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The Iron King [Paperback]

Julie Kagawa
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2010 Iron Fey (Book 1)
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.


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About the Author

Born in Sacramento, CA, Julie Kagawa moved to Hawaii at the age of nine. There she learned many things; how to bodyboard, that teachers scream when you put centipedes in their desks, and that writing stories in math class is a great way to kill time. Her teachers were glad to see her graduate.

Julie now lives is Louisville, KY with her husband and furkids. She is the international and NYT bestselling author of The Iron Fey series. Visit her at juliekagawa.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Ghost in the Computer

Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday my father disappeared.

No, he didn't leave. Leaving would imply suitcases and empty drawers, and late birthday cards with ten-dollar bills stuffed inside. Leaving would imply he was unhappy with Mom and me, or that he found a new love elsewhere. None of that was true. He also did not die, because we would've heard about it. There was no car crash, no body, no police mingling about the scene of a brutal murder. It all happened very quietly.

On my sixth birthday, my father took me to the park, one of my favorite places to go at that time. It was a lonely little park in the middle of nowhere, with a running trail and a misty green pond surrounded by pine trees. We were at the edge of the pond, feeding the ducks, when I heard the jingle of an ice cream truck in the parking lot over the hill. When I begged my dad to get me a Creamsicle, he laughed, handed me a few bills, and sent me after the truck.

That was the last time I saw him.

Later, when the police searched the area, they discovered his shoes at the edge of the water, but nothing else. They sent divers into the pond, but it was barely ten feet down, and they found nothing but branches and mud at the bottom. My father had disappeared without a trace.

For months afterward, I had a recurring nightmare about standing at the top of that hill, looking down and seeing my father walk into the pond. As the water closed over his head, I could hear the ice cream truck singing in the background, a slow, eerie song with words I could almost understand. Every time I tried to listen to them, however, I'd wake up.

Not long after my father's disappearance, Mom moved us far away, to a tiny little hick town in the middle of the Louisiana bayou. Mom said she wanted to "start over," but I always knew, deep down, that she was running from something.

It would be another ten years before I discovered what.

My name is M.eghan Chase.

In less than twenty-four hours, I'll be sixteen years old.

Sweet sixteen. It has a magical ring to it. Sixteen is supposed to be the age when girls become princesses and fall in love and go to dances and proms and such. Countless stories, songs, and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset.

I didn't think it would be that way for me.

The morning before my birthday, I woke up, showered, and rummaged through my dresser for something to wear. Normally, I'd just grab whatever clean-ish thing is on the floor, but today was special. Today was the day Scott Waldron would finally notice me. I wanted to look perfect. Of course, my wardrobe is sadly lacking in the popular-attire department. While other girls spend hours in front of their closets crying,

"What should I wear?" my drawers basically hold three things: clothes from Goodwill, hand-me-downs, and overalls.

I wish we weren't so poor. I know pig farming isn't the most glamorous of jobs, but you'd think Mom could afford to buy me at least one pair of nice jeans. I glared at my scanty wardrobe in disgust. Oh, well, I guess Scott will have to be wowed with my natural grace and charm, if I don't make an idiot of myself in front of him.

I finally slipped into cargo pants, a neutral green T-shirt, and my only pair of ratty sneakers, before dragging a brush through my white-blond hair. My hair is straight and very fine, and was doing that stupid floating thing again, where it looked like I'd jammed my finger up an electrical outlet. Yanking it into a ponytail, I went downstairs.

Luke, my stepfather, sat at the table, drinking coffee and leafing through the town's tiny newspaper, which reads more like our high school gossip column than a real news source. "Five-legged calf born on Patterson's farm," the front page screamed; you get the idea. Ethan, my four-year-old half brother, sat on his father's lap, eating a Pop-Tart and getting crumbs all over Luke's overalls. He clutched Floppy, his favorite stuffed rabbit, in one arm and occasionally tried to feed it his breakfast; the rabbit's face was full of crumbs and fruit filling.

Ethan is a good kid. He has his father's curly brown hair, but like me, inherited Mom's big blue eyes. He's the type of kid old ladies stop to coo at, and total strangers smile and wave at him from across the street. Mom and Luke dote on their baby, but it doesn't seem to spoil him, thank goodness.

"Where's Mom?" I asked as I entered the kitchen. Opening the cabinet doors, I scoured the boxes of cereal for the one I liked, wondering if Mom remembered to pick it up. Of course she hadn't. Nothing but fiber squares and disgusting marshmallow cereals for Ethan. Was it so hard to remember Cheerios?

Luke ignored me and sipped his coffee. Ethan chewed his Pop-Tart and sneezed on his father's arm. I slammed the cabinet doors with a satisfying bang.

"Where's Mom?" I asked, a bit louder this time. Luke jerked his head up and finally looked at me. His lazy brown eyes, like those of a cow, registered mild surprise.

"Oh, hello, Meg," he said calmly. "I didn't hear you come in. What did you say?"

I sighed and repeated my question for the third time.

"She had a meeting with some of the ladies at church," Luke murmured, turning back to his paper. "She won't be back for a few hours, so you'll have to take the bus."

I always took the bus. I just wanted to remind Mom that she was supposed to take me to get a learner's permit this weekend. With Luke, it was hopeless. I could tell him something fourteen different times, and he'd forget it the moment I left the room. It wasn't that Luke was mean or malicious, or even stupid. He adored Ethan, and Mom seemed truly happy with him. But, every time I spoke to my stepdad, he would look at me with genuine surprise, as if he'd forgotten I lived here, too.

I grabbed a bagel from the top of the fridge and chewed it sullenly, keeping an eye on the clock. Beau, our German shepherd, wandered in and put his big head on my knee. I scratched him behind the ears and he groaned. At least the dog appreciated me.

Luke stood, gently placing Ethan back in his seat. "All right, big guy," he said, kissing the top of Ethan's head. "Dad has to fix the bathroom sink, so you sit there and be good. When I'm done, we'll go feed the pigs, okay?"

"'Kay," Ethan chirped, swinging his chubby legs. "Floppy wants to see if Ms. Daisy had her babies yet."

Luke's smile was so disgustingly proud, I felt nauseous.

"Hey, Luke," I said as he turned to go, "bet you can't guess what tomorrow is."

"Mmm?" He didn't even turn around. "I don't know, Meg. If you have plans for tomorrow, talk to your mother." He snapped his fingers, and Beau immediately left me to follow him. Their footsteps faded up the stairs, and I was alone with my half brother.

Ethan kicked his feet, regarding me in that solemn way of his. "I know," he announced softly, putting his Pop-Tart on the table. "Tomorrow's your birthday, isn't it? Floppy told me, and I remembered."

"Yeah," I muttered, turning and lobbing the bagel into the trash can. It hit the wall with a thump and dropped inside, leaving a greasy smear on the paint. I smirked and decided to leave it.

"Floppy says to tell you happy early birthday."

"Tell Floppy thanks." I ruffled Ethan's hair as I left the kitchen, my mood completely soured. I knew it. Mom and Luke would completely forget my birthday tomorrow. I wouldn't get a card, or a cake, or even a "happy birthday" from anyone. Except my kid brother's stupid stuffed rabbit. How pathetic was that?

Back in my room, I grabbed books, homework, gym clothes, and the iPod I'd spent a year saving for, despite Luke's disdain of those "useless, brain-numbing gadgets." In true hick fashion, my stepfather dislikes and distrusts anything that could make life easier. Cell phones? No way, we've got a perfectly good landline. Video games? They're the devil's tools, turning kids into delinquents and serial killers. I've begged Mom over and over to buy me a laptop for school, but Luke insists that if his ancient, clunky PC is good enough for him, it's good enough for the family. Never mind that dial-up takes flipping forever. I mean, who uses dial-up anymore?

I checked my watch and swore. The bus would arrive shortly, and I had a good ten-minute walk to the main road. Looking out the window, I saw the sky was gray and heavy with rain, so I grabbed a jacket, as well. And, not for the first time, I wished we lived closer to town.

I swear, when I get a license and a car, I am never coming back to this place.

"Meggie?" Ethan hovered in the doorway, clutching his rabbit under his chin. His blue eyes regarded me somberly. "Can I go with you today?"

"What?" Shrugging into my jacket, I gazed around for my backpack. "No, Ethan. I'm going to school now. Big-kids school, no rug rats allowed."

I turned away, only to feel two small arms wrap around my leg. Putting my hand against the wall to avoid falling, I glared down at my half brother. Ethan clung to me doggedly, his face tilted up to mine, his jaw set. "Please?" he begged. "I'll be good, I promise. Take me with you? Just for today?"

With a sigh, I bent down and picked him up.

"What's up, squirt?" I asked, brushing his hair out of his eyes. Mom would need to cut it soon; it was starting to look like a bird's nest. "You're awfully clingy this morning. What's going on?"

"Scared," Ethan muttered, burying his face in my neck.

"You're scared?"

He shook his head. "Floppy's scared."

"What's Floppy scared of?"

"The man in the closet."

I felt a small chill slide up my back. Sometimes, Ethan was so quiet and serious, it was hard to remember he was only four. He still had childish fears of monsters under his bed and bogeymen in his closet. In...


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun adventure July 12 2010
By J. Scully TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Ever since her father disappeared when she was a young girl, Meghan Chase has felt like an outcast and a misfit. Then as her 16th birthday approaches, weird things begin to happen. Her four year-old brother Ethan seems to be possessed, and Robbie, Meghan's best friend since childhood seems to know more than he's letting on. Meghan is left reeling when Robbie reveals a strange and deadly new world that exists alongside our own. In order to save her brother, Meghan embarks on a perilous journey filled with creatures and beings she thought only existed in fairy tales.

The Iron King is a high-stakes adventure, filled with a variety of interesting characters. Meghan is a likable protagonist, who grows over the course of the novel, and has the potential to become a truly fascinating and powerful heroine as the series continues. The supporting characters are well-developed and highly entertaining, and even though they were plucked from other stories (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Alice in Wonderland) felt unique. I must admit to liking the supporting characters even more than the main character! The author does a wonderful job of describing the faery world in magnificent detail, but I did find a few situations or plot points were lacking in explanation, and some scenes that should have been emotional did not manage to elicit the expected emotion. Despite these small issues, the story was interesting and fast-paced with plenty of surprises along the way.

The Iron King was a captivating and entertaining story, and I can't wait to read more of Meghan's adventures in the next installment in the Iron Fey Series.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Meh March 23 2014
By T
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked the idea of this book more then actually reading it. I didn't buy the sequel and will not be keeping it in my library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great fantasy! June 9 2013
By YA to Z
Format:Paperback
Well first off, if I haven't mentioned it in any of my other reviews, my absolute favorite movie in this world is Labyrinth, and The Iron King had a lot of similar elements, which is one reason why I loved it so much! The main character also shares my first name (with the same spelling too! which is rare). All the characters were great (especially Puck, he was hilarious! and Grimalkin cuz he's a kitteh :3) All in all it was a great adventure with lots of action and sweet (if sometimes confusing) romance.
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By Jetches TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If this book was being made into a movie the sets would be awesome! When I started reading this things sort of felt familiar. Probably because I just finished reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but there were other things. The sets and some of the characters mad me feel like this book was a mixture of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Hobbit, Peter Pan, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Near the end I realized that it was all simply just the world that Julie Kagawa created. There are creatures that don’t really talk, and sometimes people just don’t make sense, there are journeys through many many lands (all ones that I can only picture to be absolutely beautiful, expect the land of the Iron Fey of course), there are characters like Puck that reminded me of Peter Pan (filled with humour and adventure) and serious characters like Ash that melt my heart, but sometimes leave me questioning how he can be such a jerk. And then there are all the Fey that you come across. I could only imagine what they all looked like. Man this book as a movie…would be like an animation movie come to life—all the colour and costume would be like something out of a Tim Burton movie only less Dark and with more colour and snow all at the same time. If that’s even possible.
I was a little worried about reading this book because I’ve heard so much about it and I didn’t want to expects something absolutely fantastic and be disappointed. Luckily I was able to go into this with a decent mind set and I was not disappointed. Although, there wasn’t as much action as I thought there would be the characters, setting, story line and overall fantasy were enough to balance the scales. Not to mention this book opens up kind of scary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read! July 10 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Iron King and the rest of the Iron Fey series have something for just about everyone: magic, romance, action, violence, humor, friendship, family, mystery, travelling, politics, beauty, horror... I found the plot thrilling and unpredictable. Along the way we meet a large variety of characters who are so likable and very distinct. The writting itself is also incredible, with witty dialogue between the characters and absolutely beautiful descriptions. I just finished reading the series, but will read each book over again simply to savour the beauty of the words and the complexity of the plot once more. Strongly recommend!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding out you're a fairy... July 29 2010
Format:Paperback
A new take on an old tale. Fae stories are cluttering my bookshelves and I love them all, but Julie Kagawa blew me away with this one. I loved the imagination and ingenuity throughout this book. The characters are fun and had me laughing throughout. The love triangle is brewing for the next book and I already have my side. A great book on so many levels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Iron Fey, Book One May 8 2010
By Detra Fitch TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
At the age of six Meghan's father disappeared while they were at the park. He was never found. Her mother moved them to a small, out-of-the-way town and remarried. Now Meghan Chase has a four-year-old half brother, Ethan, whom she adores. Other than with her best friend, Robin Goodfell, Meghan has always felt different than everyone else. On the day before her sixteenth birthday, which no one but Ethan and Robin seem to remember, Meghan begins paying more attention to what is around her. If only her humiliation at school could be simply a hallucination, like the gremlin she saw in class.

When a dark and handsome stranger begins watching her, Robin becomes very protective. Robin Goodfell is really Robin Goodfellow, also known as Puck. Meghan believes it all a prank until Puck takes her into Nevernever, the land of the Fae, and escorts her to King Oberon, her biological father. Puck had been sent to the mortal world and tasked with protecting the king's daughter. Meghan wants only to rescue her brother and go back home. Ethan had been kidnapped by a new breed of faery. To save Ethan, Meghan must convince Puck to help her escape her father, avoid being killed by Queen Titania and her minions, deal with an enemy prince named Ash - who's attitude toward her keeps running hot and cold - and find out where her brother is.

Can Meghan rescue her brother? Can she keep Puck and Ash from literally killing each other? Does she dare give her heart to a prince who might enjoy seeing her dead? And most of all, if Meghan manages to survive through the overwhelming obstacles before her, will her life ever be the same again?

**** FOUR STARS! Action, drama, suspense, and magic all blend together in order to serve a delicious banquet for readers to consume and enjoy.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling Fairy Tale
The world that Kagawa creates is wonderful, somewhere between A Midsummer Night's Dream and Peter Pan - an interesting, yet creepy and dangerous, faery tale world. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2011 by Coreena
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully rich fantasy
Wow, so how come it took me so long to start reading this series?!

The Iron King is an enticing introduction to the world of The Iron Fey. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2011 by Brenna
4.0 out of 5 stars A book rich with fantasy and imagination
The story is about a girl named Meghan Chase, who's little brother gets kidnapped by fairies. With her best friend Puck, they set out to rescue him in the NeverNever the world of... Read more
Published on June 18 2011 by Fantasys Ink
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh
Bought this based on the excellent reviews it was getting in industry mags, and deeply regret it.

I hate to stop a book before I'm finished it, but this one I did. Read more
Published on June 10 2011 by K. Edwards
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful mix of faery and technology
I really enjoyed this book, the plot was unique in as much as Kagawa has found a way to mix today's technology with the world of faeries. Read more
Published on June 7 2011 by YoungCub
3.0 out of 5 stars So-So
When I first started reading the book I thought here
we go something besides the never ending vampire books. Read more
Published on May 14 2011 by sunsetshimmer
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the most unique Fey story ever told...
200 pages into this book I found myself growing more and more frustrated with it because I didn't find it to be a unique Fey story whatsoever. Read more
Published on March 7 2011 by Avery Greaves
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!
This is the first of three published books (the fourth is yet to be released). I happened upon it by accident and boy am I glad I did! Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2011 by K. Wark
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreaming of Books Review
Megan was a strong and brave character. The minute she enters Faeryland with Puck she's faced with danger at every turn. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2011 by Jenny "Dreaming of Books"
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