Meghan Chase is just about to turn sixteen and can't wait for her life to begin to change. She was thinking along the lines of a drivers license and little more attention from her stepdad, but what she got was a whole lot more--and we're not talking gifts.
Meghan always thought she was a bit different and sometimes imagined she saw things out of the corner of her eye. But when a changeling is substituted for her half-brother, she is forced to admit that the human world is only one version of reality. Meghan makes the choice to venture into Nevernever to try to bring her brother safely home.
Julie Kagawa's The Iron King is the first in a series centered around Meghan Chase, the half-breed daughter of the king of the Summer Fey and a human mother. I am no expert in the subgenres of fantasy/paranormal, but I would classify this novel as an urban fantasy. Meghan is clearly and absolutely of the modern world and the faery world co-exists with the twenty-first century.
In 2009, I had my first tastes of urban fantasies and was totally enthralled. When world building and character development are skillfully crafted, I cannot resist. Kagawa's Iron Fey series has both and more. The creatures, kingdoms, and rules that govern Faeryland are consistent and contextually believable. The interlinking of the ancient hidden world with modern America will make you look twice as you walk down the street or peek under your bed. And the depth of the principal characters in Meghan's life bring color, mystery, and humor to the tale. The charm and antics of Robbie, better known as Puck; the passion and power of Ash, a prince of the Winter Fey; and the sarcasm and loyalty of Grimalkin, the fey cat, keep the Summer princess on her toes as the three males try their best to keep her out of danger.
Despite these strengths, if the plot and the pace of the action were not nicely drawn, the reader would simply be entertained. Instead, Kagawa has created a story that will have you thinking about what technology has done to modern imagination, the meaning of loyalty and tradition, the strength of forbidden love, and the hidden power within us all when we are forced to defend the people we love the most.
I'll be talking about this series some more in the days to come--I am lost in Nevernever with Meghan, Ash, Puck, and Grim.
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