When Meghan turns sixteen, she doesn't get a party or a cake. She realizes that her little brother, Ethan, has been kidnapped by faeries and that her best friend, Robbie, is actually Puck the Shakespearian prankster. Meghan sets out to rescue Ethan, and along the way she discovers the truth about her family, her past, her destiny... and her heart.
It was... okay. I was actually really looking forward to this book, as I've read some great reviews on it, but... I don't know. It was average at best, and for the reasons described below I just couldn't get into it.
It was a bizarre combination of that movie Labyrinth and Peter Pan, and it read like some weird kind of hippie propaganda. First of all, if you've ever seen Labyrinth (starring David Bowie, it's kind of freaky but also kind of fun) the plot is going to sound a little too familiar. Then there's also the Peter Pan elements (handsome immortal prankster takes kind teen girl to magical world, and by the way faeries die if you don't believe in them). Oh yeah, did I mention that the bad guy is King Machina (yes, like machine)? Because, of course, Science Kills. I think I actually rolled my eyes when I got to that part.
I guess I just had a hard time taking The Iron King seriously. Even if there weren't the bizarre parallels mentioned above, and that really obnoxious Science Is Bad angle, the plot in and of itself just seemed unoriginal and immature. Really, it took itself way too seriously.
Let me begin with some quotes. Page 11, after surveying her lacking wardrobe, the unhappy heroine whines, "You'd think Mom could afford to buy me at least one pair of nice jeans." Page 26, she observes, "Me, I like baggy cargo pants and sneakers." Okay, then. And off she goes again on page 141: "My family was poor and couldn't afford designer clothes and name brands. Rather than bemoan the fact that I never got nice things, I flaunted my grunginess and sneered at the shallow rich girls who spent hours in the bathroom perfecting their makeup." Um, what's wrong with this picture?
Although that was the most blantant example, Meghan contradicted herself in several other ways too. Inconsistensy aside, she's also just not particularly likeable. The other characters weren't much better overall. Puck's "clever" jokes weren't actually clever or witty or funny at all, and I actually actively disliked him. Ash, on the other hand, was just weird. He flat-out informs Meghan that he will not have a problem killing her, and so of course she starts gushing a few chapters later about how sexy he is. Other than the fact that he looks handsome, there's no good reason for her to like him. But of course once she does like him, the ice prince melts and becomes both wimpy and boring. It was a badly-arranged love triangle, and I was not emotionally invested in any of the participants.
There was one decent character, though. Grimalkin the cat. Now, he was clever and interesting. I liked him.
Issues with the plot and characters aside, the writing wasn't actually that bad. The description was mostly well done and pacing was nice. I would've given Writing four stars if it weren't for the narrator's reoccuring inconsistencies.
End Result: two stars. I was not impressed.