I love YA novels and I love fairies. I really do. And I’m not talking about Tinkerbell fairies. I mean the wicked kind – the ones who exist to menace humans. So when a friend recommended the Iron Fae series by Julie Kagawa to me, I eagerly read it, assuming it would be perfect for me. As much as I wanted it to be, though, it just wasn’t. My thoughts…
I’ve read three of the books in this series: The Iron Daughter, The Iron King, and The Iron Queen. And it’s been an odd experience for me because as much as I think the books are well written and the world is well-drawn and interesting, the story never appealed to me in the same way that something like Hunger Games or Graceling or Incarceron did. I loved the Winter and Summer parts of the world that Kagawa created – Puck and Ash, Oberon and Mab, Grimalkin…especially Grimalkin. When the characters were in those parts of the world, the story came alive. But Kagawa created a new twist to the faery lore: the Iron Kingdom, the intrusion of technology into nature. And that’s where she lost me. I like a good reboot as much as the next person. Little Red Riding Hood as a werewolf hunter? Bring it. But this one just couldn’t capture my interest. I kept longing for the characters to return to the other parts of the realm, and I think that there was plenty for them to do there: the branching into the Between, the ways that the faery world crosses into our modern world through backrooms and alleys, the friendship of Puck and Ash, the Winter prince. But the Iron Kingdom is the story that Kagawa wanted to tell, and I have to respect that.
In talking with some friends who have also read all three books, I know that they loved the books and the Iron twist to the mythology and the ending, and that’s important. Not every story will reach every reader; it seems as though I’m just outside the mark for this one.
It was an odd experience for me, reading this series. I love the world, love the writing, love the characters, but I’m meh on the story as a whole. I’ll keep reading it, though, and certainly recommending it to people who may enjoy it more than I do. That’s something, right?
Disclosure: I received copies of both The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen courtesy of NetGalley.