Monday, 9 January 2012
Review: The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
Extent: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira Books
Pub Date: 21st January 2011
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never 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.
Well, I have to say this is one of my favourite novels to come out of the paranormania, and trust me there are not many paranormal books on my list of all time favourites.
Swooning females are not my idea of good heroines and there seem to be far too many about at the moment - I have to keep reminding myself what century it is. Julie Kagawa, however, has hit the proverbial nail on the head with Meghan Chase, however. Yes, she does have her swoony, pathetic moments but so does anyone who doesn't know how to fight powerful fairies. At the same time, however, the author gives Meghan plenty of alone time to show off her independence and resourefulness. It's nice to have a bit of strong, handsome, unfathomably-attracted-to-the-plain-heroine male saving the day action, but Julie Kagawa pushes her heroine, landing her into situations where she has to use her own wit and defend herself. That's why, for me, The Iron King rocks. All hail the female lead that is not just a cowering, incapable wreck!
OK, feminist rant over... I love the mythology of this book - it's so closely woven into the real world and the stories that we all know that the Fey world seems so real. It parallels Narnia but where C. S. Lewis created a whole new mythology, Julie Kagawa taps into the rich mythological history of our own world, making it less epic fantasy and more urban fantasy, a fantasy that is highly accessible and believable. More than that, you really get a sense of how greatly the author respects and treasures the magic you find in old stories, myth and folklore. The Iron King is a warning against sacrificing imagination, creativity and such grown up nonsense as "there's no such thing as fairies" for the sake of progress and technology. What happens when there is such a dramatic shift in our culture? What happens when we confuse myth, legend and imagination with uselessness? If it's not forward motion or efficiency improvement, it's worthless right? So wrong! The magic of stories consumes my free time, it's where I escape to in order to take a break from having constantly to progress the world. Don't get me wrong, I love my gadgets, I'd die without the internet and my phone is permanently attached to me - but so too is a book. I walk in two worlds, the technological one and the magical one. I agree entirely with Julie Kagawa's sentiments but she can rest assured that as long as people keep writing books like The Iron King, the magic will never die.