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. (Synopsis from Goodreads)
I have to admit that I was put off reading this book for a long time because it says ‘the next Twilight’ on the cover. But I really have a thing for the fey, especially when faeries are sinister and just a bit sadistic like in the old stories, so, let’s be honest, I was always going to end up reading this one.
And first off, this book is nothing like Twilight. Well, I mean there’s a kind of love triangle (I imagine this will become more of a thing in later books; it was just suggested in this one), but that’s about it. Meghan can be a little damsel-in-distress in this book too, but she’s a much better character than Bella. Whereas Bella has a tendency to give in to despair, Meghan is determined to keep going. Naturally, she falls for the handsome, brooding stranger, but she also never loses sight of her goal – to save her brother. She puts family first, she’s brave and pro-active, and I found her an easily likeable character.
Yes, there’s the deer-in-the-headlights issue. Meghan seems to be completely incapable of getting out of the way of danger. Her companions will be screaming ‘RUN’ or ‘HIDE’ and diving into nearby bushes or climbing convenient trees, while Meghan just stands there gawping at whichever monster is about to eat her this time. I can understand it once or twice, but this happens constantly throughout the book. However, although she can be a bit frustrating, I did understand why she would be scared and confused, and I thought her characterisation was convincing. I didn’t need her to be a powerful hero in this book; it’s enough that she keeps facing each new danger and refuses to be pushed around. She gets the hang of faerie deals quite quickly, and apart from the odd slip-up or learning how to run away when scary beasties charge right at her, I think she handles herself pretty well. I’m interested to see how she’ll grow through the series.
Also, although it seemed like they might be at first, the love interests weren’t too obnoxious. I have problems with many teen paranormal romance options, but these were actually okay. Puck (the Puck) is mischievous and sarcastic, and though he grated slightly at points, I thought he was an interesting character. Ash is presented as your typical brooding ‘bad boy’ (inverted commas because I’m not sure what makes him a bad boy beyond the fact that he happens to be on an opposing side of a feud. It would be like calling Romeo a bad boy). Ash has managed to come off completely non-creepy so far, though I hope he gets a little more personality in later books.
I thought the world of this book was perfect. All the great elements of faerie lore were woven in, and the faeries themselves were certainly not cute (well, apart from the packrat thingies). There’s a sense of menace throughout every incident involving the fey, and some bits were actually quite scary. I started reading this book at bedtime, largely because I didn’t want to read my other book (a ghost story) right before sleeping. Big mistake. Early on The Iron King features a monster in a child’s closet (is there anything scarier?). And the changeling freaked me out too.
Each new setting and character is described so well, and I enjoyed Julie Kagawa’s writing style. She creates an atmosphere that’s perfect for faerieland – a little sinister, weird and wonderful, beautiful but dangerous, scary but also sometimes funny, romantic and magical. I found the idea of the Iron Fey fascinating and really well thought out, giving a different twist to the typical stolen-child faery story.
Overall, a great start to the series, and I’m eager to read more to find out what will happen next.