Julie Kagawa‘s Series The Iron Fey is a very fun read. I think she did an excellent job of capturing what I feel like is “classical fey” – these are not Tinkerbell-friendly-fairies. These are the fairies that turn unsuspecting humans into donkeys, let them sleep for a hundred years, kidnap them and turn them into rosebushes… tricksters and sometimes “evil” or “cruel” to human standards.
Overall: a solid 4/5 rating. If you want a weekend read that will entertain, pick up the first book. Enjoy the escape from humanity and appreciate human-people all over again.
The story itself didn’t surprise me, but it entertained me. It made me realize that I vacillate between two kinds of books I like: books that make me think and books that simply entertain me. The Iron Fey would be an awesome book for anyone who is 12-15, someone moving past Harry Potter but not yet ready for Anne Bishop or GRR Martin.
The plot is set pretty simply: a girl realizes her life is not as simple as she thought when her toddler brother is kidnapped by Fey. To add a twist, these are not the classical Seelie and Unseelie fey rules by Oberon and Mab respectively – there is a new kind of fey born from the human dreams of technology. She must learn the world of fey long enough to protect her brother, and the friends she makes among the fey.
There is something very true that we discover our humanity by examining the “other” in our fantasy. The Unseelie fey are cruel and spiteful – highlighting the compassion which is true of human nature. The Seelie fey are tricksters with a nasty twist – reminding us how important empathy is. Their strength and magic around the word “promise” twists on the human nature to lie and deceive – ourselves as well as others.
Over the course of three books, Kagwa does an interesting job of building the fey-and-human world interactions (and lack thereof) and moving through Meghan’s journey of self discovery. The action keeps moving and although there is a pretty classic love-triangle, Kagawa adds a fun twist that I can’t write about without spoiling.
There is a fourth book I finished before writing this: The Iron Knight, which is after the events of the first three and focused on another character from the Meghan trilogy. It isn’t quite as strong as the Meghan trilogy, but I enjoyed it and the romp through Fey it gave me.