The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa

My Five Word TL:DR Review: It’s not you, it’s me

IronRaven

I recently read and loved the Shadow of the Fox series by Julie Kagawa so when I saw her latest book I couldn’t help requesting it. I love reading books about the fey and even though I’ve not read the previous Iron Fey books this is a new start with a central character that I simply couldn’t resist – Puck, or Robin Goodfellow as he is sometimes known.

The long and the short of it is that this one didn’t work out quite as well for me as I’d hoped, but, in fairness I think its maybe an ‘it’s me not you’ thing. I imagine that readers familiar with this world will enjoy the return to much loved characters but as they were all new to me I didn’t have that attachment to carry me along.

I must say I got off to a really good start. I was enjoying reading about Puck and especially the Goblin Market where he met an old acquaintance and a female assassin who definitely piqued his interest. At this point we become aware of something dark attacking the fae of the Between and so the story takes us in the direction of a place where forgotten fae live in search of a monster that seeps evil.

Now, the thing is with this review I’m trying to avoid mention of so many things so as not to spoil the story for readers who are already familiar with this world and it’s characters. Instead I’m going to give more a few pros and cons.

Well, as I mentioned above I love that this is a story that focuses on Puck. The backstory about how he came to the Summer Court to serve under Oberon and Titania was really good. I also liked the character Nyx, a rather deadly and stunning assassin. She is fascinating and I would definitely like to know more about her.

I really liked that we travelled about and saw quite a few places and I loved the way the story uses fairytale scenarios and other little quotes that felt like shout outs.

The writing is good and the pace quick, in fact I pretty much flew through this until I reached maybe the last third.

In terms of criticisms. Well, I mentioned that I really liked that the story centres around Puck. However, given the direction that things take I wouldn’t say that he comes across in the best light. I realise of course that it’s linked to the overall storyline but it just left me feeling a little disappointed. Also, although I really liked Nyx I really didn’t feel any chemistry between her and Puck and so that element to the story fell flat for me. There was also a slight element of repetitiveness towards the end, which is where everything slowed down for me, not to mention a cliffhanger conclusion.

Overall, this one didn’t work out for me which is a shame. In fairness this is aimed at a much younger audience and I feel like readers who are already familiar with this world might enjoy this return to beloved characters more than I was able.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

My rating : 2.5 out of 5 stars

Friday Face Off : A book with a romance that you enjoyed

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

A Book with a romance that you enjoyed

I’ve gone for a book that has a very slow burn romance, really well done and probably one of the most satisfying endings to a series that I can recall.  The Shadow of the Fox series by Julie Kagawa.  I’ve gone for a comparison of the whole season, the UK covers vs the US:

vs

Which is your favourite set -I think I’m going to go for the second set although I think that both sets are really good.

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – Furry – a beast, something cuddly, or a fur covering

2021

February

12th – Furry – a beast, something cuddly, or a fur covering

19th – Serpentine – could be a snake, could be a snake-like font, could be a snakeskin style cover

26th – A book with ‘Magic’ in the Title

March

5th – March is named for the Roman God of War – a Roman style cover or a cover with a God or Gods or simply a book about war

12th – Middle Grade – choose whatever pleases you

19th – Ruin or derelict, old and worn, could be the book itself, a building, a place

26th – A picture within a picture

April

2nd – A train or tram – travelling down the track, could be old style, futuristic, overhead, down below.

9th – Cartoonish or graphic

16th – I have to have it – a cover that gave you ‘grabby hands’

23rd – Your current read (if it has covers to compare) or any recent read

30th– A series that you love – highlight all the books in the series

May

Month of Wyrd and Wonder

7th – A Series where the cover changed midway through – which style do you prefer most

14th – The earliest fantasy you recall reading – or the first fantasy book you really loved, maybe the book that kickstarted your love of fantasy

21st – The Top Hat

28th – The Hood

June

4th – The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot.

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy

July

2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

December Countdown, Day 23 : Sleigh Bells

December book meme (details here).  Sleigh bells – a series that you want to ring out the praise for :

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa,

You may have heard of me…

TheIron

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten.

Expected Publication : February 2021

Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa #wyrdandwonder

W&W

IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

NightoftheNight of the Dragon is one of the books I was reading as part of Wyrd and Wonder’s month long celebration of fantasy – (details here).  My review is below and the TL:DR is: this is a great series.  Fun, epic, packed with creativity, creatures of myth and legend and characters trying to save the world against the odds.

Night of the Dragon is the concluding episode in the Shadow of the Fox series by Julie Kagawa and brings to an end a highly entertaining, well written and completely absorbing story.  Ahh, that bittersweet feeling when a series you’ve enjoyed comes to an end but what a spectacular ending this was and one of the most enjoyable YA series that I’ve read for a long time.

So, this is the final leg of Yumeko and her companions’ quest and in true fantasy fashion things get real.  This is packed with drama, there is a much bigger picture going on here than is immediately apparent and the twists and turns at the end are almost none stop.

I’m not going to go into the plot too deeply.  Suffice to say this is a desperate race by a ragtag and unlikely bunch of characters trying to save the world from the demon hoards that concludes in a dramatic finale on the stormy cliffs of Iwagoto.  Did I mention a dragon?  There may be a dragon.

What works so well for me with this series is a combination of things.

Firstly, the relationships and characters are excellent.  You can’t help but form attachments to them and really care, you read the fight scenes with your heart in your throat and I’m not going to try and pull the wool over your eyes, Kagawa is pretty ruthless, so prepare yourselves, stock up on tissues and get ready to be gutted.  Some of these chapters will hit you hard but the author doesn’t give you a moment’s respite – straight onto the next scene – and I say ‘scene’ because this book is like a movie playing inside your brain.  It’s so cinematic and easy to visualise.  Please, somebody, anybody, the God of Anime – lets do this thing.  This series would be so good if adapted (if adapted well that is).  It’s chock full of fantasy goodness.  Ghosts, dragons, demons and a young and innocent girl who also happens to be a fox.

Secondly, the writing.  Not going to lie, sometimes I find YA a little too skimpy, I end up reading but having questions that remain unanswered and whilst I understand that not every reader wants overly fine detail it can be a difficult balance to strike.  Here’s it’s done well, there’s enough information to see the place and know the characters, to understand the places they’re travelling through and the adversaries they’re coming up against without feeling cumbersome or over wordy to the extent that the tension and plot suffer.

Thirdly, here is a romance in a story that I can really appreciate.  No instalove – which I think deserves a big thank you simply on it’s own.  But, on top of that characters that are getting to know each other, there’s a slow burn of tension and chemistry and at the same time a light touch that prevents it becoming the key focus of everything.  It’s a background issue that you’re aware of, it builds gradually finding a footing in a natural way that doesn’t overshadow the rest of what’s taking place.

In a nutshell this has been such an enjoyable series.  An epic quest, a fascinating world and a coming of age tale of a young girl who wins hearts and minds.  Not to mention all the emotions. Oh, my heart with the final scene.  There could have been tears.

I have no hesitation in recommending this series.

Rating 5 stars

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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