Posts tagged ‘theironqueen’

January 25th, 2011

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Iron Queen

Author: Julie Kagawa

Published: January 25th, 2011 by Harlequin

Number of Pages: 368

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back. [From Goodreads

Official Review Sent to Harlequin*:

The Iron Queen is a tantalizing sequel to the increasingly intriguing Iron Fey series. From page one, I was re-wrapped in the web of the Nevernever and welcomed the embrace of the characters I had already learned to love, although I found some of them significantly changed. Everything in this book is accelerated. We dive deeper into the romances, friendships, and rivalries of the Fey. The Iron Queen is constantly moving, everyone running somewhere toward something at all times. The third book in the Iron Fey series gave me whiplash.

Review:

The Iron Queen is certainly extraordinary and enjoyable, but there were a few problems I had with it. Most of those problems were caused by one thing – my abounding love for the first book in the series. The Iron King (Review) blew me away with its phenomenal descriptions and fascinating world, but the second book, and now the third, have failed to wow me in equally significant ways.

On the other hand, The Iron Queen can certainly hold its own. The second book left things in ashes, and the phoenix that is reborn from them is glorious and fresh. This installment in the Iron Fey series has taken things in a new direction, while simultaneously tying up some loose ends left by the first two books.

The book picks up right where the second leaves off, but makes a sudden detour and lands us in the middle of a new, fresh pile of mess. In that pile of mess is rooted the fast-paced story of war, love, pride, sacrifice, friendship, and evolvement that is The Iron Queen.

You really don’t stop moving until the very, very end, and even then you’re left with the feeling that the next book will consist of relentless sprinting. I can vow to you that you will open The Iron Queen with absolutely no idea what this book holds in store. I was bounced from one place to another, from one goal to another, from one prediction to another. It wasn’t until the last quarter or so that things seemed to be laid out in a particular order and I had a decent idea of what was going to happen.

Those of you who are reading this review for the sole purpose of hearing about the romance: Suffer no longer.

Although anyone who has read The Iron Daughter (Review) has a fairly clear idea of who Meghan will choose, this book serves as a confirmation. Finally, finally, I felt that things were “set in stone,” as horribly unromantic as that sounds. However, with every decision comes consequence(s), and Meghan’s is no exception. The character dynamics throughout the entire book were hugely affected by her choice, from her relationships with Puck and Ash to Puck and Ash’s friendship/rivalry.

The most intriguing aspect of the book to me was the detail and evolution of the Iron Kingdom and the ways of glamour. This book, more so than either of the others, struck me as Meghan’s story. Not the Fey’s, although their story definitely depends on the outcome of hers. Meghan’s adventures, both internal and external, have set the tone for the remainder of the series and created the foundation for what will undoubtedly be more incredible storylines. You will be wowed by the turns the story takes.

Here’s the deal, though: I found myself, uh… bored with Meghan. There was something about her throughout the entire book that felt forced and unnatural, and consequently, I had trouble relating to her and crawling inside her consciousness, if you will. This was my main fault with the book, and it soured the entire experience a bit. However, I was please by her strength, her resilience, and her nearly incomprehensible bravery.

Overall, The Iron Queen is both a conclusion and a catalyst. While it serves as a beautiful end to what could be called a very short but undoubtedly epic era, the end brought with it an incredibly deep desire for more! I have a feeling that the next book(s) in this series will astound me, and I cannot wait!

*Thanks so much for the ARC!

Also: Don’t forget to help me with my problem!

December 25th, 2010

Five Challenge: 5 Most Anticipated of 2011

by Madeleine Rex

First, a reminder: I’m participating in Persnickety Snark’s Five Challenge. For the remainder of the year, I’ll post 5 books daily that were the greatest in whatever category. Today’s is 5 Most Anticipated 2011 Titles. I wish I had five times as many “slots!” There are so many destined-to-be-amazing books coming out next year! I am not including books I currently have ARCs of, such as The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Where She Went by Gayle Forman, etc (all three of which are great).

Note: Titles are linked to Goodreads. Synopses are from Goodreads as well.

1.Supernaturally by Kiersten White

No synopsis.

Aw, my dearest Paranormalcy has a sister! Or a brother. There’s no judging, as there isn’t a synopsis yet. Kiersten White is on of my favorite people, and her debut one of my favorite books. It makes you feel bubbly on the inside while handling some pretty serious situations. Supernaturally, I hope, will be Paranormalcy on steroids.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White; Review

2. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

No synopsis.

Naturally, I was excited to read the companion series to The Mortal Instruments, but I was even more pleased to find that The Infernal Devices is just as unique and extraordinary. The first book, Clockwork Angel was fantastic, and the series has so much potential. I can’t wait for the second installment!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare; Review

3. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

“City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.”

OH MY GOSH. I have loved this series. I have stuffed myself with it. I cannot wait for this book! My friends and I will definitely be reading it the second it’s released, probably all bundled up in my bedroom. My parents will have to bring McDonald’s up there to keep us from starving. I’ve only reviewed the first book, but I will need to reread the series before this book is released, and I might write reviews for two and three then.

My little brother even loves this series. That’s saying a lot, as he’s not the most enthusiastic reader.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare; Review

4. Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore

“Book 3, tentatively titled Bitterblue and currently in progress, is a companion book to both Graceling and Fire and takes place in the seven kingdoms six years after Graceling. As you may have gathered, the protagonist is Bitterblue. Yes, Katsa, Po, and others from Graceling whom I’m not yet willing to name do appear in the book.” (source: http://kristincashore.blogspot.com/2008/…)”

I’ve loved the other two books in this series (The Seven Kingdoms), Graceling and Fire. Bitterblue is a fascinating little girl, but my excitement really comes from the fact that I’ve loved the characters, world, action, romance, etc in the other two books. Kristen Cashore has a gift. And I’ve heard that the characters I fell in love with in the previous books will return!

Graceling by Kristen Cashore; Review

Fire by Kristen Cashore; Review

5. The Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

No synopsis besides Markus Zusak’s one comment:

For three years now, whenever people have asked the terrifying question – “So what’s your new book about?” – I’ve stuttered my way through a whole range of incoherent responses. I’ve talked about a murderer. I’ve talked about a mule and five brothers, and a girl on a roof.

Of course, everything I just mentioned plays its part in the new book, but not one of them is the heart of it. I guess sometimes it’s easier to tell people what surrounds a story, rather than the story itself.

When all is said and done, I think I finally see that the book I’m writing is actually simple:

It’s about a boy.
His name is Clay.
He’s building a bridge.
And he wants that bridge to be something truly great and miraculous.

Doesn’t it sound fantastic? Delicious? Glorious? I have only read one of Markus Zusak’s books (which is a fact I really can’t explain) – and it proved to be the the best book I’ve ever read, second only to the books in the Anne of Green Gables series. The Book Thief is perfect in every possible way, and The Bridge of Clay has a similar feel about it. How could you resist that simple “It’s about a boy. His name is Clay. He’s building a bridge. And he wants that bridge to be something truly great and miraculous”? It’s much like The Book Thief’s “It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .”

Can we give Printz Awards for summaries? No? To bad.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; Review

It seems that 2011 is going to be the best year ever. I can’t wait. Only six more days, and we’ll embark on another journey, more fantastical and wondrous than the last.

December 21st, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Iron Daughter

Author: Julie Kagawa

Published: August 01, 2010

Number of Pages: 304

Rating: 4/5

Quote:

“He sighed, and his eyes closed. “You were right,” he murmured, his voice nearly lost in the darkness. “I couldn’t do it alone. I should have listened to you back in Tir Na Nog.”
“Yes, you should have,” I whispered. “Remember that, so that next time you can just agree with whatever I say and we’ll be fine.”

Synopsis:

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart. [From Goodreads]

Review:

First of all, let me apologize for the belated review. It’s time for my wonderful memory (which I am massively grateful for) to step up to the plate.

It’s clear that I’m a huge fan of the Iron Fey series. The Iron King blew me away, with Kagawa’s masterfully written descriptions and fantastic world-building, and while The Iron Daughter didn’t astound me at the same level, I can’t honestly say that I didn’t love it.

Meghan Chase returns for another adventure in the Nevernever, trailing after the Winter Prince she thought loved her. “Thought” being the key word. On this trip to faeryland, we don’t begin in a summery meadow, but Tir Na Nog, under the Winter Queen’s reign.

What another extraordinary universe! The atmosphere is exquisite… and horrific. The icy tension between characters and the frozen state of their feelings [pun(s) intended] help paint the world in which dear Prince Ash blossomed. It’s immediately evident why he is the way he is… cold. On the surface, at least.

Though Meghan’s stuck in this Winter-Not-So-Wonderland for the first chapters of the book, there’s no way Kagawa could keep Meghan – or the reader – holed up for long. There’s far too much to see in the Nevernever. And way too much for our hero and heroine to do. Or heros because there’s no way in Tir Na Nog that I would leave out Puck.

He’s just as fantastic as ever! There are moments in this book that my heart ached for him – the sort of moment in which all you want to do is make him cookies and give him a pat on the back, but, as with every good character, there were moments in which I wanted to slap him, laugh at him, give him a hug… He’s an incredibly three dimensional character.

However, the character who really stood out in this book is Ash. I’ve nearly been converted to his team. Honestly, he’s so fascinating and torn. His very aura is complicated (speaking of which, you should read my post on complicated characters here). The growth – even the bits of him that change that aren’t visible but are undoubtedly there – of his character, personality, and opinions is just what the book needed to give it a stable character arc that could keep readers interested all on its own.

I didn’t enjoy Meghan quite as much as I did when I read the first book, but that isn’t to say that she’s drastically changed for the worse – or that she’s bad at all. Just as in real life, there are certain characteristics or ways of speaking or… anything really… that get on your nerves, no matter how much you like the person in general. There’s something akin to this in my feelings for Meghan, but she’s still a great heroine. You want her to come out victorious.

There are other characters, both old and new, that blew me away. Various villains and allies – all major contributors to my love for the story. Every character has a different way of breathing, walking, talking, etc. that makes them strong, individual people.

The intricacies of the actual plot, the adventure, additional world-building, and the like were just as great as ever. There’s a stint in a place called the Between (one that involves another new character I absolutely adore by the name of Leanansidhe) that was amazing! Fun, exciting, and unusual in all the right ways. The new information concerning the Iron Fey and the state of the Iron Kingdom make it clear that the next book (or books) in the series are bound to hold many more adventures… because the iron faeries are not backing down. They crumble, but manage to piece themselves back together. Consequently, any battle the oldbloods (meaning, really, Meghan and her posse) win or lose doesn’t determine the result of the war. Which is perfect, because there’s no way I want this series to end.

The end of the book is heart-wrenching, thrilling, and induces thoughts such as: “Holy cow, I need the next one!” Not to mention the fact that it’ll shatter your heart into millions of tiny pieces. The Iron Daughter ends in a bang, a loud, eardrum-shattering racket that rings in your ears for hours afterward.