Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review - The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, Book 3) by Julie Kagawa (5/5 stars)

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
Size: 384 pages
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: January 25, 2011
ISBN-13:  978-0373210183
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Iron Fey series
Source: ARC from NetGalley.com
Rating: 5/5 stars

This is the third book in the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. The fourth book in the series The Iron Knight is due out some time in 2011. I got an advanced reading copy of this book through NetGalley(dot)com. This was an excellent addition to the series and a great place to leave things with Meghan. I am not sure how she does it but Kagawa sure does know how to write a story that draws the reader in and totally captures your imagination. Can I give this book more than 5 stars?

Meghan and Ash have been cast out of Nevernever. Meghan is determined to go home to her human family but on her way up the driveway is attacked by the false Iron King's minions. Now she realizes she can't go home until the False Iron King is dealt with. To do that she needs to learn both how to fight and how to use her magic reliably. When she sets on the path to destroy the false Iron King she has no idea that her path will take her to an epic battle between the False Iron King and the rest of the fey; the very existence of the Nevernever will depend on Meghan's resolve.

This is a wonderful wonderful book in what has been an absolutely stellar series. Kagawa creates characters that are complex, easy to engage with, and so easy to care about. The world she has created is amazingly complex, but never feels too complicated. At every turn we see new fascinating places, people, and creatures. Kagawa always keeps you guessing. There is a ton of action here, some true love, adventure, quests, epic battles...really this book has everything any fantasy fan could ever hope for.

Gone is the Meghan who couldn't take care of herself; she is replaced with a girl with more backbone, more know how, and more resolve than ever before. The Winter Prince Ash has finally thawed, gone is the stoic Prince from previous books...now he is showing us how he feels and giving us glimpses into his past that help to explain his actions. To keep the story from getting too intense we have Meghan's sharp sense of humor and the presence (and sudden absences) of the wonderful Grimalkin...he continues to be mysterious, funny, and very Cheshire-cat-like. Grimalkin is hands down my favorite character in this series.

Kagawa does such an excellent job describing environments, I actually feel like I am there with Meghan. Her action scenes are creative and you never know what is going to happen when you turn the page. And this book was a page turner. I read the almost 400 page book effortlessly and couldn't believe I had already reached the end. It was soooo hard to put down. As for the characters, well this book is quite a rollercoaster...the characters are put through a lot. You will laugh, you will hold your breath, and you will cry a few times...it takes a great author to pull a reader through all this emotion and that is what Kagawa is. At times in this book the story becomes truly epic and I was impressed that Kagawa handled massive battle scenes just as wonderfully as the other types of scenes in this book.

My only complaint is that I want more. I will warn that some readers may be disappointed in how this book ends....the fact that there will be a book dedicated to Ash's story called The Iron Knight should give a bit of insight into the ending of this book. I personally thought it ended well and realistically, although it did feel a bit rushed and I was surprise that Meghan didn't struggle a bit more to change things.

Overall this is absolutely, hands-down the best fae based story I have ever read. Kagawa is a writer to keep you eye on; this blows all of those other YA faerie series out of the water. I just don't know how she does it; the pacing, the creativity, the wonderful world and characters; it is all spot on. I am super excited to see what The Iron Knight brings us and I thoroughly enjoyed this series. I highly recommend it to any fantasy fans out there; not just the female set either...there is enough fighting, action, and epic battle to make this book appeal to any fantasy fan in the young adult or older age category.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

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