The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

(Cover picture courtesy of Julie Kagawa’s website.)

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she never could have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six.  She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war.  Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Meghan Chase, the main character, is a geek at school who just wants to fit in.  But on her sixteenth birthday, strange things start happening.  Her brother becomes switched with a changeling and her best friend reveals that she is a half-faery, the daughter of the King Oberon.  Meghan goes on a quest to a secret world consisting of the Summer Court and the Winter Court in order to get her little brother back.  It is this quest that will bring her both pain and happiness.

Now, The Iron King is pretty much your typical YA novel: young female protagonist, a slightly dysfunctional family, a love triangle and a super hot but icy guy the protagonist loves.  But what is different about this novel is that Julie Kagawa’s protagonist has substance and real motivation.  Meghan is a geek at school with a crush on the captain of the football team, something many readers are able to relate to.  She wants nothing more than to fit in, but every time she tries, things go badly.

Some may complain that The Iron King is basically a bunch of old YA tropes mixed together in a soup pot.  This is certainly true, but these elements mashed together work well or they wouldn’t be used in so much YA fiction.  Julie Kagawa’s novel not only has an interesting (but admittedly clichéd) plot, but is well-written and emotionally resonating.  I found myself actually caring about the characters because Meghan, Ethan, Ash and Puck are all well-developed archetypes.  So if you’re looking for an excellent, slightly clichéd Young Adult novel, The Iron King is certainly the book for you.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.
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