Friday, August 20, 2010

What I've Been Reading: The Iron Fey Series

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, especially since I've been sick for the past few days. I just completed the second book in the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, and thought I would share my thoughts on the first two books.

The Iron King: (sysnopsis from 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.

Until recently, I didn't read a lot of fantasy, but for some reason I seem to be on a solid run of them. I've picked up several in a row including this series and the Graceling books (Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore) and it gives me a perspective when reading a lot of them so close together. I have to be honest, the cover of The Iron King intrigued me, one reason I picked it up. I started the book and was instantly pulled in. I have to admit, the concept and even the world the concept is built in isn't the most original, but I loved it anyway. I loved the characters. Meghan is a strong woman (girl?) who makes her own decisions and follows her own path. You can sympathize with her. Despite the book being based around Midsummer Night's Dream with characters and the Summer and Winter Courts, it still felt original in the little details that Kagawa weaved in. As soon as I finished, I knew that I would have to pick up The Iron Daughter.

The Iron Daughter: (synopsis from Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of The Iron Daughter from Netgalley about a week before the book came out. I started it as soon as I finished The Iron King, which was really refreshing because normally you have to wait so long between books that it takes awhile to get back into the story. I didn't have any trouble at all, and The Iron Daughter picks up right where The Iron King ends. I thought this was the perfect sequel, building off the world that Kagawa took the time to really develop in The Iron King, yet she was able to expand on it and open the readers onto new things. I don't want to give too much away about the sequel if you haven't read the first one, but the romantic triangle that starts in the first book, only grows stronger. Meghan has to decide which guy is best for her, even if the answer is neither. We learn more about each court and the fey that live within the world of NeverNever. There is a great pace to The Iron Daughter that will keep you reading late into the night.

I would highly recommend both books in the series. The writing is beautiful and the characters are endearing, even when they are not always up for the challenge. Meghan is a strong main character who you will laugh and cry with, as if she were a good friend you're watching take the tough journey she is on. I can't wait for the third book to the series, The Iron Queen.

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