Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Iron Knight Tour: Q&A with Julie Kagawa & Book Review

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publish Date: October 25, 2011
Paperback, 361 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
 ISBN: 978-0373210367
The Iron Fey #4

Q&A with Julie Kagawa
What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?

Hmm, is there a difference?  I guess a reader is someone who reads and enjoys the story, but a real Book Lover is someone who falls in love with the characters, can’t wait to get home to start reading, thinks of books as treasured possessions, and would rather be engrossed in a story than anything else.

Considering his often-mentioned icy demeanor, was it hard for you to switch from Meghan’s perspective to Ash’s in writing The Iron Knight?

It was different.  I know Meghan; I know her voice, her personality, her character.  It was harder writing Ash, because if you know the Winter prince at all, you know he isn’t very chatty.  Some days I’d be sitting at my keyboard, yelling “Will you TALK already!” at him.  So I’d say it was different, and a little more difficult, but I finally got him to open up in the end.

You are an admitted gamer. If approached, would you prefer a movie version or a gaming version of your Iron Fey series?

As much as I love gaming, I would have to say movie. (Because if the movie is a success they’ll make a game anyway, right?)

When writing about the Fey, there are a lot of tricks and loopholes involved, especially where Grimalkin is concerned. How do you manage to keep them all straight?

Thankfully, my husband is very good at catching inconsistencies.  He is the first to read the finished book, and will always tell me if something doesn’t work or make sense.  (He’s also threatened to rip the semi-colon key off the keyboard, for all the semi-colons he’s had to take out, lol!)

My Review:
Talk about a hard-to-put-down book, The Iron Knight was one of the hardest.  The only reason I put it down on Friday night was because my sleeping pill kicked in and I almost forgot to start supper trying to finish it up Saturday evening.  Thankfully I have a very understanding family.

First off I will admit that I have shamefully not read any books in this series since The Iron King, which is book #1 and I loved it.  With my review schedule there is very little time for other books even though I have been dying to get back to this series.  That is the reason I quickly accepted the chance to read and review The Iron Knight.  I had big plans to read The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen along with the in between novellas before my tour date came up, but as usual that did not happen so I jumped right into The Iron Knight.  So even though I missed what happened in books 2 & 3, I still had the basics from book 1 and the relationship understanding behind me so I did not feel lost at all in this book.

This book is primarily about Ash and his quest to become mortal so he can be with Queen Meghan again in The Iron Kingdom since he can't be there as a Faery.  I loved the quest and his companions.  Of course Puck is there and Grimalkin, who is always interesting, but this story adds two others who are new to the story and I won't give away here.  It rounds out an interesting bunch and a perfect group to accompany Ash.

As they make their way to The End of the World, things are learned about each character and the world they live in and especially about each character's relationship with Ash.  I found this fascinating.  I also found Ash's constant thinking and wavering fascinating, yet in his heart his love for Meghan never really seems to waver at all.  It's a beautiful love story on his part.

Of course Ms. Kagawa does not only focus on character, the main focus is on action and there is plenty of action and danger as they make their trip and eventually run the gauntlet.  I felt so on the edge of my seat at times and could picture the scenes so well that I could see this easily being made into a movie.  You know how sometimes fantasy books kind of get beyond you in setting and overwhelm you.  The Iron Knight does none of that.  I could see each scene clearly through Ms. Kagawa's descriptions.  It was wonderful and the action was just amazing and really kept my attention.

As the story starts to wind down, you think you know just what is happening (or I thought I did) only to be surprised again and I love that.  The Iron Knight was delightful.  I loved the book from Ash's view.  It's romantic without being cheesy.  It's action-packed and interesting.  It's full of great characters and interesting places, and while I am sure this is a series that has been marketed to teenage girls, I will at least share this last book with my son when he's just a little older because I think he would really enjoy it.

I do recommend reading this series the entire way through just because it is a wonderful series.  But if you want to read it quickly you could do what I did and read books #1, The Iron King and #4 The Iron Knight.  However I will be going back to read The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen as soon as I can to find out what happens in the middle.

If you enjoy fantasy novels, faery novels, novels about friends going on quests, adventures or anything similar, then these are books for you.  They have romance, action, political intrigue (of the fae kind), plenty of adventure and lots of witty banter to keep you reading all night long if you don't take a sleeping pill like me.  Ms. Kagawa has a way with words and world creation and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the Book:
To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

About the Author: 
Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, when she was nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish and the odd eel.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dog trainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.

Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks is at an all- time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyperactive Papillon.

The Iron Fey Website

FTC Information: I received this book from Meryl L. Moss Media Relations for an honest review.   Clicking through and ordering with the B&N or the Book Depository links do provide me with a small commission which helps me continue to hold giveaways on the blog.

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LoriStrongin said...

I have so much love for this series, and for Julie! And omg it would be so so so awesome if they made these books into movies!

I totally agree with you about her world building--every scene was crystal clear and I totally sank into her world. I'm both happy to know how it all ends, and sad because the journey is over.


Canada said...

Who would love a murdering, cruel prince when he's found he doesn't love that part of himself either? These conflicts reveal a part of Ash that we've never seen before. This emotional rollercoaster of doubt and love and determination, this very humane rollercoaster makes him even more loveable. He's trying. He's trying as hard as he can. Is it enough? There are several twists and turns that are unexpected throughout the plot. Puck's antics are normal (and hysterical), and Grim's sarcasm and whit just as comforting as all the other books.

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