Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (January 25, 2011)
Summary: 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 stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back.
Our review: First off, the minor concerns I brought up about main heroine Meghan in the second book of the Iron Fey series, The Iron Daughter, were completely blown out of the water in this third installment. Author Julie Kagawa has converted me into a fairy fangirl. Secondly, the characters in this book have grown and become such awesome people I am in awe of them. The Iron Queen has easily become my favorite book of the year.
In The Iron Queen, fey princess Meghan has grown up and part of the process involves her learning to defend herself. What I really noticed this time was the growth and depth of not only Meghan but that of her two closest friends, Ash and Puck. We learn a lot more about them, their past, who they were, which helped the story immensely. There were quite a few tender and--I will admit, teary-eyed--moments between Meg and Ash, the exiled Winter Prince, and one such endearing scene was when she asked him to become her teacher. Meghan also has a tender moment with Puck and we are privy to the real person behind the trickster.
There is so much going on The Iron Queen, so many layers, complexities, characters changing, new ones stepping up, and the creatures Kagawa creates are so imaginative. The fake Iron King's moving fortress reminded me a bit of Howl's Moving Castle (and I consider Diana Wynne Jones a legendary children's fantasy book author) but the comparison ends there. The Iron Fey series has been nothing but stellar, each book a step up from its predecessor. There was a reason the fortress moved but I won't spoil the story. I adored the cait sith Grimalkin (who doesn't?) and the Iron fey themselves are such unique, creepy, fascinating creatures I await each title to see what Kagawa has in store for us next (Glitch was my favorite knight, the gremlin Razor my favorite machine, and I was actually glad to see Machina again).
The romance, the interactions amongst the three friends (Meghan, Ash and Puck), the action scenes (gliders, anyone? how cool are they!), after finishing this thrilling trip I want my own mechanical Razor toy, a stuffed Grimalkin doll and an Ironhorse statue would look great on my book shelf (see, total fangirl here). The Iron Queen is not to be missed and I'm looking forward to reading Ash's story in the forthcoming The Iron Knight.
Favorite excerpt: ""Grim? Will I see you again?"
The cait sith turned back, cocking his head. "Now, that is a strange question," he mused. "Will you see me again, though I myself am no oracle and know nothing of the future? This I cannot tell you. I will never understand humans, but I suppose it is part of your charm." He sniffed again, waving his plumed tail lazily. "Do try to stay out of trouble, human. I will be terribly annoyed if you manage to get yourself killed."
"Grim, wait. Are you sure you'll be all right?"
Grimalkin smiled. "I am a cat."
And, just like that, he was gone.
I smiled faintly and wiped a stray tear from my face. Grim had always vanished and reappeared at will, but this time it was different. I suddenly knew I wouldn't see him again, not for a long time anyway.
"Goodbye, Grimalkin," I whispered, and in an even softer voice, lest the cunning feline be nearby listening, added, "thank you."'
Cover comment: Works perfectly with the first two titles.
Book source: Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen.