Author: Julie Kagawa, 2010.
Genre: YA Fantasy. Faery. Coming of Age.
Other Details: Paperback. 365 pages.
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined - back cover teaser The Iron King.
Meghan Chase has never really felt as though she's fit in, either at school or home. Her life has been over-shadowed by the mysterious disappearance of her father in front of her eyes when she was a child. Now as she approaches her sixteenth birthday, strange and inexplicable things are happening. It is not long before Meghan discovers that she is the daughter of a mythical fairy king and about to become a pawn in a deadly war.
I am a great lover of all things Faery, especially when well done, which on the basis of this first book this series certainly appears to be. Drawing on traditional Faerie lore of the Courts with a generous borrow from William Shakespeare, I found this a delightful novel with engaging central characters and beautifully imagined fantasy realms.
The discovery of a secret destiny when one comes of age is an ongoing theme in YA fantasy that can be traced from ancient myth and which speaks to a very deep level of the human psyche. Julie Kagawa handles this with grace, combining a gentle love story with action and adventure. As with the Percy Jackson novels by Rick Riordan, she works confidently with myth and legend allowing for modern interpretation without jettisoning tradition.
Also, in her depiction of the Iron Fey of the series title, I found some resonance to themes explored by Neil Gaiman in 'American Gods' in speculating on the changes that might be wrought by humankind's increasing emphasis upon technology and science and the resulting effects upon the traditional otherworldly realms populated by the Fae and other beings.
I will note that this series has some of the most beautiful artwork for its covers that I have seen for some time, including elegant raised front cover textures. I freely admit to having been seduced by this and had bought the first three on a whim without knowing anything about the writer or the series' reputation. Having loved this first one, I now look forward to settling down to read more of Meghan's story and am planning a Yuletide marathon.
The Iron King on Iron Fey site - includes first chapter and links to other pretties.