Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lazy Book Club Discussion: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

*waving* Hi everyone! I hope you’re ready for a spirited discussion this week regarding our new favorite Faery Story, The Iron King.

If you have not read this book, DO NOT CLICK THE LINK BELOW. There are giant spoilery spoilers of spoilerdom ahead! I'm talking to YOU! DON'T DO IT!


Alright, so everyone who's with us now SHOULD have read the book.

I suspect this will become spirited because Rain and I are on opposing “teams.” Meaning she’s on the wrong one. *crosses arms and glares at Rain*

Wrong Schmong. I am on my own personal Team Puck. Meaning, I don’t want him for Meghan, I want him for ME. And Ashley did mention that she is leaning toward Team Puck, so I’m not alone. *sticks my tongue out at Leigh and Katarina’s Mama*

And I just don’t. get. it. But, since you’ve brought Puck up, can we talk about Ash now? Huh?

Um, Leigh, the book is not all about Ash, you know. There are other characters.

Hrmph. Fine. I suppose we should probably talk about Meghan first, anyway. It is her story, after all. We got a sort of mixed-review of Meghan, to be honest.

Picksee said this about her: “She was complainy, bratty, and while she supposedly liked and loved her brother-she seemed to not really like him at all. Her tone with him always seemed to be annoyed.”

Now, I will admit that there were times when I wanted to beat Meghan upside the head, but I actually found her interactions with her brother to be completely realistic. I have younger sisters and I know that when I was 16 I wanted very little to do with them. I mean, sure, I loved them, but large age differences are hard to overcome before adulthood. It felt like a normal protective family theme to me. Sort of a “no one can talk about about my brother - except me” type of thing.

This Baby of the Family has NO COMMENT. *grumbles about an older sister not letting me wear her Benetton sweater in junior high*

*eyebrow raised* I’m sure that you would have spilled something on the sweater, Rain. *grinning* ANYWAY, I think that any negative reactions that we got to Meghan’s character are understandable given her age and situation. If she lived in the swamps and didn’t want better, we’d think she was some sort of too-good-to-be-true freak of nature. If she complained CONSTANTLY about how much her life blew chunks, then we’d bitch about what a, well, bitch she was. In the end, she was a 16yo girl who grew into (and is still growing *cough*TheIronDaughter*cough*) her unique circumstances.

Meghan is definitely still growing, and that is one of the things I loved about reading the book. From my rec, you all know that I found her completely annoying in the beginning, but I think that may have been intentional (well, maybe not annoying) so that we could see her evolution as a character.

And, I felt like Meghan was an HONEST portrayal of the Swamp Girl. Her hopeless crush on Scott and her desire to believe that he actually could like her helped to solidify that for me. To go from her humble and insecure beginnings to becoming a complete bad-ass and killing Machina, well, that was one of my favorite aspects of the book.

I agree completely with Picksee's thoughts about Meghan saving the day: "Meghan did save the day-without the help of the boys - which I loved. I really thought Ash would somehow end up doing the final saving because sadly, a lot of books go that route. But no! While she had some help from Ash at the end, ultimately it was all Meghan!"

Right, it was perfect. Our reader Kristin said: “I also agree with your earlier review and the fact that Meghan isn't ridiculously slow in figuring things out. Thank you for actually writing a character whose brain function is up to speed!”

I will concede that it is only fair, since we meet him first, to discuss Puck next. I may not be “Team Puck” but I appreciate him as a friend to Meghan. It speaks to his character that he would disobey Oberon FOR Meghan. I just can’t help feeling like I can’t trust him at the end of the day.

And here we go. I seem to remember you saying to me that Puck is, “not quite reliable enough.” And I say WHAT? He shows up ALWAYS when things are most desperate! Just when Meghan is giving up hope, Puck shows up to save the day! And usually when Ash is lying in a heap in a corner, unable to help. Just sayin.

And, I’m not going to lie. Puck from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of my all-time favorite literary characters. So of course I was going to love him. But, maybe that’s why you don’t trust him Leigh? Your reading of Shakespeare is clouding your judgment of Kagawa’s Puck.

Um, Kagawa’s Puck is Shakespeare’s Puck. Essentially. But I’ll let it go because I suspect that Julie K has a soft spot for his character as well. And he’s nice to have around in a scuffle. There. I said something nice, can we move on now?

Well, you didn’t call him PUKE, so I guess we can move on.

Shall we dance along to Ash now? Because the dance scene was one of my favorites. I may not be fully Team Ash, but that had me swooning, no question. And I know I’m not alone there since most of our readers had something to say about him. Although Picksee thought he was jerkish (and I do see that at some points!), most comments were more along the lines of Hoping4More: “I'm such a sucker for the hot boys with swords!” *sigh* Aren’t we all.

I love that “Hot Boys With Swords” has emerged as a legitimate hero (or anti-hero) category. It makes my cold, non-Puck-loving-heart happy. And I may be an Ash Apologist, but I think his jerkish qualities are easily explained and forgiven. Obviously, being soft and touchy-feely doesn’t get you very far in the Fairy Courts. Puck’s love of mischief and general distaste for authority, while I mock it, is just as legitimate of a coping mechanism as Ash’s harsh exterior. I feel like we could go on for days about all of Ash’s positive qualities, which outweigh the negative. His eyes, his swagger, his ability to handle his sword... *drifts off* I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

Honestly? I’m surprised with myself for not being 100% Team Ash. He does have all the qualities I generally look for in a HBWS to fall in love with, but I think it’s the contrast with Puck that leaves me hesitant. I have to give Julie Kagawa credit here - she has written an excellent love triangle. Many times I feel like this device is over-used, and often used poorly, but in The Iron King, I love it! If I myself am having trouble choosing teams, then I can more easily relate to Meghan’s dilemma. (And I know most of you think there is no contest - just you wait!)

Uh, yeah, just you wait until it's PROVEN that there's no contest. *wink*

Julie Kagawa introduced a new twist on the world of Faerie when she introduced the Iron Fae. Ashley makes an interesting point here about it that highlights a small struggle I had: “I wasn't thrilled with the Iron King twist (as I sit here typing on my laptop thinking technology isn't all that evil), but I liked the characters enough to stick with it.”

Technology’s role in playing the villain was a bit offputting to me at first, as well. I had a knee-jerk “oh, okay, so the internet is the big bad” reaction and wanted to fight it. (I mean, come on, I co-write a BLOG. ON THE INTERNET.) But the more I thought about the more I realized that it was a natural extension of fairy stories. None of the Fae are “nice.” There are no Disney-fied Tinker Bell’s flitting around sprinkling fairy dust on Meghan. If the Fairy stories created from the beginning of time led to these harsh, beautiful creatures populating the Never Never, it makes sense to me that similarly grotesque and beautiful things would come from my current obsession with my PS3.

That’s a great point. I was thinking the same about technology being evil, especially as I read The Iron Daughter (sidebra: LOVED IT) on my iPad. This also brings up the point that everyone seemed to like about the book - how the fae are an extension of human imagination and belief. That was one of my favorite aspects of the book and I actually loved how the iron fae worked into that. I completely agree with what Katarina’s Mama had to say about this: “The addition of an Iron Court is just so logical with all the technology around us. And the repercussions of this to the Fae's Delicate Balance of Power left me nodding my head. It was just so logical.” Yep. *nods my head*

And, for readers like Tiffany, who can’t wait for The Iron Daughter, Rain and I can both tell you - it is soooo good! I liked it even better than The Iron King, but you'll have to wait for our review to find out why. *winks*

Oh, and Rain, don't we have a winner to announce??

Yes we do! We received 7 comments on our Spreadsheet, and according to Random.org, the winning number is: 7! Congrats, Ashley! Email us your address and let us know which mug you'd like from our Zazzle store!

So, did you read and not get a chance to tell us what you thought? Did we do anything to change your mind if you were on the fence? Are you Team Ash or Team Puck? Let us know!


  1. Ashapologist??? I'm still laughing. Great post!!! And congrats Ashley!!

  2. What a fun post! When I read this I really do wish I liked the book better! Perhaps I'll give the following book a chance :)

  3. @katarinas mama - I think you might be the ORIGINAL Ashapologist. I'm just following my #HBWS Master. ;)

    @Picksee77 - You really should give the sequel a try. I loved The Iron King, but I SUPER LOVED The Iron Daughter.

  4. @Picksee77 Promise me that you will give TID a try. While I loved TIK, I have to admit that TID blew me out of the water. Like BAM!! Awesome.

  5. @Leigh - Any Obi-wan reference grabs my heart. LOL. I think #HBWS is the new Force. I really do. Note the bias, of course.

  6. With persuasion like that, how can I not try the second book :) I cross my heart and promise to read TID!


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