By: Julie Kagawa
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 2011
Page Count: 358
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy
P.E.R.F.E.C.T.I.O.N. in EPIC proportions!
BRILLIANT! I read the netgalley of The Iron Queen before the book was released (thank you Netgalley and HarlequinTeen!)... it was so good I immediately had to reread the series up to and including The Iron Queen again. I am still blown away! Julie Kagawa is a master story teller. She has the ability to paint the scene with her words and describe the characters so richly, it's like a movie is playing in my head as I read.
Julie masterfully orchestrated the perfect faerie story with a modern twist. It will touch on every raw emotion you have so be ready for a very emotional roller coaster ride.
The Iron Queen starts off with a bang and keeps a full pace throughout. Meghan and Ash have been exiled to the mortal world. Meghan is, in her mind, planning her future in the mortal realm after some rather life-altering events that took place in the previous books. However, this book proves that those thoughts were futile from the very beginning. Meghan's destiny has other ideas.
Meghan has to be my favourite heroine/protagonist EVER! She is tough yet vulnerable. Her character develops and matures in a believable and yet dramatic way. She's not perfect, and still tends to revert back to her 17 year old idiocies at times, but that grounds her, in my mind. But when the chips are down... she's got plenty of courage and determination to fulfill what she sets out to do. She sacrifices so much for the greater good... that's a huge part of her character and is so very integral to the story... it's all about sacrifice for those she loves. What I also adored about Meghan is that she is the sort of person who just brings out the best in everyone around her. You can't help but want to be her friend.
I still have a real soft spot for Puck. He, of course, has to be where Meghan is... old habits die hard.... and so we find out that he has chosen to follow her into exile as well. Puck continues to be sharp witted, and there is a bit of a bitter edge to him now. It's a tough pill for him to swallow, seeing Meghan and Ash together... happy. My heart really goes out to him.
And Ash... oh where do I begin?? Meghan has grown by leaps and bounds since the beginning of this series... but perhaps the most astonishing transformation is in Ash. The former prince of the Unseelie Court sheds several layers of his icey facade and displays what has been hiding behind his (beautiful) mask, and it reveals a wonderful hero. In The Iron Queen, we learn a lot about Ash's background, and why he puts up that blank mask -- for protection -- both for his heart and from the Winter Court. It's heart-warming that it is Meghan who touches his heart and brings out the real Ash. He hit all the right buttons for me. Ash was fiercely protective of Meghan, yet tough on her too... for example, when she asked Ash to teach her to fight. He was not gentle with her. He loved her enough to teach her to fight for real... with skill, instincts and cunning, which in turn, also boosted her confidence, and helped make her a stronger person all around. Ash is the epitome of the perfect "knight in shining armour"... literally. In my eyes, he is the perfect love interest, leading man, hero. There is nothing I don't love about him.
Grimalkin is back... popping in and out as required...always in time to save their butts, along with his infamous retort when asked to explain himself, "I am a cat".
We meet some "friendly" Iron Fey, too: Glitch, Razor (I LOOOOVE Razor!!), and some of Iron Horses's kin.
All the characters, good and bad, come alive... no one is superfluous... each has a purpose, and are rich and dimensional. Each and every character pulls some sort of emotion out of you. Julie made me care so much for all of them.
There is TONS of action sequences and surprises with just enough "I knew it" tidbits thrown in to make you clap to yourself! And with Meghan and Ash, there is NO shortage of romance. *sigh*... beautifully written and perfectly balanced.
I will not give the ending away but I will say that it literally left me emotionally drained. This story sat with me for a very long time afterwards. That's how I know it was so good... it leaves an impression that doesn't easily fade away. And regarding the ending, THANK GOD I knew ahead of time that there will be a fourth book in this series, The Iron Knight!!! Knowing there will be more story got me through the ending of this one, even though the plot of this book had its conclusion.
I tell you honestly... if you haven't started this series yet... YOU HAVE TO... RIGHT NOW!! This is EPIC... PHENOMENAL! Well done, Julie K! Well done! And I still say... if I could give it a hundred birdies, I would!
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.