoyed nor maddened me.


Well, I don't? I'm sorry? But not sorry???

Alright, let's be a little honest here, okay? Truth is, we all want to think that we would have morphed into some badass if we had been thrown into a fairy world at 16, and blablabla... Oh, wait. I don't want to think that. I already know that I wouldn't have been. Nah. I, for one, would have bitched around, paid no attention to any rule, annoyed the wrong people, petted Grimalkin.... and probably ended dead.

Just admit it already, you wish you could have known my teenager self.

Or not. Okay. I can live with that, now that I'm the champion at adulting.


What's the saying again? LET'S BE MERMAIDS???

Anyway. Meghan.

"Time to switch to decaf, princess. If you're going to shriek at every bogey that jumps out and says 'boo', you'll be exhausted before we reach the edge of the woods."

HOW can I be annoyed by Meghan if I shriek when I see a fucking spider? Huh? Meghan is no hero, but that's okay, because I didn't expect her to be. In my opinion she isn't dumb or infuriating, but she's actually pretty average and for me her personality fits perfectly in the plot developments. Furthermore, she knows her moments of pure awesomeness -

"Stop it!" I hissed glaring at both in turn. "Stop it right now! Put your weapons up, both of you! Ash, you're in no condition to fight, and, Puck, shame on you, agreeing to duel him when he's obviously hurt. Sit down and shut up."

Moreover, I really enjoyed Puck and no, that's not because his character is one of my favorite from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Noooo. I couldn't trust him, but he made me laugh.

" Charming," Puck commented, gazing around in distaste. "I love the barren, dead feel they're going for. Who's the gardener, I wonder? I'd love to get some tips."

Here. Have a cookie.

Oh, and maybe you're waiting for Ash? Hmm... Can I just say that throwing ice darts is considered like cheating in my book?

Yeah, yeah. I know. Brooding male-leads and all that. But I love him, period. Does their relationship flirt with instalove? Honestly? You really want to know? Sure?

WELL. The Iron King is the kind of books where other reviews made me doubt myself. At the time I didn't get instalovish vibes coming from Meghan and Ash. Some scenes were surfing a little on that dangerous territory but overall I found it pretty slow? Did my instalove radar was broken? Maybe? Am I wrong?

You know what? MAYBE, but I'm done trying to explain myself about that. It didn't bother me, I didn't feel what others felt, and I won't try and pretend that's the case.

I shipped them. Whatever that says about me, I don't care. I also don't agree about the Bella vibes in The Iron Daughter. Yes, yes, Meghan moped around at first, but let's be real : hello, she is *NOT* at home like Miss Bella. The rest is spoilers, but honestly?

I would have fucking WHINED. There.


I have NO idea where it came from. I still love you, my friends.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 9 books398 followers
May 8, 2023
This was a cool take on the fae from the perspective of half-fae Megan, who has grown up on a pig farm in Louisiana, convinced she is nothing special. When her brother is kidnapped, she must venture to fairyland in order to get him back. Lots of world-building and exposure to different fairies on this quest-type fantasy journey. It’s so interesting to me all the different takes writers have on the fae!
Profile Image for destini.
239 reviews501 followers
June 23, 2017
*sees all the mixed reviews*

*decides to read book*


The Iron King was so, unironically bad. It read like a parody... except it wasn't. Which just made it cringey. Let me share with you just a few of the gems I found in this book.
The morning before my birthday, I woke up, showered, and rummaged through my dresser for something to wear. Normally, I'd just grab whatever clannish thing is on the floor, but today was special. Today was the day Scott Waldron would finally notice me.

I wish I weren't so poor. I know pig farming isn't the most glamorous of jobs, but you'd think Mom could afford to buy me at least one pair of nice jeans. Oh well, I guess Scott will have to be wowed with my natural grace and charm, if I don't make an idiot of myself in front of him.

Opening the cabinet doors, I scoured the boxes of cereal for the one I liked, wondering if Mom remembered to pick it up. Of course she hadn't. Nothing but fiber squares and disgusting marshmallow cereals for Ethan. Was it so hard to remember Cheerios?

"Yeah," I muttered, turning and lobbing the bagel into the trash can. It hit the wall with a thump and dropped inside, leaving a greasy smear on the paint. I smirked and decided to leave it.

Can we just talk about how fucking inconsiderate and obnoxious Meghan is???!! I mean, seriously?? Your mom is probably hard at work, just trying to keep food on the table and you clothed, and all you can think to say is damn, why can't my mom buy me some cute pants and Cheerios? And then defile the house as your passive aggressive revenge that said mom will have to clean up, on top of caring for a toddler and everything else she has to do? No wonder she can't afford to buy you nice jeans and Cheerios. She's too busy buying cleaning supplies to mop up after your fucking mess.
I'm not like "inflate-a-boob-" Angie, Ms. Perfect Cheerleader, who'd flip out if she saw a caged gerbil or a speck of dirt on her Hollister jeans. I've pitched hay and killed rats and driven pigs through knee-deep mud. Wild animals don't scare me.

The quotes go on and on. I'm going to spare you, and myself, from quoting every other problematic statement in this book. But it doesn't really get better. And cringey statements aside, the world-building is nonexistent, the MC sucks, the writing is okay (if a little clichéd), and the romance/love triangle is laughable. Like literally made me laugh. I could only get to about 75% before I started skimming to the end.
Profile Image for • Lindsey Dahling •.
323 reviews644 followers
December 2, 2019
This started off pretty strong and then moved to boring me to tears. So much so that I kept checking the clock, hoping it was time for my dentist appointment so I could stop reading.

I’ll finish this review after my appointment...and a nap...

Update: My dentist appointment ended up being a surprise root canal (THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING. I AM SO #BLESSED), yet I still can't decide if that annoyed me more than this book.

Non-spoilery things I liked:

1. Some of the world building.

That was legit. Particularly the reasoning behind why the Faerie-land-place-whatever-the-hell-it's-called exists and how it survives. That was creative. Reminded me of a certain Disney/Pixar movie. Don't @ me.

2. The Summer Court.
This place was awesome. TOO BAD WE ONLY GOT TO SPEND 4 SECONDS THERE. (Does this mean I should've put this on the "things I didn't like" list? Eh.)

3. Robbie.
There are many reasons why I liked his character: he's sassy, he's grace, he's Miss United States.

Non-spoilery things I didn't like:

1. The pacing.

Whatthehellwaswiththepacing. Itfeltliketherewasneveratimetotakeabreath. Sortoflikehowyou'rereadingthisrightnow. Everythinghappenedinstantly. Friendship. Truelove. Conflict. Resolution. It'sannoying.

Look, I'm obviously a fan of caps lock (see: every review I've ever written). But, I like caps lock because of how ridiculously dramatic it looks. Therefore, when there's a villain of the Iron Court WHO ONLY SPEAKS IN ALL CAPS YET IS STILL SUPPOSED TO BE MENACING AND EVIL, A LOT IS GOING TO GET LOST IN TRANSLATION AND I'M GOING TO LAUGH A LOT AT IT. Which I did. Also, what the hell kind of name is that for a villain, anyway? I mean, come on.

3. It was boring.
This thing really did hold my interest for the first 40% of the book. Then...the insta-love happened. The conflict started to sprint. The main character couldn't stay in one place longer than one day. I couldn't get attached to any characters or settings or conflicts because I knew we would be moving on by the time I turned the page.

Will I be continuing with the series? No.
Am I glad I gave this a chance? Also no.
Profile Image for Eliza.
596 reviews1,378 followers
April 5, 2017
[Second Read]

Still 4.25 stars!
This series is so amazing - I'm glad I picked it up again!


[Original Review]


Ah, this book.

I read this book/series about 3 years ago, and whenever I think about it I still remember how amazing it was. I know some people say that Meghan is annoying and not likeable, but I never thought so. She's insecure, like many of us are and I always thought that made her very relatable. She felt real - and I felt as though I was going through everything alongside her.

Now, I will agree that this book is the "worst" of the whole series, but it only gets better. I mean, Ash and Puck are amazing characters that you will fall in love with, undoubtedly.

Gosh! I adored this series. I might even re-read it again because I loved the character development, the writing style....everything, honestly. It was just a really good read. Fans of The Immortals Rule by Julie Kagawa will love this series as well.

Overall, a book for anyone who's craving an imaginative story that will paint a picture in their head, filled with beautiful broken characters and a magical realm.
Profile Image for Anniebananie.
552 reviews398 followers
July 10, 2019
Das Buch hat mich sowas von positiv überrascht!
Anhand des Titels, des Covers und des Klappentextes hätte ich etwas ganz anderes erwartet, aber auf keinen Fall so eine spannende und auch originelle Geschichte. Zu Beginn dachte ich noch "och nööö wieder so ein klischeehaftes Jugendbuch", aber ich wurde zum Glück eines Besseren belehrt. Die Welt die Julie Kagawa hier erschaffen hat ist wirklich genial, ich liebe die Idee dahinter.
Der Schreibstil der Autorin ist jetzt nicht der beste den ich je gelesen habe und für meinen Geschmack waren die Kapitel etwas zu lang, dennoch lies sich das Buch super zügig weglesen und alles wurde so gut beschrieben, dass man es sich gut vorstellen konnte, ohne unnötige Ausschmückungen.
Auch der Humor war nach meinem Geschmack und ich war von unserer Protagonistin Meghan ehrlich gesagt auch positiv überrascht. Für ein 16-jähriges Mädchen war sie erstaunlich wenig naiv und sogar recht clever, ich konnte mich gut in sie hineinversetzen und all ihre Entscheidungen nachvollziehen.
Zu Puck und Ash brauche ich ja wohl nichts sagen? ;) Allerdings ging mir die Love-Story vielleicht doch etwas zu schnell. Außerdem hatte das Buch für mich den ein oder anderen kleinen Logikfehler, das hält mich allerdings nicht davon ab mich darüber zu freuen diese Reihe doch noch für mich entdeckt zu haben und ich bin schon hyped auf Band 2! :)
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
March 28, 2011

Ummm....WOW! That is how I felt after reading The Iron King. Simply amazing. I was lost in this book for a few days and I never wanted to leave the beautiful world Julie Kagawa painted. This is the best "Fey" book I have ever read!

What I liked about this book: everything! There is not one thing I would change. I rarely give books 5 stars unless the story really calls to my soul. And boy was this book singing! The characters were totally believable and realistic. Puck is my favorite bc he is simply hilarious! The second book is on hold for me at the library and I'm going to pack my kids up and go get it right now! Lol.

More reviews and more at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,008 followers
April 26, 2022
"Of all the stupid ideas! What is wrong with you?"

-Robin Goodellow aka Puck when asked to choose a sentence to describe Meghan When-in-danger-when-in-doubt-run-in-circles-scream-and-shout Chase. We all appreciate his outspokenness.

As a matter of fact, this book is completely unremarkable. It does no harm, in a general way, but it's undoubtedly pretty naive, childish at times, crammed full of annoyingly stereotypical narrative schemes, predictable and not particularly original in the execution nor in the concept, and yet it somehow still manages to be... kind of okay I think?

•The plot, well, I think you got it: predictable, unoriginal, et cetera. Also, I think that the most logical thing for the Iron King to do would have been to . But of course, then there would have been no story to begin with.

•The world-building is not particularly astonishing and does not in the slightest bring about any new element in comparison with the mythology we all, more or less, know, but it's still okay. Moreover, I happen to be extremely fond of what turns out to be the core concept at the heart of the whole story, which is to say, the reason of the existence of the Iron Fey, . I like this so much because it is a very simple, intuitive and yet clever idea that can have possibly unlimited consequences and applications.

•On the contrary, I am not very fond of the characters, especially Meghan. I know that I'm not tolerant with fantasy ya heroines and that I should probably try to be more malleable. It's just that I can't and, honestly, don't want to be. 90% of them fall under the definition of stupid or passive. Meghan Chase sets a new record by falling under both. Annoyance embodied. She is petty, whiny, selfish, and she is totally unable to grasp the idea that thinking before acting is maybe the smartest way to go. Half the troubles the characters have to face could have been easily avoided if she just managed to stay put and use her darn ears. I hated her to the bone.

Now, who's next?
*The Iron Daughter raises her hand*
This way, please.
Profile Image for Nicole.
749 reviews1,934 followers
February 8, 2021
actual rating: 3.5 stars

The Iron King has been on my tbr list since forever. I always avoided reading it because I heard so many mixed opinions about it. Anyway, I finally read it and I'm glad I did. This book was quite a surprise.Even though I only gave it 3 stars, I still enjoyed it (mainly the second part). This is no review since what I want to say has already been said just some of my thoughts about this book.

Even though main events started early in this book, it wasn't slow paced yet I was bored. I always took a break. Until yesterday when I forced myself to finish it and finally I was able to start liking the story and relate to the characters.

Meghan annoyed me at first. I read that her character will develop and it did. I can wholeheartedly say I like the girl! Puck is funny, I like his sarcasm and his devotion to her but I'm team Ash all way! And I don't even feel guilty about it. You see, Puck for Meghan is like Simon for Clary. I can never see them together, can't imagine them more than best friends.

The world-building is quite impressive and although I'm not convinced about the way fey live in the human world, it was interesting. I also loved Grim!! The cat is probably the best thing about this book! I found the idea behind the Iron Fey intriguing.

Although this book was nothing special at first, it quickly picked up and I ended up enjoying it a lot. If you are hesitating to read it for the obvious reasons, I suggest you read it asap! I'm so looking forward to the next books, I should read them soon before I lose interest (not because it was bad but rather it's what usually happens with finished series).
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