The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series, and it tells about a girl from the human world who crosses into the world of faeries. It is basically an adventure and exploration of a new world, and I was eager to follow. In many parts the book reminded me of the Labyrinth movie, but, thankfully, just in parts.
The Iron King is loaded with turns and twists, which I found believable thanks to a realistic start: a plain girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere, who is bullied by classmates, and who has just one friend. I wish the characters had more depth though, because I didn’t feel the bonds that Meghan had with her little brother or her friend Robby or even her parents. As a consequence, Meghan objective, as well as all relationships in the book remained unbelievable, sketchy and unexplored.
I like the idea of a character without any magical powers who ends up in the magical world. These characters are so rare and difficult to create. Meghan, of course, had an ability that gave her some leverage in the faerie land that became even more like a superpower towards the end of the book. I really liked that the author managed to keep her from using magic for a while.
Speaking of magic, I loved how Julie Kagawa incorporated the world of faeries into the human world, and how she described them. I ended up reading the book for the sake of these descriptions only. She selected a nice cast of characters, but, as I mentioned, they remained flat. A romance line was atrocious: I didn’t see any reason for the characters to fall for each other, at all.
Another of my grievances is that Meghan is shown as a reactive character: she reacts to whatever surprises other characters throw at her. I wanted more action and mischief from her part. After all, she is destined for a leading position.
All in all, this is a smoothly written book that is fun to read. If you are into adventure, it might be your jam. Don’t look for depth or well-built world and relationships though.