Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vampires at Midnyte: The Iron Queen

Welcome to the first installment of Vampires at MidnyteA collaboration, a discussion, a dialogue, between two bloggers - Angie at Vampires at Tofu and myself, Midnyte Reader.

Today we are discussing:

Title/Author: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa.

Genre: YA/Fantasy.

Favorite quote:
MR: “I am a cat.” –Grimalkin (same favorite quote as in The Iron Daughter). “I don’t see how you mortals do it, these feelings you must endure.” –The Oracle.
V&T: Agreed!! Grim is right behind Meghan as my favorite character. And I imagine my two cats saying this all the time now.

All in all:
MR: Enjoyable.
V&T: I enjoyed this one too, although I have to admit I didn’t love it as much as the first two.

MR: The final book in the Iron King series left off where the second one ended.  It took a direction which I really didn't see coming. For some reason, I thought that it was going to be mostly about Ash and Megan in the human world. However, they quickly return to Faery in order to save it from the infiltration of the Iron Fey.

I thought the end was interesting and also a bit of a surprise.

However, The Iron Queen left me a little frustrated.   I think some of it has to do with some of the characters and some of it was my expectations.  I thought that certain plot points would have more impact and I also felt that the plotline was too similar to other stories I’ve read before.

V&T: There wasn’t as much magic for me in this one. I think it’s due in part to so much of the story taking place in The Iron Kingdom. I used to play World of Warcraft, which is a visually AMAZING game. There’s this one area in the game called Ironforge and I used to hate having to go there for quests because everything was so…well, iron and forges and steam and mechanical monsters and it held no appeal to me. I preferred the lands where the scenery was beautiful and breathtaking…it was much more fun to play there. And it was much more fun to read about the parts of The NeverNever that were beautiful and breathtaking as well.

The ending was a surprise for me too, but I did find it satisfying.

I really expected more of the story to take place in the mortal world as well. Since the world of Faery depends on the dreams and beliefs of mortal man and that’s why the Iron Fey came into existence, I thought something would be done in the mortal realm to rekindle man’s reverence for nature and not just technology.  Or at the very least that something would be said about people caring about the environment more now and how that’s helping the Wyldewood survive. I just didn’t get how this could be a battle fought entirely in the land of Faery.

MR: Yeah, I guess it seemed like the Iron Kingdom almost had more in common with our world, because we are so dependent and immersed in all things iron and technological.  I think you have a great point being that is how the Iron Fey came into existence in the first place.  The book did stress that if Faery fell apart the human world would not be far behind.   So I guess one of the ideas of this trilogy is that technology in the human world will not cease, so the NeverNever in Faery, which is purely magical, has to find a compromise with the Iron Kingdom and vice versa.  

V&T: I’m really hoping to see more of how that plays out in the mortal realm in the next book!

MR: My hope is that she’ll include some of that.

MR: What I like best about this book is the relationship between Ash and Megan.  It grows more and there are some interesting developments.   Megan is more likeable and she takes her responsibility seriously, shows maturity and character. Perhaps it was because she was secure with her relationship with Ash and his feelings for her or maybe it was because she grew up.  I looooved Ash in this book.  He is still moody and stoic yet we see more glimpses of his character.

I liked Puck less in this book. He is very petulant and he sneered over and over and over.   I feel it was a bit overkill.   However, he does of course, redeem himself.  Again, I loved Grimalkin. Maybe more so in this book. I also liked a few other characters that came to Megan’s aid, like Razor. He reminded me of a hyper, tiny robot. I also liked the Clockmaker and his riddles, but really, I didn’t see what the riddles did to move the plot along.

V&T: I know this is gonna put me in the minority, but Ash was my least favorite character. This time around it felt like he was defined solely by his love for Meghan and that made him a little boring for me. I would have liked to see him care about something else in life and be a little more of his own person. Meghan was my favorite character. I really liked her strength, growth, determination and how her values have stayed consistent throughout the trilogy.

Ok, I’m not gonna say anything more about Ash, I don’t want anyone lobbing any virtual tomatoes my way! I completely agree with Midnyte about Puck. I was always a team Puck girl myself but I didn’t really care for him much for the majority of this book. “Petulant” is the PERFECT way to describe him!

MR: Hmm.  That is an interesting point about Ash and I can definitely see how you would get that.   But on the other hand, she was his world at that point.  He had made his choice of true love over duty.  His family didn’t give him what Megan did.  I also felt I saw some redemption in him.  He loved someone once before and he made the decision that he was going to do everything he could to keep the love he found again.  He revealed other past actions to Megan so she could understand the kind of person he is or rather the person he was.  Yes, he stepped up to defend Faery because he was following Megan’s lead, but I do feel he contributed his own passion to the battle because he wanted to save Faery as much as she did.

V&T: And here is where we agree to disagree!  Ok, so I DO agree that Meghan was his world at that point but I just don’t like it when characters do that. And I think it would have to drive Meghan crazy at some point. Give her 20 years. She’ll be begging him to go get a beer with Puck…

Speaking of which, I have to add that I’m really hoping there will be a lot of Ash/Puck interaction in The Iron Knight. I love their moments together and their friendship/rivalry.

MR: Ha. That made me laugh.  Yes, I do agree that a man who is so devoted to you can get…tedious?  Annoying?  But it just didn’t bother me that much.  Perhaps because I felt his personality shone through.  And yes, I think Ash and Puck are a great foil for each other!  Their relationship is almost a microcosm of the Fey world and the precarious balance that exists there.  Summer vs. Winter.  Can’t live with each other, can’t live without each other!

MR: I also like the contemplative tone of this book. Megan wonders what the future holds for her, what will become of Ash if he stays in the mortal realm, if their relationship can really survive. She thinks about people and their stories and even asks herself at one point, “I wonder what my ending will be?”

This is just one of my quirky pet peeves, but I do wish the book didn’t reference popular culture movies for descriptions. Instead of telling me that things were like Lord of the Rings, The Terminator and Star Trek, just describe it…or leave it out.

I did love the descriptions. I also like how the author used more Celtic lore in this book, with references to Summer Magic and Fomorians.

V&T: I loved the descriptions as well, that’s really one of my favorite aspects of Kagawa’s writing. There were many scenes that played out like a movie in my head and were downright epic.

MR: Even if you didn’t read the first two, I think someone would still enjoy The Iron Queen. The ending was bittersweet but hopeful.  

V&T: All in all, a solid third installment in the Iron Fey series. I’m looking forward to The Iron Knight and to finding out how everything wraps up!

MR: Me too!

MR: 3 3/4 out of 5 stars.
V&T: 4 out of 5 stars.

One thing I love more than discussing books is discussing books with other book lovers.  Hearing other points of view, insights and opinions is exciting and fascinating to me.  One of my favorite blogs is Vampires and Tofu because of Angie's perceptive posts.  I hope to have more discussions with her in the future.



Amber I @ Awesomesauce said...

I love this review with the 2 view points. It makes it so much more FUN. Really when I see long reviews I just skim them through but I read every last word here. And at first I was like OH No not a lot of magic (because I love the magic feel to these books)but then after reading the back and forths I am now excited again.

This is an awesome way to review a book!!

A Hippie's Bookshelf said...

This is so great. I am better than half way through Iron Daughter and have so enjoyed this series. It's a blast getting over here and reading this. I love how you both chimed in and really discussed the book. Great, great review!

Unknown said...

Great discussion post! I really like this series, though book 2 was my fave =D

Jenny said...

What a fun way to review a book! Loved reading both of your opinions and seeing what you both liked and didn't like on this one:) I'm definitely looking forward to more Puck/Ash interaction in The Iron Knight, and I hope maybe we get more of the history between the two:) Brilliant job ladies!

Karen said...

Loved reading this - even though I've never read the series.
MR - I'm checking with the others about if this counts as a URC review - I'll get back to you!

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

I have read TIQ yet, so I just quickly scanned the post, hoping to avoid anything too spoilery, but I LOVE the idea for this feature. I love discussing books, so you ladies are defintiely on the right track with this idea.


Mina Burrows said...

Okay, so I had to stop reading this post because I've just started this series. But I love this discussion. Woot!

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