by Julie Kagawa
Note: I am reviewing my own Kindle copy that I bought.
The Iron King is an interesting mix of familiar fairy tale and story themes, twisted and redone to create the main plot in a unique way.
The main character Meghan begins to see odd things. She learns that a whole other world exists and that her best friend Robbie is actually Puck from A Midsummer's Night Dream, and his entire world, the Fae World, is ruled by the other character's in Shakespeare's story.
Meghan's brother however, has been kidnapped and she must go into Puck's world and find him (enter the theme/plot from Labyrinth). They cross into Puck's realm and Meghan is now a frail human to be hunted. Danger ensues and Meghan crosses paths with a talking cat who happens to sitting in a tree (enter a theme from Alice in Wonderland). They join up and end up at the Summer Court, where Meghan learns that her father is Oberon, the king, and pretty much everyone else has it out for her, including Tatiana the queen who despises her husband and his half human daughter. When the Winter Court comes calling, all hell breaks loose and Meghan, Puck, the cat and the Winter Court Prince Ash flee to continue their journey to find the brother and save their world. Ash and Puck have personal issues, but Meghan is adamant about rescuing her brother. A third type of Fae people have begun to appear and it worries both Ash and Puck...it is a magic/people made of electronic items, things that kill them with the simplest touch (enter the not so subtle anti-technology theme...that technology is killing imagination). Still, they must find the brother and end up journeying to the Iron King.
A lot happens in between and after my summary, the depth of the plot is so much that to try to include everything would take simply ages. In all this book has a number of things going for it, and a few drawbacks that make me cringe.
Positive: the utter depth of the plot. So much is going on that I was drawn into the book and held there like a captive. The characters are not one dimensional puppets (even though their motivations aren't clear at times, and they seem to come and go, which breaks the flow of the story). The dialog was smart and the description and detail was neither overdone nor underdone.
Negative: the obvious tie ins to other famous themes...it was so obvious that it was distracting and pulled me from the flow of the book (I literally yelled out "Ha! Alice in Wonderland!" when they had to shrink to fit into a tiny person's home in a tree)...Labyrinth, Wizard of Oz, Midsummer's Night Dream, Alice in Wonderland, etc.
The love interest between Ash and Meghan was off. It didn't feel genuine or as deep as the other plot threads woven into the story. I honestly couldn't tell why either would have liked the other, but for an ends to a means...she wants help finding her brother, he wants back at Puck and to keep his promise to his mother the Winter Queen.
However...it still worked for me and provided an unusual twist to what could have been a depthless story that we have all read before.
Rating: 4 stars of 5