Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review - THE IRON KING

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA Urban/Paranormal Fantasy
# of pages: 361
(pb)
Age-Level Recommendation: 15+
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
The Iron King @ Parental Book Reviews

First off, I want to start this review by asking a question:
How AMAZINGLY beautiful is the cover design?!

It's one of my favorites! And The Iron Daughter is pretty, too :)
Okay, this is one of those books where I just have a lot to say, I guess. First of all, I enjoyed The Iron King. Truly, I did. It was good, and I had fun reading it. I was a little disappointed, though. From all the other reviews I've read, I was expecting this book to be incredibly good: I expected the book to be as awesome as the cover design, and it wasn't. I liked it, but I didn't "love" it.. For what it was, I liked it okay. But it wasn't as good as I expected it to be.

Trying to keep it simple:
What I liked:
1) The Main Character: If I don't connect with the main character, the book just totally strikes out. End of story. Meghan Chase was a good character for me. She's not stupid, but she's not exactly practical, either. The reason why I think she's a good character is because she has enough positive qualities to make up for her negative ones. She's a good and loyal sister and while my family life is pretty much the polar opposite from hers, I still felt like I could relate to her. She had a good sense of humor, too. The best way I can describe Meghan is that while she has valid feelings and concerns, she frequently jumps to conclusions and is a little too impulsive. That's why things keep happening to her that a lot of times could have been avoided. Like my awesome affiliate Christina says, you just have the urge to shake her. But I still liked her. And it's like, if I was in that situation, who's to say I wouldn't behave exactly like her?
2) Supporting Characters: what The Iron King had that the other faerie books lacked (for me, at least) were likable supporting characters. Grimalkin and Puck were great. Puck makes so many appearances in fiction nowadays, he's practically a stock character, and a talking cat is not that original, but they were fun and interesting. That counts for something.
3) Originality: There are certain elements of this book that are petty original. The whole "iron fey" thing is interesting and definitely unique, and it's always fun to read about something new.
4) Fun, Quick Read: Maybe I'm lightening up over the years, but I just enjoyed this book more than the other faerie books I've read. It was just a fun, quick read

What I disliked
1) Repetition of plot: Okay, this got to be really annoying in the middle of the book. Meghan and company encounter scary, nasty creatures - then they escape. The continue on, and then they encounter some more scary, nasty creatures - then they escape. Over and over. It's obvious why: action sequences keep the plot from getting "boring," but it got very repetitious and predictable...which is the same thing as boring.
2) Repetition of characters: there are so many stock characters here, I felt like I was at a blue-light special. I said that the iron fey concept was pretty original; everything else had a used/worn feel to it. I didn't really find this book that creative or that different from other faerie books. It was more enjoyable, but there wasn't anything particularly special about it. I know how critical this review sounds, but when a book gets all sorts of praise and high reviews, I naturally have expectations. And while it was fun, it wasn't special.
Her faeries are pretty much exactly like Holly Black's and Melissa Marr's. And that's too bad. When your "good guy" characters act almost exactly like the "bad guy" characters, what kind of contrast exists? Tell me, how are Mab and Titania any different? And yet one is queen of the Unseelie Court - Unseelie usually implying malevolent. No contrast. The faeries are so frustrating because they seem to possess a "devotion to rules and proper etiquette" (according to Ash on pg 166) but they're portrayed as obscene, oversexed, orgiastic revelers. Those are contrasts in behavior, and it happens over and over. I was so hoping that Kagawa would give me something truly different, but she obviously took the easy stereotype. And she didn't miss a chance to take a few chapters and throw in teenage stereotypes either: mean jocks and cheerleaders. Haven't heard those before.

Summary: I enjoyed The Iron King, and I'm glad I read it. It was entertaining, but not special. In fact, pretty much every scene in the book reminded me of similar scenes I've seen in another book or movie. Still, even if most of the plot was predictable and borrowed, it was entertaining. It may not sound that way from the review, but I did like it. I just have pretty low standards for faerie fiction, I guess. Here's hoping Wondrous Strange will be a better experience.

Quick Content Check
L:
strong and consistent vulgarity throughout, including the "f" word.
S: Nothing but kissing happens with the main characters, but the narrative mentions somewhat graphic sexuality on part on the faeries.
V: if Quentin Tarantino got ahold of this, he'd have a new movie in no time. Strong, consistent (albeit predictable and repetitious) blood and gore.

Final Rating:
The Iron King may be best suited for upper teens only.

10 shout-outs!:

Blueicegal ♥ said...

Amelia! hey girl i liked how you broke it down and explained your thoughts in detail and i have to say your rating system pic is just so cool! lol

Emily said...

Wicked Fugly. That made me LOL!

Audrey; (AyC) said...

haha, agree with emily. Wicked Fugly :) hehehe
Anwyays, awesome review! I like the breakdown (i was gonna say "set up and breakdown" but then typed out "break up"...*delete*) I'm usually pretty petty about stock characters, but there seems to be quite a bit of positives :) I'm definitely hoping to read this soon (despite my lackage of faerie-liking... blame wicked fugly :P)

JessiKay89 said...

Hi Amelia! One of the things that I love about your reviews and what keeps me coming back again and again is how honest you are about the books you read. As a reader, I truly appreciate your honesty, and it's nice to count on a blogger who doesn't just write rainbows-and-butterflies reviews to have a chance at more ARCs!

Christina T said...

Nice review! I took a look at my review and while I gave it 4.5 stars at the time I wouldn't now. I was really overzealous in my awarding of stars so now I've taken a break from it. Thanks for the small shoutout!

I really liked Puck and Grimalkin but I wasn't a fan of the other faeries. Even Ash at times kind of annoyed me with his behavior towards Meghan. I will be reading the rest of the series. I have The Iron Daughter and just downloaded the novella set between books 1 & 2. I started reading The Iron Daughter but Meghan was being really whiny and Ash was being mean so I had to take a break :)

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

Even though I think I enjoyed this one more than you did, I really like your new book review style. You did a GREAT job of breaking down everything and explaining what you liked/didn't liked.

I do have to agree with some things. Meghan got on my nerves a few times, but overall, I really enjoyed it. Great review! :)

Dazzling Mage said...

Awesome, detailed review! And answers the question of whether I should read it or not. I read an excerpt of this book, and wasn't impressed by the first few pages.

So yes, great review!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

A: Great review.
B: LOVE the way you pointed out what didn't work.
C: Can I say, yet again, how much I love your new rating system?

Cara! said...

I love your review! So far, all I've heard from reviews was that Iron King was, "Great!" ...AKA, not very descriptive. You really fleshed it out and I now feel as if I know what it's about!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Thanks for the great review. I really liked the setup here for this read. I have this book on the shelf and really looking forward to it. I will have to keep in mind the things you have mentioned here. Thanks!

 
Blog designed by Dreamy Blog Designs using Joifa Designs Birght Night and Cozy kit