Friday, April 20, 2012
The Iron Fey - Meghan's Trilogy
I've decided to review all three books together because, as a writer, I've noticed quite a few incidents of things that happen in Iron King that correlate with Iron Daughter and Iron Queen. **THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED** This review/discussion will be the most in depth I've done in quite a while, hence the reason for the spoiler warning. If you have not read these books yet, I strongly suggest you bookmark this post until you have unless (unless you don't mind spoilers, of course). Now, having said that, let me being.
Julie Kagawa brings us to the Nevernever, the land of faeries. When Meghan first goes through the door in her brother's closet, she steps into the Wyldwood, a forest in perpetual twilight that is the neutral ground for both the Summer and Winter courts. All kinds of creatures live here, making it a dangerous place to traverse if you don't know where you're going. Thankfully, Meghan first has Puck and then Grimalkin to help her to the Summer Court.
The Courts are amazing. The home of the Summer (Seelie) Court, Arcadia, is set in everlasting summer, warm and sunny with trees and flowers flourishing at every turn. Oberon and Titania hold Court in a beautiful courtyard surrounded by large oak trees. At the opposite end, Queen Mab, Queen of the Unseelie (Winter) Court, lives in a palace of ice. Her kingdom, Tir na nOg, is a beautiful winter wonderland - that is as dangerous as it is beautiful.
Meghan Chase - Meghan is the main character of the trilogy and the person whose pov the books are from. Meghan starts out as a quiet, ignored nobody in high school, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday. Her only friend is her best friend, Robbie Goodfell, whose been in her life for as long as she can remember. Things go wrong for Meghan from the start, from seeing a metallic bug come out of a computer that humiliated her to further being humiliated on her sixteenth birthday by the boy she's secretly loved for years. Her birthday gets worse when she comes home to find her little brother has been replaced by a faery changeling. And that's when her adventure into Faery and the truth of her heritage begins. Meghan's journey through the Nevernever is as dangerous and inspiring as her character arc throughout the trilogy. There is danger at almost every turn. Meghan, upon accepting her role as the Summer Princess, finds out she can wield Iron Glamour as well and eventually becomes the Iron Queen, joining her two magics together. On her journey, whether it's to return the Scepter of Seasons, rescue her brother or finally defeat the Iron King once and for all, Meghan's confidence and self assurance grows. Her growth throughout the trilogy is the most inspiring and obvious of them all. I admire everything she went through in all three books to end up where she did.
Puck/Robin Goodfellow/Robbie Goodfell - Meghan's lifelong best friend turns out to be the infamous Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow) from Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer Night's Dream. He's the Summer Court prankster - and has been in love with Meghan for years. He defies his King to do anything for the girl he loves and adds humor to the adventure. He's sarcastic when he's not trying to get Meghan to relax, but has a serious side that comes out as the series progresses. He also has a viscous streak when it comes to fighting, especially when it comes to his arch rival (and former friend) Prince Ash of the Unseelie Court. He's a loyal friend to the end, someone all of us should have in our lives.
Prince Ash - Where do I begin with the cold, quiet Prince of Winter? He starts out curious and disdainful towards Meghan, the newly returned half-faery Summer Princess. He ends up in a contract with her to help her go into the Iron Kingdom to save her brother in return for her willingly going back to the Winter Kingdom with him. And in the Iron Kingdom, he falls in love. Ash has been hurt before, losing the first love of his life when he thought love wasn't possible (and the reason he and Puck are immortal enemies). In the Winter Court, emotions are used against a person, so Ash has a cool, carefully blank expression he uses when he shuts down. Meghan coming into his life turns it upside down as he experiences feelings for her (despite his best efforts not to) when he thought he never would again. Their love story is epic, going beyond the barriers of both their worlds, defying the laws of the Faery Courts. Ash gives up everything to be with Meghan - and becomes a better person for it. I enjoyed him most in Iron Queen, when he was more talkative and relaxed after being exiled to be with Meghan. His love knows no bounds, his oath to protect her when he became her knight melted my heart. But his upbringing in the Unseelie Court gives him the edge he needs to be a fierce warrior, deadly with or without his blade. Quite frankly, in my opinion, he's absolutely amazing and I look forward to reading his story, his final journey, in Iron Knight.
(One thing I want to point out about Ash's verbal tags is that 90% of them seem to be "mutter" or "murmur". I found that highly interesting seeing as Ash is very hard to get to talk, so when he does, he does so quietly.The writer in me enjoyed that immensely.)
Grimalkin Grim is a cait sith. A talking cat. I love that Julie Kagawa put a talking cat in this series. Grim is arrogant and likes to disappear without notice only to show up the same way, sometimes with embarrassing results. He's an infuriating know-it-all and only seems to hang out with Meghan because her humanity amuses him, but he's always there when he's needed, usually with an escape route already planned out.
Oberon, Titania, and Mab I can't talk about this series without talking about the three Faery rulers. Titania is a jealous b*tch. (it had to be said.) Oberon is a strong ruler, though he obviously doesn't know what it means to be a parent. And Mab... Mab pits her children against each other to win her favor (as is normal in the Winter Court). All of these rulers have strong opinions and roles within the series.
The Iron Fey I love the idea of the Iron Fey. I love that they originated with mankind's need for technology and the rapidly changing advances in technology. There are clockwork golems, metal bugs, a woman named Virus, a guy named Glitch... you get the idea. The idea of the Iron Fey is a very original one and I'm envious that I never thought of it. ;-) And the fact that Meghan, a computer genius btw, can control Iron glamour as well as Summer is very cool, too.
I enjoyed these books immensely. And even though it wasn't the happily-ever-after ending I was looking forward to, I understand why Iron Queen ended like it did. I laughed, cried and ran the gamut of other emotions throughout these three books. The characters are real, whether they have a big part of small. The descriptions bring the world to life to the point that if you close your eyes, you find yourself in the twilight of the Wyldwood or the arctic cold of the Winter Court. They are very inspiring books and I will definitely be reading them again and again!
Have you read these books? What are your thoughts/opinions on them? Let's talk!
PS - I'm currently in the middle of Iron Knight. I know how it will end since this is the HEA ending Julie Kagawa's editor/publisher wants, but I would appreciate no spoilers. I can host a discussion of that book when I'm finished if there is interest. :)