And, drum roll, please. Here is my very first review posting on my brand new book review blog (and bear with me as I find my legs in this venture and fine-tune my reviews over time). And I made it extra special by reviewing the first three books in the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. Reviews of the novellas in the series and the fourth book will be added post haste (or post when I get a chance to read them). Click on the title links to take you to the goodreads.com summary of each book.
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
We meet Meghan Chase just before her 16th birthday when all she is hoping for is that her mother remembers that she is supposed to take her to get her learner's permit--the learner's permit that will lead to a driver's license that will get her out of the backwoods pig farm where she grew up. (Well, where she grew up after she and her mother moved after her father's mysterious disappearance into a lake.) This doesn't ever end up mattering because between the time that school ends for the day and the time she finally gets home (after walking home when she thinks her mother has forgotten her promise about the learner's permit) her best friend, Robbie Goodfell, has given a pig nose to one of their classmates, Meghan has seen a mysterious pale-faced, dark haired boy watching her from the woods and her little brother has been replaced by a very vicious changeling who has attacked and wounded Meghan's mother. It's a this point that Meghan learns that she is the half-breed daughter of Oberon, King of the Seelie Court and Robbie is actually Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck, King Oberon's favorite lackey. Meghan and Puck venture into Nevernever to try and rescue her brother and defeat the Iron Fey and King Machina, who are trying to use the electonic/industrial advancements of humans to feed their rise.
I'll admit up front that I enjoy anything--book, movie, play--that uses a Shakespeare play (all right, all right, specifically a Shakespearean comedy--the tragedies are so, shall we say, tragic) as the basis for the story, so the fact that this book was using characters from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was the real hook. However the tale of Meghan's journey into Nevernever to save her little brother and the faery friends she meets kept me reading. Meghan was one of those kids in school that was teased (because she wasn't wearing the trendiest clothes and, mostly, because she lived on a pig farm) but in Nevernever she was a princess. She went from lacking confidence in herself and hesitating to trust the people around her to being able to trust her judgement and work with warring factions of Summer and Winter to help her achieve her goals. I enjoyed this story and I'm glad I didn't come across the series until it was already completed so I don't have to wait to find out what happens to Meghan, her Winter prince, Ash and her devoted friend, Puck (later I found out there was a fourth book added to the series so so much for reading through the completed series at this time).
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
So, we pick up a bit after we ended the last story. And because time doesn't matter in Nevernever (a few days in Faery can be weeks or months in the mortal world) it doesn't really matter how much time has passed since Meghan Chase, half-breed daughter of Oberon, has been triumphant over the Iron King, or has she? After following through on her deal made with Prince Ash in the first book, Meghan has returned to Nevernever and is a "guest" of Mab, Queen of Unseelie and Oberon's enemy numero uno. After her defeat of the real Iron King, Machina, we find at the beginning of this book that a false king has taken over and is trying to rally new troops to start a war between Summer (Oberon's court) and Winter (Mab's court) so the only Faery left will be the Iron Faery. In this tale, Meghan, Ash, Puck and their highly connected cait saith (magical cat), Grimalkin, are joined by the original Iron King's trusty lieutenant, Ironhorse, in an adventure to end the reign of the new (false) Iron King.
This was a very good follow-up to the first book in the series. We see that Meghan is still very unsure of herself in the faery world as well as in the human world. However when she feels threatened or her loved ones are threatened she is very sure that something must be done. Along with her Summer glamour (faery magic) it appears that Meghan has also been gifted with Iron glamour during her combat with King Machina. During this entire story her Summer glamour has been bound by Queen Mab and it's during that time that Meghan realizes that she can also call on the magic of Iron. In this book, as in the first, Meghan continues to realize the extent of her power and they are still new to her so that she's not always sure how they can be used to accomplish her desired goals. With the help and guidance of her friends it's nice to see her grow her faery powers and also grow as an individual. My one complaint with this story line was that I became disheartened and frustrated in Meghan's growth as a character when I see her so easily waver between Ash and Puck on who held her romantic affection. I mean, just because Ash was possessed by the Iron Fey and tried to kill her? She should have more faith than that. Anywhoodle, let's move on to the next book to see what becomes of our faery characters.
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Here we go on yet another adventure with Meghan Chase, Puck, Ash and Grimalkin, this time to definitively and definitely defeat the false iron king. As we have seen in the first book, Meghan has already defeated the (real) Iron King, Machina, in an epic battle royale and in the process of his dying, was given all of his Iron glamour (aka magic). Unfortunately, this false king, who eluded the search in the previous book and whose identity remains a mystery until the very end of this one, wants that same glamour and is sending his troops after Meghan, her friends and the Winter and Summer faeries in the realm of Nevernever. This story leads on the journey Meghan takes to marry her warring Summer and Iron glamours to defeat the false iron king and save both the Summer and Winter faery lands and people.
Meghan definitely became more confident in her abilities and comfortable in her role as de facto leader of the movement to kill this false king. She has Ash teach her to fight, she makes an ultimate decision on who owns her heart (there was some unfortunate wobbling between Ash and Puck) and she stands up for what, and who, she believes in and comes to understand that not everything has an easy answer. The story was left open-ended so I am gratified to see that there will be another book in the series. I can't wait for the fourth book, The Iron Knight (all about the lovely Prince Ash--plus a little Puck and Grimalkin thrown in for laughs and derision).
And, here for a finishing touch is the trailer for the first three Iron Fey books.