The Iron King - Julie Kagawa Real rating: 2.5 stars

So, I'm not exactly positive how I feel with this book. The more I think about it, the more I don't like it. On the one hand, it was entertaining, if not predictable. On the other hand, I put the book down with no complaints three times during the climax. Not a good sign.

I have to throw this out there, I just hate instalove. It's a problem for me because I hang out in young adult pretty exclusively. But there it is. I hate it. So Meghan's relationship was just a total fail for me. It doesn't help that it comes almost out of nowhere. All of the sudden after all this, they kiss and she's beloved of Ash. Um. Right. Okay.

Pixar has this nice list of storytelling rules. I think there's twenty-two and they're something to live by. One of them is that a character cannot win because of a coincidence. They can get in more trouble, but they can't win. This is probably why the ending upsets me. I mean, really, Packrats? You just happen to find a piece of the arrow and just happen to give it to Meghan? Also, could that girl randomly start swinging a sword like a king, or what?

Also! Faeries are stronger based on how much belief they have, right? So then how is Puck Oberon's lackey? I mean, Puck is the faery. Oberon's famous, but this is fucking Robin Goodfellow. He should have the Nevernever under heel.

On that note, if the faeries are brought on by belief, then how are the Iron Fey strong? No one knows about the Iron Fey, so they're clearly not believed in. And yeah, the argument is made that it's because we believe in technology more than anything. But the Seelie and Unseelie Courts are literal embodiments of seasons. We did not stop believing in winter or summer. We still have those seasons. So then how are the Iron Fey more powerful than the Old Courts? One more thing, if Robin fucking Goodfellow can't be around computers too long, then Ash cannot fucking be alive after they travel to the Iron Palace.

So the characters? I liked Meghan, though she seemed to adapt too quickly to everything. I was fine with it since she was part of that world. I did not like Ash, not really. Well, okay, so I liked him in the beginning before the instalove thing. Afterwards, he was reduced to knight in shining armor instead of awesomely gray maybe good buy maybe bad guy.

Puck gets his own paragraph. Because Puck. Really Puck? There's absolutely no reason for this jump in personality. So you go from Robbie to Puck, which are almost two totally different characters. Puck probably was one of my favorite characters, but he gets pushed to the side by the instalove. You can't sit there and tell me the Iron Palace wouldn't have been so much better if it had Puck instead of Ash? I hated that Puck pined after Meghan too. Mandatory love triangle and mandatory "this is what friend-zoned looks like." I really hope we don't run into guilt tripping or tricky flirting in the following books.

BUT! Ladies and gentleman, we have a plot. Something so rare and unheard of in Young Adult, it may as well be a freaking unicorn. Meghan is going to find Ethan. Simple. The plot is continuous and you have a beginning and middle and end. You would think it's the hardest thing ever, but seriously. I nearly weep for joy when there's a plot.

But I gave the book three stars -rounded up- and I do plan on reading the series. It was a very entertaining read. There were plot holes, see above spoiler, but it wasn't a bad read. Especially with the YA out there? I'd read it. The writing is solid, the characters aren't cutout for the first half of the book, and there are some really great lines.