This year is all about comfort and kindness for me. It's snowed for most of January and February, cutting me off from my usual runs and walks, and I've taken every opportunity to curl up with my cats, Kindle and a cup of tea. I was also able to reconnect with an old friend in the form of Julie Kagawa's brand new book in her Iron Fey series, The Iron Raven.
I can't believe I started reading the Iron Fey series a decade ago. It seems like yesterday and the characters feel so alive to me. Part of the reason for that is because I began listening to the series again on audiobook last year, starting with The Iron King. I'm probably exactly the kind of fan Kagawa was aiming at when she revisited the the world of the Iron Fey - I don't think I've said 'yes' to a Netgalley invitation so quickly in my life!
So it's obvious that I'm a fan and yes, I received an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review, but can I give an objective review? I think I can.
The original Iron Fey trilogy focused on the rise of the Iron Queen, Meghan Chase, with a fourth book The Iron Knight focusing on Meghan's soulmate Winter Prince Ash embarking on a quest so that he could be with Meghan forevermore.
The second trilogy Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten moved the spotlight to Meghan's brother Ethan, whose kidnap into the NeverNever sparked events at the beginning of the series. Let's just agree that he is not enamoured with anything Faery and his trials lead him into confrontation with Meghan and Ash's son Keirran.
The Iron Raven is the first book in the third trilogy, Iron Fey: Evenfall. The events in The Iron Raven take place many years after the previous trilogy and this time the narrator is Puck, world famous Summer faery and star of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. He is also best friends to Meghan and Ash and once mortal enemy to Ash.
After a chance encounter with Keirran, his Forgotten Fey servant Nyx and the cait smith Grimalkin, Puck joins them on a journey to the Town that Isn't There, a lost place on the border of the NeverNever and the Between, where faeries go to die. Their mission is to discover why all the town's fey have disappeared but what they discover there is more horrifying than they could ever have imagined. And so begins another quest, one where Puck must travel to the Iron Realm and beyond to warn Queen Meghan of the threat and to ultimately confront the evil.
The only problem is that following events in the Town that Isn't There, Puck is at risk of succumbing to the darkness within himself.
Puck was not always my favourite character in the Iron Fey series, in fact, it was quite easy to dislike him; his sense of entitlement towards Meghan was anything but endearing. Kagawa takes that to the next level in Iron Raven, examining Puck through the mirror of his faults and his deeper, darker side. I shouldn't have enjoyed it but somehow it worked, knowing that Puck is anything but perfect and that he has to tackle his weaknesses head on.
Puck isn't the only character on a journey of redemption in this book, and both Keirran and Nyx are on their own paths towards becoming whole again.
An enduring theme throughout the Iron Fey series to date was the threat of technology and the uneasy relationship between progress and the loss of traditional values. Something darker is at play in The Iron Raven; darkness, decay, destruction and the role of humans in destroying both the planet and the NeverNever. Evenfall is coming but Kagawa is just getting started and I can't wait for the rest of the series to see the true nature of the threat.
I give The Iron Raven an excellent four out of five stars. Quest and journey books are not my best but there was sufficient character development in The Iron Raven to keep me interested and ultimately leave me hungry for more. In fact, I'm definitely going to continue listening to the whole series on audiobook. Recommended if you like paranormal, YA fiction.
I received an electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley. I will always provide an honest review, whether books are provided to me or purchased by me.
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