Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey #3)
By Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen

To Sum It Up:

Exiled by their respective faery courts, Meghan and Ash find themselves in the mortal world. It’s not long, though, before they’re pulled back into Faery. The new Iron King is hunting Meghan, and the Iron fey are at war with both the Summer and Winter Courts. Their only hope of preventing the destruction of the Nevernever is Meghan. Unwilling to see those she loves get hurt in the forthcoming battle, Meghan is prepared to do anything to protect them, including sacrificing her own life to save theirs.


While The Iron King, the first book in Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series, remains my favorite so far, The Iron Queen is definitely a step up from The Iron Daughter. My main gripe about the latter was Meghan’s Ash-centric view of the world and how she couldn’t function without him. Thankfully, she stands on her own two feet in The Iron Queen, which is also much more action-packed than its predecessor.

Although Meghan doesn’t quite fit my notion of a kick-ass heroine, I have to give her credit for backing up her tough talk with her actions in this book. She learns how to use a weapon and isn’t afraid to fight. What she does fear, though, is losing Ash and Puck, and this puts her into martyr mode, where she takes it upon herself to defeat the Iron King in order to keep anyone from dying for her. I really don’t mean to sound like I’m picking on poor Meghan; it’s just that she seems to get caught in these obsessive thought patterns that I’m not very patient with. In The Iron Daughter, she moped over not being with Ash. Here, she repeats over and over again how she can’t allow Ash and Puck to die because of her. Meghan has always had the potential to be a heroine of considerable strength, glimmers of which shine through here and there, but she’s never quite managed to summon it consistently.

As there was in The Iron Daughter, once again we have a lull in the story involving the self-proclaimed queen of the Faery exiles, Leanansidhe. This time, the gang crashes at her cabin in the woods. The thought of Leanansidhe owning this type of property sort of made me laugh because I never pictured her as the outdoorsy type. Fortunately, once the action picks up, it remains pretty intense for a while. There are some great battle scenes in the book, and they’re brought to life with some of the most vivid imagery in the series. Kagawa’s world-building has been first-rate from the start, and that extends to the epic showdown in The Iron Queen between the now allied Summer and Winter Courts and the Iron fey.

On the whole, I felt that, though not perfect, The Iron Queen was a stronger entry in the series than The Iron Daughter was. The characters still journey about from subtask to subtask with a lengthy stopover, but the fight sequences are worth the wait. Most importantly, Meghan demonstrates the mettle that she was missing in the previous book, which in turn made this a more compelling read than her last adventure.

All in All:

After finding The Iron Daughter on the disappointing side, I was a bit leery of reading this. It did take a while for The Iron Queen to build up momentum, but I quite liked the climactic battle as well as the ending.


  1. I wanted to get into this series at some point but based on the sequels not being that great I am not sure!

    1. I've had my ups and downs with this series- I love the world, but I haven't always connected with the characters.

  2. I got a little more out of this one than you did. I think it may be because I really didn't like her so much in The Iron Daughter, I felt like her growth in this one was fantastic. I felt appreciation for her stepping up and not letting others fight her battles for her and that she was able to let go of her hangup that she carried with her in The Iron Daughter. I do agree with you though about the martyrdom. Also laughed about the bit about Lea not seeming like the outdoorsy type :D Excellent review as always! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven

    1. Meghan's characterization in The Iron Daughter frustrated me so much that it was still on my mind as I read this. In general, I'm really bad about not letting things go, lol. I was glad to see her act more self-reliant in this one, yet I still couldn't warm up to her completely.


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