Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa [Blog Tour] [Giveaway]

The hut was old and wooden, creaking faintly though
there was no wind. The most unusual thing, however, wasn’t
the house itself, but what held it up. It stood on a pair of massive
bird legs, gnarled and yellow, blunt talons digging into
the mud. The legs were crouched low, as if sleeping, but every
so often they shifted restlessly, causing the whole house
to shudder and groan.

The conclusion to the Iron Fey series was not, I repeat, not disappointing.  I'm not gonna lie.  I had The Iron King and The Iron Daughter in my library for oh, since they came out.  So, when I was presented with the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour, I accepted, thinking that it would give me motivation to pick up and read these books that have been physically in my TBR pile, but had been surpassed by more pressing book club books and other books with deadlines.  I've read the entire series in the last two days.  I've been pushed and pulled in so many directions!  Some little book gremlin was trying to make me miss out on this book tour.

But I have triumphed!  I have finished the series!  And I have to say that I am over-freakin'-joyed that Julie Kagawa wrote The Iron Knight.  I hated The Iron Queen.  Loathed the "Ultimate Noble Sacrifice" ending.  Wouldn't have read the fourth book either if it wasn't for this blog tour...  and I'm so glad I did.

I entered the book skeptical that Kagawa could write an entire book successfully from Ash's point of view.  After the first five pages, I sighed out loud, growled, and said, "No.  You can't write Ash the same as Meghan."  It's true.  Five cats as my witness, but then after page ten, I was like "There we go!  Now we're cookin'."  And it just got better from there.  I enjoyed the banter and tension between Puck and Ash, but most of all, of this series packed with epic quests, I loved Ash's final one the best.

Of all of the journeys throughout this series, The Iron Knight details the most emotionally charged, the most riveting, and the most human.  I both squealed with elation and cried tears of sorrow while joining Ash on his mission.  I was more emotionally attached after the first chapter of The Iron Knight than I was after reading the entirety of The Iron Queen.  As the pages and words flew past me, this world was created around me and I was tossed and tumbled through all of it - the relationships, the feelings, the conflicts.  A really, really good read.  In fact, the more I reflect on it, the better it gets.  I love those kind of books.  And I adored the ending.  The only thing that I didn't adore was the amount of impertinent detail throughout the series.  Though it gave me as a reader a great sense of place, I felt like it impeded the flow of the story in many a place.  But that's a personal preference thing.  Monster would probably adore these books; they're right up his alley.

There's one last little issue I must address.  And that's the blurb on the cover that calls this series the next Twilight.  In fact, I think the only thing that these two series have in common is that there are four books in them, and a girl who has a choice between two love interests.  But the length and conflict of the love interests is not nearly the same.  And neither are the sacrifices and motivations.  There are actually reasons for those in this series.  I think it would be better compared to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.  All of the epic adventure and danger at every turn is more similar to his work than anything else I can recall reading.  The Iron Fey is more of an epic urban fantasy, heavy emphasis on the fantasy.  The plot, characters, and writing are 400% stronger than those of Meyer's Twilight, and it's an insult to Kagawa to insinuate that they are even on the same plane.

Back to the fun part... At the end of the book, there are three supplements.  The first, Survival Guide To The Nevernever.  The second, a very enlightening interview with Julie (and Ash and Puck).  The third, a set of discussion questions for reading groups.  Being a book group coordinator, I wish that these were in each of the four books, but alas, I'll take what I can get.

The last of those questions asks this, "One of the premises behind Julie Kagawa's fairy world is that faeries exist and become more powerful when humans remember them, tell stories about them, and dream of them. What kind of power do dreams and the imagination have on humankind?  How are they important in our lives?

Answer that in the comment section below to be entered to win your own copy of The Iron Knight.  One entry per person.  Ends 11/24/11 at 11:59PM.  A black friday gift for the winner!  Open internationally.

Also, check out another take on The Iron Knight at Harmony Radiant Reads.