My sister recently commented that she was taking a break from reading about dead things. She'd been on vampire and zombie kicks and had moved on to faeries for a while. I didn't think too much about it, but realized I'd had the first two Iron Fey books taking space in my JJ corner of the TBR (these are the teen books that I buy intending to read and send on to the sisters). And actually, one of the sisters got so frustrated that I hadn't gotten around to these that she bought book three and promptly shipped it to me telling me she didn't want it back until I could send her all three. No pressure :)
So two weeks ago (not too long after she sent me The Iron Queen), I cracked open Julie Kagawa's The Iron King.
I never know what to expect from teen reads these days. Some are dark and stormy reads I greatly appreciate. Some are easily mistaken for adult books in tone, style, and content (another aspect I enjoy). And others are a little too teen for my personal taste. It's a double-edged sword because I'm not the intended audience. I always rely on my sisters in those cases. If it was a little too young for me but they enjoyed it, then it hit its mark. (I've never had them dislike one that I've enjoyed, btw.) It's always an added bonus, though, if a teen author has adult cross-over appeal, and I think The Iron King is just that kind of teen read.
Meghan Chase is a pretty normal teen. She goes to school. She has a crush on the star football player. She's utterly invisible to most of the student population at her high school. Her best friend, Robbie, is pretty much her only friend. Normal. But when Meghan's brother turns mean, Robbie tells her that he's been replaced by a changeling. And with this revelation comes a whole slew of other revelations. Like the fact that faeries are real and that Meghan herself is the daughter of Oberon, king of Summer Country. Oh, and Robbie? Robbie is none other than Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck, tasked with keeping Meghan safe. The only way for Meghan to save her brother is to enter the faerie realm and bring him back herself. With Puck's help, she'll cross over and face a world full of challenges she could never imagine.
So my description doesn't really do it justice. For folks my age, think Labyrinth. In fact, it's very Labyrinth, but with great twists. First, Kagawa introduces creatures I've never heard of. Many (if not all) of them are from classic folktales and mythology (I googled a few), but haven't been used in the books I've been reading. Second, her additional mythology is fantastic. The Iron Fey are super cool and a great modern day addition to the faery realm.
Perhaps it's appropriate that I've been spending so much time in Summer Country of late. Summer is still in full swing, anyway. I've moved on to The Iron Daughter and have Queen waiting for me.
Some other fey reads: I recently read Lee Carroll's The Watchtower for yet another take on the Summer Country and the various types of fey (sequel to Black Swan Rising). Mike Shevdon's Road to Bedlam is currently in the TBR. I adored his take on the fey in Sixty-One Nails and highly recommend it for readers who can't get enough of the fey (or, like my sister, are taking a break from the undead).