I was looking for something quite quick and easy to read on train journeys when I went away for a few days, before starting a group read the day I would be getting back. I was able to download a .pdf file of this book months ago and it's been sitting on my kindle waiting to be read since and so I decided now was a good time. I wasn't quite sure what to expect of it but I have to say I was wonderfully surprised by the book.The Iron King
tells the story of Meghan Chase, who is just approaching her 16th birthday. She lives on a farm with her mother, step-father Luke and 4 year old half-brother Ethan. Meghan has never felt particularly popular or wanted, and vainly hopes that turning sweet 16 will change that. It does, but not in the way she expected. On her 16th birthday, Ethan starts acting wierdly, and Meghan discovers that he has been replaced by a magical creature called a Changeling, and Ethan has been kidnapped and taken to the Faeryland, known as the Nevernever. Meghan then must embark on a journey to find and rescue Ethan, aided by long time friend Robbie who already knew that Faeries existed, and she learns a lot more about herself than she ever suspected...
I have to say, I haven't really read many books about Faeries, so a lot of the story and the world felt quite fresh to me, while at the same time obvious thanks to what I have read and know about traditional fey lore. The whole world felt so real and was just so well thought out. I liked they used the common idea of gaining strength from the publics belief in the characters and how that strengthens or weakens the fey. And I liked how this played into the creation of the Iron fey, and how they were born from the dreams of future technology and stuff, as it wasn't an idea I'd ever really thought about before.
What I really loved about the book were the characters. I thought Meghan was a good main character. She acted like a fairly typical 16 year old girl, but I liked how she grew stronger and smarter and how she adapted to the Fey world over the course of the book, and as it is narrated from her POV you do really learn about her and her personality. Robin was a great 'sidekick' type character. He's just a perfect, funny, witty sidekick type character who always looking for a bit more fun. He was just great, and while it was very obvious early on that he was some kind of Faery creature/person, I did not expect him to be revealed as Robin Goodfellow, aka. Puck! I liked this kind of portrayal of Puck, but I remember Puck being kinda different to how he is here... Grimalkin was also great, your typical quiet but intelligent guide and teacher character, and essentially the Cheshire Cat.
Ash was a good love interest character, and you could see why Meghan liked him, which was refreshing when a lot of YA Literature these days can be quite lazy as to the relationship building between the love interests, since the audience knows they'll just end up together. But you could feel the attraction between them. I didn't really like the love triangle part between Meghan, Ash and Puck, as I thought the Puck x Meghan thing was a bit weird and I just thought they would be better as friends or have a more brother-sister relationship. It was obvious that Puck kinda had feelings for Meghan but it did just annoy me and it felt a bit tacked on to create tension and drama and slow down the developing relationship between Meghan and Ash.
Overall, I thought this was a really good and interesting book, and it felt quite fresh whilst using and building upon basic faery lore and stuff. It was a lot better than I was expecting and I look forward to reading the next books in the series.