The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My name is Meghan Chase.
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back.
My Take: I wondered if I would be confused since I'd not read the first two of the trilogy. I wondered if it would be more like a groupie thing that you would only understand if you'd breathed the first two books. After reading the Iron Queen, my conclusion is that it would have been nice to start with the first book, move to the second then hit the third but it is not crucial. My confusion level was very minimal and understanding of characters would have been enhanced but I loved it, anyway.
So the book starts out with Meghan returning home with her new beau, the Winter Prince, Ash. He may be winter, but he's all-encompassing hotness, but that's beside the point. As they reach the porch, they are attacked by iron spiders. They defeat the enemy but correctly assess they won't be safe until they challenge the pretend Iron King.
Let's back up. Here's what I think I know. The fairy realm is divided into two courts, Winter and Summer or Unseely and Seely. Mab rules Winter. Ash is her son, fallen from favor and banished. Oberon, THAT Oberon from Midsummer Night's Dream, is the Summer King. Somehow, 18 or so years prior, Oberon and Meghan's mother got together and Meghan was the result. The slut. Meghan was raised by Paul, her stepfather, up until age 6 when he disappeared into faery realm. Paul is not a fairy (at least not that we know). And there's a whole story behind how Meghan ended up in faery realm going after her brother, discovering Paul, and stuff that pertains to the previous books which I have not read but is necessarily pertinent to understanding this book.
Regardless, I'm going to get my hands on Iron Queen and Iron Daughter.
And then there is a kind of fairy. They are the Iron Fairy. Just in case you are not polished up on your fairy lore, iron is deadly to the fairy people. Bottom line is that the pretend Iron King is waging a war against the fairy realm and turning everything to iron. This is very bad. Oberon and Mab have extended forgiveness to Meghan, Ash, and Puck (yes, THAT Puck) and will lift the banishment if Meghan kills the pretender. And so they return to Fairy Realm.
What I loved about this book was the images the author conjures for me with her words. The war and the creatures are so well described that I can hear the clashing of the swords. Just when I think the images can't get more interesting, she conjures more interesting images. I liken it to the way Mockingjay's (Suzanne Collins) story is told. When Catniss et. al. get to the capital and the different pods and creatures are released, you are reminded of the war scenes in Lord of the Rings.
Except you can't close your eyes and shut out the images because they are already in your head!
My one disappointment was the ending. Not that the book didn't have a proper closure because it did - for a book that has another book after it. I can't wait for Iron Knight.