16
Oct
12

Thoughts on a Book: The Iron King

My name is Meghan Chase.

In less than twenty-four hours I’ll be sixteen. Countless stories, songs and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset.

I don’t think it will be that way for me.

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

AUTHOR: JULIE KAGAWA

Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish and the odd eel.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dog trainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.

Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all-time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyperactive Papillon.

  1. The lopsided dominance of the female characters in teen fiction continues in the daring deeds of Meghan Chase. She fits the template of the regular schoolgirl thrust into a battle of immortals – smart, beautiful and in love. It is just a matter of time before writers consume all kinds of non-human beings for their stories: vampires, werewolves and so on. The Iron King, deals with creatures that have long-been part of our oral and written tradition, fairies. Like mermaids, these creatures, at least according to stories, are notorious for making contact with humans. Though am not sure if it is true for all cultures, but the one am familiar with, fairies are quite notorious for falling in love with our kind and in some cases, knocking up their enchanted human partners. Chase is one of these unfortunate half-breed kids but unlike most, her father is a king – Oberon.
  2. Sounds familiar. Oberon is the ruler of fairies in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is married to Titania. Master prankster Puck, another popular character, is also present as the best friend and protector of the lead character. (No need to reach for the Cliff Notes.) These three characters are all part of The Iron King lore. Using a bit of Shakespeare is one of the reasons I liked the book. Old stories are meant to be reshaped and retold to sustain its magic. It is not plagiarism – far from it. You can all ask Homer the Greek about his penchant for modified narration.
  3. Before dismissing The Iron King as another rehashed tale, the author is smart enough to create another set of fairies, aside from rivals  Seelie (summer) and Unseelie (winter) Courts – iron fairies. (There is an explanation for the oddities surrounding these fairies and am letting the readers to find it out for themselves.) The iron fairies provide a steam-punkish feel that I found appealing. It is rather clear, the author is a fan of anime, and I am supposing it influenced her a lot.
  4. Compared to Bella (because it is just sadistic fun to mock Bella), our heroine has a can-do attitude much to the consternation of her father and friends but to the pleasure of readers. Despite being a princess, she is not delicate but rather determined. Her most admirable traits though are her quick intellect and poise under pressure. Instead of using her powers, she tries to win her battles through cleverness. In several situations, she had to negotiate with astute fairies but our half-mortal heroine succeeds most of the time. If she decides to change careers, she’ll prosper in the courts of justice and the stock markets.
  5. The dislike I have for the most popular bloodsucker series does not hinder me from appreciating paranormal romance. I understand the female species will aspire for such dilemma – a couple of handsome heroic men battling for love and affection. I signed up for TEAM ASH because his personal circumstances promise endless theatrical drama compared to TEAM PUCK. Puck headed to a life in a desolate pit called Friend Zone.

RATING: B+

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