Meghan Chase is heiress to a legacy she never dreamed of only a year ago. A half-mortal and the daughter of Oberon, king of the Summer Court, Meghan finds herself at the middle of an epic faerie battle against the encroaching Iron Fey; technology proves fatal to faerie magic, but as a half-breed, only Meghan can withstand Iron glamour. In this third Iron Fey novel, Meghan is once again called upon to stand up to the Iron Fey.
Unlike the previous two Iron Fey novels, I never really was pulled into the story. The fabulous interplay of the secondary characters Puck, Grimalkin and Ironhorse in the previous Iron Fey novel, The Iron Daughter (Harlequin Teen), is largely absent here. Meghan's indecision about her feelings for Ash and Puck is finally resolved, although she spends much of the novel debating if she should rush the physical aspect of the relationship or not. Many of the battles felt like overstaged cinematography a la "Lord of the Rings;" I could practically see the CGI effects as I read the battle scenes. I just didn't feel the sense of wonder or tension as I did with Meghan's previous adventures.
Several storylines from previous novels are finally given a resolution, including that of Meghan's biological father, who was previously introduced in The Iron Daughter. That's not to say that these conclusions are always satisfying; there's a sense of hopelessness that permeates the novel, and gone are the lighthearted jabs and dark humor.
Fans of the Iron Fey series will want to read this to see the various resolutions, but if you're new to the series, you're better off starting off with The Iron King.
on January 26, 2011
The Iron Queen is one of the best fantasy books I've had the pleasure to read. Julie Kagawa took me on a journey that I can only describe as fantastical. The characters are incredibly realistic; vivid and rich with depth and passion. The world she creates is described so minutely that you can visualize yourself there right down to the acrid smell of iron. The emotions the story evokes run the gamut. This is one powerful story that deserves the highest praise.
Ash and Meghan have been exiled from NeverNever and all portals leading to Faery have been sealed off to them. Meghan and Ash are travelling to Louisiana, back to her family when they are attacked by iron fey intent on delivering her to the false King. It's then that Meghan realizes she can't use her glamour without getting extremely weak and dizzy. Thus their journey begins. Meghan and Ash are soon joined by some old friends and set out on a quest to defeat the false iron king.
There's a great amount of character development in this book, most notably seen in Ash. The ice cold Prince is warming up and some of his gestures throughout the book are downright swoon-worthy and heart breaking. Puck is, as always, unforgettable and loyal to the end; Grimalkin, my favorite kitty is wise and fickle but even he has changed in this story, revealing a little more of himself then he ever has before. Meghan's character has progressed perfectly with each story's challenges and she becomes courageous in the face of danger while remaining altruistic and compassionate. Her love for Ash and Puck is a constant struggle amongst the three of them though she loves them both very much, she loves them differently. She is a heroine that is worthy of respect and someone who can be looked up to for her character and sense of spirit.
I was pleased with the introduction of all the new characters and in order to keep this as spoiler free as possible I'll not mention any names. I'll just say that within the iron fey there are many Machina loyalists that recognize the false king for what he is, false, cruel and power-hungry. They know if the false king were to capture Meghan his strength will only grow thus allowing his tyranny to continue. For the Fey Meghan's capture could put NeverNever at risk of becoming NeverAgain as the iron destroys more and more of Faery.
I will say that the ending left me with soggy tissue and red-rimmed eyes but also with the hope that things will continue on.
on June 28, 2013
The Iron Queen is the third book in the Iron Fey series and follows Meghan Chase as she is forced to return to the faery realms in order to save them from the new false Iron King that has arisen.
This book is an improvement over the other in that the love triangle angst is out of the way. This allows the author to focus much more on the action and the goals of Meghan rather than having her wallow in her feelings over Ash. There is also the chance for a deeper exploration into the lands of the Iron Fey as Meghan is forced to encounter the changes that are being wrought on the Never Never by their presence. Once again, Kagawa's creative world building shines with the introduction of some new interesting characters and the return of old ones. It really is a unique take on the traditional fairy tale stories. Meghan also grows and comes into her own as a hero and leader. We see her become more of an adult rather than a teenager fixated on whether the dreamy dark-elf loves her or not. The ending I also found very satisfying in that it does not simply attempt to wrap things up neatly with a bow as so many novels like this do.
Now for the bad parts, Meghan may have grown as a character, but I sometimes found her sudden jump in skill level implausible, particularly when it comes to fighting. Ash also remains pretty two-dimensional and stereotypical of a teen love interest. He is still broody and insanely overprotective and serious. Thankfully, Puck is there to lighten the mood. The resolution was also a bit confusing, and it didn't really make sense. It just seems a bit thrown together.
Overall, this book has its rough spots but it is still a great improvement over the second book by allowing the characters and world to grow.
on July 14, 2014
I could read this book a thousand times, and I would never grow weary of it. It's one of my all-time favorites, and my overall favorite in this entire series. It's a faery tale filled with adventure, determination, destiny, love, and loss. It's the perfect ending to Meghan's story, even if it isn't yet the end of her dark Knight's; but that is a different story.
In this epic conclusion to Meghan's journey, she and her fey love, Ash, have just been banished from the Nevernever, forced to live out their days in the mortal world. Though they are no longer a part of the fantastical world of the fey, life is never boring for them.
The false king of the Iron Realm is still out to get Meghan and put an end to her life for the gain of her iron powers. An attempted kidnapping delays any plans she may have had for returning to any semblance of a normal life.
Meghan and Ash are forced to seek shelter in the home of Leanansidhe, the Exile Queen. While in the safety of the In Between, Meghan trains in both magic and sword-fighting in order to better defend herself, while trying to regain the connection she'd thought long-lost with her mortal father Paul.
Things do not stay peaceful for long, though. After many 'weeks' of training, the arrival of each a Summer and Winter representative will again change Meghan's life forever; the Iron Fey are more powerful than ever, and the destruction of Faery appears imminent. Meghan is the only one who can take down the false king, and she will stop at nothing to do so, especially when it may mean the return of her beloved Ash to his home in the Nevernever.
Together with her Knight, Ash, her best friend, Puck, and her cait sith, Grimalkin, she will venture into the Iron Realm to once again accomplish the impossible. The fate of Faery rests in her hands, and she is just the half-breed to bring peace to all the lands.
I would strongly recommend this and every other book belonging to this amazing series to any who adore the world of fantasy, enjoy a story about destiny and faith, and overall, for those who believe that there are things worth dying for; things that are worth fighting for with every bone in one's body, and would stop at nothing to protect what's important.
I've adored this series for many years, and will adore it for many more to come. Thanks be to Julie Kagawa for her amazing writing skills, and her courage for releasing her world into our own. Many wonders can be found in her works, and I've had the extreme pleasure of discovering many of them in the words from her little worlds. Thanks again Julie!!
on March 20, 2013
The minute I put this book down, I picked up the next one so I could immediately dive right back into the story.
I have always thought the supporting characters in this series are exceptionally wonderful. They are unique and lovable and strong-willed. The world is an old idea with a new fascinating concept melded in. It is certainly a great series that I have been enjoying. However, I have made no secret of my sometimes dislike of Meghan...especially in The Iron Daughter. I found her whiny, selfish, and annoying in moments. Now, I LOVE the direction Kagawa went in The Iron Queen and the remarkable growth of Meghan Chase. Everything that I have disliked about her before has been completely turned around and she is now a heroine that I can stand behind.
Meghan has some high odds stacked against her. She has some very tough choices to make as well as some great people on the path with her. I have never been emotionally attached to her before so the books were fantastic, but didn't move me. This one had me laughing harder, brought me to tears, and had me gasping in surprise.
Plus, there was a TON of fantastic action. I like it when books keep moving. Kagawa kept up a steady pace of entertaining dialogue, twists and turns, and sword-play (complete with battle clothing in gauntlets and armor).
The only bad that I caught while reading this one was that Meghan got so upset with Puck over something that should make her upset, but not as outrageously as it came across. Something similar had happened previously with a different reaction from her. However, given how quickly she moved away from this and began growing into a stronger more selfless character, I was not very bothered by it.
I must say that I love Ash. The two of them around each other now are wonderful. He was so different, so open, and was a character that it's obvious has a wall up but has let Meghan in and therefore me as the reader. There's some definite romance in this one.
Anything that I didn't like about the previous books was absent from this one. The Iron Queen is a fantastic read with absolutely fabulous characters, a story that was beyond entertaining, and an ending that made me dive into the next one immediately. WHILE I was reading parts of the book, I still didn't know how things were going to turn out just two paragraphs later. It was more intense and had more twists and turns. Definitely recommended.
on January 26, 2013
The last two books were the typical paranormal romance YA fare, with great world building and good writing that could have been a lot more if the story had been better. After a truly torturous read in The Iron Daughter, I went into The Iron Queen with very, very low expectations.
Consider me very happily surprised. This book is good, and not simply because my expectations were low going in. This is what I've wanted from this series from the start, and now that I've got it, I couldn't be happier.
While I still don't entirely buy Ash and Meghan as a couple (and likely never will), they were much more bearable in this book. The useless and irritating angst of the second book is gone, and while I initially feared that Kagawa would make a huge deal out of both of them wanting to have sex but not doing so for no good reason, she manages to deftly avoid making it seem silly and unneeded and instead a very natural part of the story. We aren't beaten over the head with it, and there are enough scenes building up to the logical end of that particular subplot that I was happy with it, even if the timing of said event was hugely cliched and predictable.
When I said The Iron Fey series of being predictable before, I meant it in a bad way. This book is predictable as well, but this time the predictability doesn't ruin the story and Kagawa does actually keep me on edge about something near the end. I wasn't certain of a character's fate for once, and while it did end up the way I expected it to, the fact that she managed to have me worried at all is a huge step up from where we were in the second book, when I knew Ash wouldn't be killed off so I never worried about it.
While the pacing at times does seem a little fast--we cover a lot of days and events in a very short 350 page book--at the very least you aren't bored while reading it. It does know when to slow down, but I do wonder if maybe it could have benefited from being just slightly longer, because the ending does feel a bit rushed.
Some events do need a slight suspension of disbelief to get through, like how, after not even a month of training, Meghan is good enough at fighting to survive multiple battles with only a few scratches. But it was nice to finally see Meghan doing something other than sitting down and whining and needing Ash and Puck to protect her. Maybe that should have started happening in book two to make it more believable (and to have given her more time to learn how to fight properly), but at long as it happened at all I'm a happy camper.
All the characters are finally bearable, and I was glad that they'd all grown up. Looking out over the series as a whole, I can see the development of them all, save for Puck, who seems to be still in the same basic place as he was in the beginning. Meghan herself is the most improved, as I was able to read through this entire book without rolling my eyes at her, which was a relief. It was great to see her finally come into her own.
The last section is by far the greatest, and the point where I crossed from merely enjoying this book to actually truly loving it. The war scenes were great, and I actually teared up at points during the chapters. Instead of irritating me, the final scenes with Ash and Meghan were honestly heartbreaking. If the entire series had been as good as this book and that last section, The Iron Fey would have ended up becoming one of my favourite series.
While it was still predictable and there were some little niggles at times, The Iron Queen is everything I've wanted from this series. I'm excited to start The Iron Knight and see how the particular part of the story ends.
on November 20, 2011
Kagawa does not fail when it comes to the third installment in The Iron Fey series. I'm always a little wary of series simply because it's not uncommon for some aspect of the writing to taper off. Not here. Kagawa holds strong and delivers yet another amazing installment.
Meghan has a problem: the two glamours that exist within her, Summer and Iron, really don't like each other. Sure, she can use them but they make her throw up a little in her mouth. Literally. The iron and the oldblood magic violently react to each other, just as a Fey would who wandered into the Iron Kingdom. Except this is going on with Meghan's insides. So if she wants to use her glamour, major hurdle. Loved it. Why? Because it didn't let Meghan have anything easy. I love it when authors do that.
I also really liked how the love triangle really wasn't drawn out. Meghan loves Ash all the way. Puck was a mistake in the romantic relationship department. She admits this to herself. He's her best friend and that's how she loves him. So the kibosh is really smacked down on that. Doesn't leave Puck too happy but I'm loving it. None of this pseudo OMG-who-will-she-choose-although-it's-already-totally-obvious? Loved it.
I am in love with the world that Kagawa created. Reading it is like listening to a brilliant piece of music. It invoked envy and joy and even euphoria simply because it's so beautiful. I think Kagawa really captured the essence of the Nevernever superbly and when it came to creating the Iron Kingdom, it felt just as real as the Nevernever. Just as Kagawa relied heavily on old stories to build up her Faery, she created just as complex of a history for the Iron Kingdom, making it just as pulsing with life as everything else was. She didn't just rely on a few randomly-placed Iron fey in the hopes that people would believe it. The Iron Kingdom was its own character within the story and I wanted to hug it to my bosom and never let it go.
The ending? Effing phenomenal. Talk about not letting your characters off easily. Kagawa should get a crown for that. Totally didn't expect what came and while the overarching plot resolved itself, it left so much open in the end that I'm really looking forward to THE IRON KNIGHT.
THE IRON QUEEN was heads and tales better than THE IRON DAUGHTER. It felt like the story was more alive, there was more passion, more love for everything going on. If Kagawawere to say this was her favorite book to write, it wouldn't surprise me because it totally shows. There is just so much that is phenomenal about THE IRON QUEEN that I can't possibly express it all without drooling on myself a little. No wonder my twin Laura at A Jane of All Reads was super fangirl over this one. I get it now. I have so much love for this book that I want to go all John Cusack with Peter Gabriel on the boom box. Is that weird?
I originally ordered this book without knowing anything about the series--or that it was the third installment. Admittedly, I wasn't too thrilled with the first book, especially the beginning high school drama, but I think the main strength of this series is that each book is better than the last. The Iron Queen is no exception.
I am normally hesitant to pick up any books with Seelie/Unseelie lore (particularly YA), since many tend to intersect in rather disappointing ways, but Kagawa has really hit her stride in terms of world development. This book connected events from the previous two books in great ways--some predictable, some a complete surprise. I won't go into spoilers here, but I don't think fans of the first two books will be at all disappointed with TIQ's plot.
The characters in these series are both what I have liked and disliked most about these books. I will say one thing: none of the supporting characters is ever boring. They may not be the most dimensional characters ever created, but in a fantasy novel, I'd say they were fairly well done. Like everyone else, I am a fan of Grimalkin, the talking cat (who very closely resembles a certain Wonderland feline, but we'll let that go). The one thing that grates on me a bit is how often he washes. I got the idea that he was acting disinterested; I didn't need an action to portray that at every single line of his dialogue. The most important thing is that I care about many of the characters introduced--not many books can do that.
Like the last two books, we get new characters introduced in the world of Nevernever. My favorite, without question, is the Clockmaker. Although he doesn't play a particularly large role, I thought it was a really nice touch, adding some foreshadowing without giving everything away.
And the ending! I thought it was brilliant. I was surprised (and not) by the last chapters, and I think it has just the right balance of conclusion and set-up for the next (and last?) installment of the series. I recommend this book to YA fantasy readers without hesitation. Although it is not perfect (I'd probably go with 4.5 stars instead of 5), it is a gripping third book in a series that has not failed to disappoint in pure escapism.
on November 5, 2011
(Review originally posted at ReadBreatheRelax.com)
I don't think any one thing was particularly "wrong" with The Iron Queen. Although The Iron Queen isn't the worst book I've read or anything, it didn't leave me breathless or satisfied or even feeling much of anything. It was just sort of blah.
Nothing particularly stood out to me about this novel. The series has lost a little of it's luster for me. At this point in the story, I don't want Meghan to fight another bad guy. I want progression.
To me, the story has become a series of obstacles that Meghan, Puck and Ash must overcome. Their character development seems to have come to a halt and external circumstances have become the main focus of the story.
I have to say the tons of action in the book is pretty entertaining- Meghan and Ash ride these weird but cute hangglider bugs and there are some deadly skirmishes with the iron fey. I just think at this point in the series, something else should be happening to the protagonists.
I had pretty high expectations for The Iron Queen. I mean the The Iron Daughter left me hanging off a pretty steep cliff, and I thought the beginning of this book was going to totally knock me out of the water. Instead it floundered (pun not intended).
With so many other books tugging for my attention, I may take a break before I dig into The Iron Knight (Harlequin Teen). I'm really interested in reading the story from Ash's point of view, but I'm worried about being disappointed again.
I think fans of the Iron Fey series in general will probably be happy with this third novel in the series, but for me The Iron Queen fell flat. The characters didn't develop and the same bad guys keep returning in slightly different forms. I needed something more from The Iron Queen!
on June 24, 2011
First I want to say that I absolutely LOVE this series. I could hardly put this one down and will be impatiently awaiting the next one - Iron Knight.
Once again Julie Kagawa does a fantastic job of world building. She shows us so many facets of her imagination with the Summer, Winter, and Iron Fey worlds. They are each fantastic, wonderful, and terrifying in their own ways.
She brings all the characters that we know and love back to us one more time is this fantastic story of love, discovery, responsibility, and friendship. It is an action packed, drama, romance!
She also introduces some new characters that truly add something to the story. The watchmaker is one who I really enjoyed, he is very different and plays a seemingly small part in the whole but I think that he adds a great deal to the story. I loved the gliders - they are great!
Puck and Ash are my favorites in each of the books and they do not disappoint in this one either - they are the glue that binds. I keep saying that I have had enough of love triangles, but this one is so different and they deal with it in such great ways that you would never want the story to be any other way. I would love to go into these two more, but don't want to add any spoilers!
I was thrilled that Mab shows us her mothering side when she gives aid to their quest to find and kill the false king. I was excited to see the way Julie brings all the parental figures into the story in different ways, all to the benefit of Meaghan and her crew.
So, to close - If you haven't read the The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, Winter's Passage, or The Iron Queen - get to the store! You will want to start this series from the beginning and have plenty of time to keep right on reading! You will fall in love with the story and want to know more and more!