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THE BOOK -The Iron Queen
by Julie Kagawa
Bk. #3 of The Iron Fey
First published in 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I PURCHASED-Paperback, 358 pages
Published in 2011 by Mira Ink
My Rating: 4/5 stars
THE PLOT -My name is Meghan Chase. In less than twenty-four hours I'll be seventeen. Although, technically, I won't actually be turning seventeen. I've been in the Nevernever too long. When you're in Faery, you don't age. So while a year has passed in the real world, age-wise I'm probably only a few days older than when I went in.
In real life, I've changed so much I don't even recognise myself.
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.
What an epic finale The Iron Queen was. Though the story started off pretty slow with Meghan more interested in Paul, her human 'father', than anything else, it definitely picks up. After agreeing with Oberon and Mab that she must find the false king of the Iron fey herself, the book gets good. And I mean real good. As Meghan, Ash, and Puck venture through the Iron Realm in search of the False King, things become increasingly more dangerous. With plenty of action and more than enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat, the build up to the final battle is just as epic as the battle itself. As Meghan faces off against the False King, you finally realize the extent of her power, and exactly what she's willing to sacrifice. Despite Meghan's destiny being painfully predictable, I still got goosebumps as I read the very last page.
Unfortunately, Kagawa's writing didn't seem quite as vivid as it did in the previous novels, and I never really felt as connected as I did in the first two books. I have to assume that the sheer amount of action had a lot to do with it, so I didn't let myself focus on it. The writing was still better than most, but it failed to truly shine. Nevertheless, I still thoroughly enjoyed the style and the way Kagawa tried to create a vivid image.
Anyway, on to the characters. We met Leanansidhe in The Iron Daughter, but I had other characters that I wanted to talk about in my review. The reason I'm mentioning her now, despite her being less of an important character, is because I love her. This exile is pretty much Marmite in fey form: you'll either adore her or you'll loathe her. She's confident, sneaky, and definitely queen material. The explanation of why Meghan's 'father' is with Leanansidhe is interesting and I'm glad Kagawa decided to tell us the story. If I didn't love Ash so much, he and the Exile Queen would have been battling it out hard for the top spot.
Speaking of Ash... oh my god. I promise I won't gush, but I absolutely adore this icy prince. He's so brave, dedicated, strong, protective, loyal... the list could go on forever. I love the relationship between him and Puck, too. It's pretty amusing, really.
And then there's Glitch. I wasn't sure what to make of him at the beginning. I just couldn't bring myself to trust him, despite Meghan's belief. Nevertheless, I finished this novel absolutely loving him. I honestly wish he'd been a prominent character earlier in the series.
Despite the action-packed plot, the romance was still a heavy feature in this book, and there were a couple of things that upset me a little. Ash's lack of hesitation when it came to making a certain vow was unbelievably moving, but several times I found myself angry and him for it. Despite Meghan's obvious love for him, she still doesn't understand the fey. I cringed on several occasions at what came out of her mouth, and Ash got the brunt of my anger for making the stupid (and incredibly amazing) vow in the virst place. Nevertheless, Meghan and Ash will always be one of my favourite couples, especially after the utterly heartbreaking scene at the end of this book. There were real tears. How could I have ever thought their relationship felt wrong?!
The Iron Queen was a fantastic conclusion to a great series and I'm a little sad to see it finish (or at least Meghan's side of things). The epilogue both warmed and broke my heart simultaneously, and I truly believe it was Kagawa's beautiful writing that truly made this series stand out among YA faery lit. I can't wait to explore more of her work, but The Iron Knight - the kind-of-sequel, told entirely from Ash's point of view - is calling to me. Overall, an astounding series that comes highly recommended from me.