Summary from Goodreads: Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.
I have read many positive reviews of The Iron King so maybe I had high hopes and because I was expecting to be hooked into the story from the beginning. Instead, it took me about one third of the book to really get into the story. I read the first two chapters and put the book down thinking that I wasn’t sure about the story. I didn’t really connect with Meghan as a character in those first two chapters, she felt like a lot of other downtrodden teen characters. But it was clear that there was more to the character of Robbie and I wanted to know what or who he really was. After the adventures in the Nevernever start, the pace of the book picked up and Meghan began to change, she might not have realized it, but it was very clear that she had found the place where she belonged. That’s when I really fell into the story and when I was able to understand Meghan better.
The Iron King has many good qualities. Meghan’s character development is well written, she changes from a girl who wants little to do with her faery father to a faery princess taking charge of her powers and responsibilities. At the same time, she keeps her eye on the goal of rescuing her brother. Meghan and Ash’s relationship felt very real and was given time to develop and grow along with the story. And, it was nice to read a book that didn’t have a romantic love triangle. While both Robbie and Ash had feelings for Meghan, she only had romantic feelings for Ash and it was clear from the start that this would be the romantic relationship. Not to write off Meghan and Robbie’s friendship, because that was a very important part of the story. The descriptions of the different parts of the Nevernever are wonderful; you really get a sense of how and why each area is different. My favorite nonhuman character is Grimalkin, part Cheshire Cat and part amusing commentator, who could often see the truth of what everyone was feeling and the reasons behind their actions.
The amount of time Meghan actually spends with Oberon and the Seelie Court is very short. There isn’t much time for her to get to know her father well, to develop any short of relationship with him or learn about court politics. It is clear that this lack of knowledge actually helps Meghan because she is not worried about how her actions will be viewed by either court. Throughout her search for her brother, Puck, Grimalkin and Ash do fill in some of the information, but it comes in small bits and pieces. As a reader, I would have liked to know more about the both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. With a sequel set to be released in August, hopefully there will be more explanation about them and their politics.
The Iron King is a good read. I recommend to readers who enjoy faery stories, as well as those who like reading books related to Shakespearean plays.