The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa I wanted to write a careful, considered review, as this book definitely deserves it, but another part of me just wanted to fangirl all over Julie Kagawa. This is my compromise.You know that wonderful realization that you and the author you're reading probably love a lot of the same things? Where you feel like a book was somehow written with you in mind? The Iron King is chock full of gorgeous description, allusions and tropes referencing Shakespeare, Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland, but always with a twist. Sometimes this familiarity left it easy to guess where the story was going, but that's rarely a downside for me. Add a narrative style that is pitch perfect for the genre, and I've got a new "buy everything" author. Meghan Chase is like a lot of us. She's the one that always feels slightly different, slightly invisible. But she has her mother and her stepfather, even if they sometimes ignore her. She has her little brother Ethan who faithfully comes to her when he needs someone to check for monsters under the bed. She's got one good friend in Robbie Goodfell, though oddly he's never invited her to hang out at his parents' house and he has the annoying habit of calling her "princess". She has a gig tutoring Scott Waldren and she's about to turn sixteen. But as the day approaches, strange things start to happen. She sees flashes of creatures that shouldn't be there. The computer lab comes to full embarrassing life under her fingers, making a full-on enemy of Scott Waldren. Her brother starts to act more like one of those monsters he used to be afraid of than like the sunny child she knows. And a man with a winter-like appearance is watching her, a man Robbie seems to know....All through, Kagawa's prose gives a wonderful, chilling feeling. I read the first thirty pages in bed and then had to really think about turning the light off. Description is lightly painted but fully realized. I was also pleased to see Kagawa allow good characters to do bad things. Now, in hopes of not seeming a complete acolyte, I shall mention the small minuscule things that bothered me. To say that I loathe capslock is a vast understatement and I felt Kagawa's use of it was unnecessary. At one point, the characters tumble into a horse-drawn carriage in New Orleans, and if I'm not mistaken, such carriages are pulled by mules now, (though I'm not 100% on this and, to be honest, the inaccuracy probably trips up a lot less people than the truth would). ...that's all I've got. During the read I wondered about whether Meghan was properly fleshed out, but having finished the book, I think she was. Flipping through the book to write this review is already making me catch details I missed, like Meghan's talent with computers and intention to attend ITT Tech, how it's exactly her trust in the surface that gets her pranked by Scott. Really, the only downside to my enjoyment was that this is Kagawa's first novel, so I don't have a backlist to explore while I wait for the next Iron Fey novel.