Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: The Iron Fey #3
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: January 25, 2011
How Received: Netgalley

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 stay by my side. Drag me into the core of a conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

My Thoughts:

I want to start off by talking about the ending. “Because it ends at the beginning”. No, really. It all ends at the beginning. I have never been so impressed in such a long time with an ending than I have with The Iron Queen’s ending. It had all the elements that make a good ending: sacrifice, selflessness, and a sense of peace and acceptance. Everything was over. All the loose ends were being tied. To be honest, I didn’t even need the epilogue to be happy with the ending Julie gives us: I was happy right there at Meghan’s decision. Not because I’m mean or cruel, but because everything made sense – it all came together. But the epilogue just made me so much happier, because it consolidates everything (to a point) that happened in the first two books. It’s a happy ending, but at the same time, it’s not a happy ending. And I loved it.

The pacing was a bit slow for my tastes, as it was with the first two books as well. It would pick up, and I’d get excited that action is about to happen, flip a couple of pages, a couple more, and then the action starts. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the detail that went into this book, because there are a lot of things to be explained – but I kept getting distracted by other things and putting this book down a lot.

On to the characters... I just have to say thank goodness Meghan took a 180 from The Iron Daughter. I couldn’t stand her constant and unjust whining in that book. Strong Meghan, the one who takes things up on her own and wants to actively fight back – emotionally and physically – instead of remaining on the sidelines, was back and boy, was she stronger than ever. I loved all of the decisions she made in this book, and was so happy at the selfless sacrifice she makes at the end.

Ash was... Well, I’ve never been an Ash supporter, and this book didn’t really change my stance, either. I appreciated that there were more interactions between Meghan and Ash, because I never understood why Meghan liked him, other than the fact that he’s forbidden, mysterious, etc., since the two never got to know each other. I loved seeing other sides to Ash – the soft Ash, the one that cries when he feels like he’s losing his beloved, the one who will risk his own life to save hers.

And Puck. I love Puck. I am Team Puck 100%, no matter what Meghan decides. Most of my quotes consisted of lines Puck says; he’s too witty and charming for his own good! I was a bit sad that he’s pretty much getting the short end of the stick, but that doesn’t deter him. He still rushes to Meghan’s aid and still tags along with the group. In fact, I loved his decision to join Ash, his one-time-friend-but-ultimately-his-enemy, at the end. I think that, above anything else, speaks volumes of Puck’s character.

I’ve always thought the concept of Iron fey was ingenious, and this novel was no exception to that thought. Reading about the Iron realm was so exciting – it lives by its own set of rules, and I was constantly wondering what traps or things were set in store for our party when they headed into it. I personally loved the Gremlins (especially Razor). Can you say cute?! I love how Julie makes people we previously thought were antagonists and suddenly makes them into allies. I cannot wait to read more about the Iron realm!

Cover Musings: I think we can all establish that I absolutely adore most of the covers of the Iron Fey series. I think this one, though, steals the show. Love the red around the borders!

Memorable Quotes:
“Be forewarned, darling, I don’t care if you are Mab’s favorite son. If you threaten any in this house, I will rip your guts out through your nose and string my harps with them.”
“I’d love to see that, personally,” Puck muttered, smirking. (pg. 61)
“Looks like the war isn’t going well for us.”
“That’s what I like about you, prince. You’re always so cheerful.” Puck shook his head, gazing around the camp, and wrinkled his nose. “Although I will say, this place has seen better days. Does anyone feel like they’re about to hurl, or is it just me?” (pg. 138)
“The Desert of Lost Things,” Puck said dramatically. “Well, that’s appropriate. We’re here, aren’t we?”
“We are not lost,” I told him firmly, tossing the cell phone away. It hit the sand and was swallowed immediately. “I know exactly where I’m going.”
“Oh, good. And here I thought we were taking the scenic route.” (pg. 214)
Puck was already crouched behind a jagged outcropping, huddled against it as streams of sand flowed around him, bouncing odds and ends off the stones.
“Well, this is fun,” Puck said as we ducked behind the rock, huddled together as wind and sand shrieked around us. “It’s not every day I get to tell someone I was attacked by a pair of flying reading glasses. Ow.” He rubbed his forehead, where a bruise had started to form. (pg. 215)
“For the record,” Grimalkin stated as we ventured, single file, into the black, “I do not think this is a good idea. But, as no one listens to the cat anymore, I will have to wait until we are completely lost to say ‘I told you so.’” (pg. 218)
Ash gently took the branch from me, narrowing his eyes. “Do you know what this is?” he murmured.
Puck smirked. “Uh, yes, actually. In most circles, it’s called a stick. Used for starting fires, poking large insects, and playing fetch with your dog.” (pg. 243)
“Oh, look, demon fey, lake of liquid hot magma—does this remind you of anything?” He grimaced, giving me a weak grin. “When I said I’d follow you to hell and back, I wasn’t trying to be literal, princess.” (pg. 289-290)
“Last night, I was wondering how the courts were going to tell us apart from the false king’s army. Bad Iron fey, good Iron fey—they all look the same to me. Sooooo...” he swept the pole up with a flourish, and a bright green banner snapped open at the top, the silhouette of a great oak splayed proudly across the front. “I wanted to make it a picture of a flower or butterfly,” Puck said, smiling at my awed look, “but I didn’t think that would strike fear into the heart of the false king.” (pg. 301)

Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: As I got to the middle of this novel, I was almost sure of how I was going to rate this. My mind was set. Then I got to the ending. My god, did the ending change my mind! I can’t even begin to explain why I loved the ending so much. Not only was it selfless and saved a whole lot of faeries, but it tied up loose ends and was somewhat a happy ending. Meghan didn’t make me want to slap her this time; Ash showed his softer, more likeable side; Puck was just awesome and witty overall. The pacing wasn’t that great in the novel, but when the pace does pick up, it more than makes up for it.

My rating for the series overall (without the books from Ash’s perspective or the novella):
1. The Iron King (first book)
2. The Iron Queen (third book)
3. The Iron Daughter (second book)

Rating: 5/5


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I'm SO glad to see you enjoyed this one, Kristina! I just bought the first book, and I'm really looking forward to understanding all the hype! I hear it's the best take on fey in a while :) Excellent review!

brandileigh2003 said...

It is funny how different guys work for us different gals. I don't see the appeal of Puck except as a friend :)
I won't hold it against you though ;)

Thanks for review, I was really happy with ending too.

Kat said...

Awesome review! I loved reading all your quotes and excerpts, and I especially love that you're Team Puck! (Not so many of us, but so many Ash-fanatics-- I don't understand! :?) The ending *was* pretty much perfect, but I'm still looking forward to Iron Knight( as long as Puck will be tagging along with Ash!) Anyway, wishing you happy holidays. :)

Danna (Bananas For Books) said...

Now I REALLY want to know the ending of The Iron Queen. GR. Great review Kristina! I freaking love this series and since I can't tolerate ebooks, I have to wait til February. FEBRUARY! I wish someone would tell me the ending *hint hint my email is adannabanana at hotmail dot com* I NEED to know and I don't care if it spoils the book for me. I think I'd be happy even if they all died...not really. That'd be terrible! Anyway, I'm glad you liked the series too. Go team Puck!

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

Melissa: I really, really enjoyed it! I kinda sorta didn't like The Iron Daughter that much. So my expectations were a bit low for The Iron Queen. But my god, it blew me away. I LOVED the ending. LOVED it. I LOVED it so much I can't stop capsing "LOVE". :P It really IS the best take I've personally read on fey. So very interesting, and Julie makes it so unique to her! I'm gushing; I should stop. xD Let me know what you think when you start reading it! :D

Brandi: WHAT? Get outta here, Ash supporter! Just kidding. ;) I love Puck - he's so witty, hilarious, and he's so protective of Meghan. I mean, hell, he almost DIED for her. Ash doesn't really appeal to me, other than the forbidden thing, but now he's not forbidden so there's nothing about him appealing to me. x3;

Kat: Thank you! :D I had more quotes, and it's ALWAYS so hard to narrow my memorable quotes down for my reviews. I kept telling myself, "Okay, if I can get it down to 15... Okay, now to 10." :P Puck has way too many awesome lines to NOT be quoted so often. I think I had like... one quote from Ash? :P I know - I feel like the minority when I saw my Team Puck banner around. Team Ash is crazy ginormous! :P I'm also looking forward to The Iron Knight, BECAUSE Puck's tagging along, haha. Plus, I have a prediction about The Iron Knight in regards to Puck supporters. ;o

Danna: LOL!! I can't tolerate e-books either, but I REALLY wanted to read this one. The ending was omg. Epitome of amazing. I can't gush about the ending ENOUGH. I'm waiting for someone to slap me silly and stop ranting about how amazing the end was. xD TEAM PUCK WHOO! :P

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