IN THE REAL WORLD, WHEN YOU VANISH INTO THIN AIR FOR A WEEK, PEOPLE TEND TO NOTICE
After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for—his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again.
But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.
The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #2)Featured
IN THE REAL WORLD, WHEN YOU VANISH INTO THIN AIR FOR A WEEK, PEOPLE TEND TO NOTICE
It's interesting that I'd have such a strong reaction to this installment because for the majority of the novel, I didn't feel it was as strong as Kagawa's previous works. The tone is more subdued, the witty banter is not as frequent and the overall novel just feels, for a lack of a better word, low. In hindsight, I guess that all makes sense because THAT ENDING. But it's also more than that, I realize. I knew this novel carried heavy implications for the characters. The title itself clearly gave that away as did the foreboding mannerisms of the original trio: Ash, Puck and Meghan. However, even going in knowing this, I'm still impressed that Kagawa went there. Brutally.
I realize that this review is not being very helpful, so allow me to backtrack and give you a little something about the book. But it's probably not a good idea to read the rest of this review if you haven't read The Lost Prince.
What I loved:
As usual, Kagawa writes fun, relatable characters. I always know when I pick up one of her books that I'm going to laugh and fall in love with her cast. It's unavoidable and lovely. Ethan just wants a normal life with his girlfriend, Kenzie, the girl who is dying. He'd like nothing more for the fey to leave him and, more importantly, Kenzie alone. But Kenzie wants to live the rest of her life free from restrictions and craves the adventures the Nevernever provides. After trying his hardest to keep her away from Their world, they set out to look for Keirran, who has not returned to the iron realm after their last adventure. As always, there is a prophecy involved that neither Ethan or Keirran is aware of, one that has the potential to bring an end to everything. Ominously awesome, right?
I loved Keirran especially. He's mysterious, broken, tortured and b-b-bad to the bone. Well, not really that last one, but I just wanted an excuse to say that. That is, unfortunately, the impression that he gives everyone, including Ethan, who internally struggles with his feelings of both resentment and family duty. The dynamic between Keirran and Ethan allowed for two deeper messages in the storyline, more so than I remember in Kagawa's other novels.
1. How far do you go to help out a family member? There's no doubt that Ethan has the most to lose and little to gain from helping Keirran. Ethan blames Keirran's existence for the reason why he lost his sister Meghan to the Nevernever. Interestingly, while he remains deeply bitter about the ordeal, he always comes through for Keirran when he needs the help, even against better judgement.
2. How do you let the one you love go? What I didn't expect to find in this spin-off was the underlying message of letting loved ones go. Ethan and Keirran aren't so different. They are both outsiders and in love with girls who are terminally ill. It's a terrible situation to see one character in, let alone two. (In case you missed it, please refer to my second sentence: Julie Kagawa is an evil genius.) The difference between the two guys is their readiness to let their love interests go. I'm not entirely convinced that Ethan is ready, but there are certain lines he has made clear he won't cross, even if that means prolonging Kenzie's life. The same can't be said for Keirran, who would destroy the world if that meant he could spend just an hour more with Annwyl.
There's no doubt in my mind that the next book will make me cry a river, but I'm left wondering: At whose loss? How can any of this possibly end well? At least with The Iron Fey series, you had an idea of how things could conclude, though, of course, Kagawa didn't go that route. But with The Call of the Forgotten, I'm mystified and worried because THAT ENDING. There's only one thing left I can do: Hold out until the next book and hope my heart can take whatever Kagawa decides to dish.
*ARC was received from YABC and the HarlequinTeen. Thank you! No monies or gifts were exchanged for this review. I am genuinely a Kagawa fangirl!
The book picks up where The Lost Prince picks up. Ethan Chase is now back at school and everyone thinks he kidnapped Kenzie and put her in the hospital. While dealing with the horrible rumors at school, Ethan finds out that his nephew, Keirran, is missing and the lots of fey are looking for him. Now, Ethan has to decide if he's going to go back into the Never Never and look for him. Well, duh, of course he goes!
What I loved:
Ethan Chase. I adore this character. He's a bad boy, but only because he has to be. He has a kind heart and puts his family first, which is totally swoon worthy. He is so sweet and protective of Kenzie, too. He's also incredibly brave. And he's pretty funny, too!
Prince Keirran. He's Ash's son, enough said. Just kidding. He's in love with a summer fey and is trying to keep her from disappearing forever, so he will do whatever it takes to keep her with him, even if that means he dies. I mean come on! What a guy! I love his determination and fierceness.
Never Never! Ahh...as much as this world scares the pants off me, I love reading about it. The characters are never safe and not quite sure what to expect at any moment, but the Never Never is always entertaining (for me anyway, probably not for the characters).
What left me wanting more:
I will always want more of this series. Always. However, Julie Kagawa does a fantastic job of giving us a sneak peek of the characters we love (*ahem* Ash).
The ending. Oh Julie Kagawa, why must you torture us?
Definitely a fantastic read. If you've read the rest of the series, you will LOVE it! If you haven't, why not? Go get the rest of the series and dig in my friend!
(also a Q&A with Julie Kagawa and a giveaway for AUS/NZ residents)
MAJOR SELLING POINTS:
Every book Julie Kagawa writes I find myself enjoying more than her last. Her series are well written with action and incredibly engaging plots. It's not a surprise she's found her way to my auto buy list.
I have been reading these books ever since THE IRON KING came out all that time ago (not that long really). I have read almost every story and love this world of the fey. These books were the ones that got me interesting in the world with the big scary fey that twist words and make deals that won't always turn out in your favour. They're much cooler than those puny little fairies that grace so many children's programs and books.
I don't even know what to write here. I haven't recovered from the ending. The books starts of great and proceeds pretty rapidly. There's good action the more you get through and the more you read the more worried you get about the ending and then it actually happens and you're crying because you knew it was coming and dreaded it and then you're left in shock because it just ends and you can't believe it's over because there has to be more but there's not and I can't--
Julie Kagawa writes wonderfully. She has all types of characters with their own voices. Her dialogue can make you snicker, her descriptions paint a pretty picture, and the overall voice clearly show the attitude and values of the narrating character.
It's still weird to think of this big, grown up, tough teenager was once the little boy that got kidnapped. He has grown up so much (obviously) and become so hard. He still struggles with the actions of his sister and how the events back then and interactions with the fey have changed his life. They haven't made it easy. He's still finding his place in the world.
I don't know how I feel about Kenzie. She's always around and one of the most important things in Ethan's life. She's determined and stubborn and does what she wants. But... I don't know. I'm not really connected for her. Any feels I have that relate to her come from how whatever's happening to her is hurting Ethan.
Keirran was the character that caused the most pain in this book. He's so desperate to get what he wants, to save what he loves most, that he's willing to sacrifice anything. It doesn't make for a very nice person and he's made terrible decisions a lot. I just wanted to reach in and shake some sense into him before he did anything drastic.
Love is certainly a theme in this book, it's Kierran's main driving force behind his actions I believe. And yet I don't really feel anything for the relationships in this. Yeah I ship them and they're written ok I guess, I just don't care. THE IRON TRAITOR was more about Kierran and what he was trying to achieve (and how this affected Ethan) than the romance anyway, but even now and then a make out scene would be thrown in or something sappy would be said and meeeehhh.
-Ethan x Kenzie
-Kierran x Annwyl
-Chase family x happiness
-Grimalkin x More page time
-Me x THE NEXT BOOK RIGHT NOW THAT CLIFFHANGER IS HORRIBLE
First of all, Kagawa writes brilliantly. I have said it before and I repeat myself – it is a virtual journey when you read her books. They are so real and you feel like you are there – watching from the sidelines and biting on your nails (gotta quit this bad habit by now) – all the way to the heart-wrenching cliffhanger. The whole Nevernever, Between and the real world – so well-described with all the different creatures; also, it hits the balance between description and plot movement right on the mark.
Ethan is a warrior, plain and simple. He has been since his childhood, when he came back from being kidnapped by the Iron King. He used to blame the Fey for taking away his sister, his sister for keeping her distance all these years – but when the prophecy is revealed to him, his blame shifts to Kierran. That change in dynamics between them would have made Ethan leave him, but he sticks with Kierran to the very end – even against better judgement, all because he is family. Kierran, on the other hand, is desperate and determined, dangerous for a person with the powers of all the three courts. He is difficult at most times and his decisions have a track record of leading him down the wrong road. An interesting contrast in this story was their respective relationships: both their girlfriends are dying and the way they handle them is so different. While Kierran is ready to make a deal with the devil to save her – whether she wants it or not, Ethan knows that she would rather just be with him and live out the rest of her life enjoying it. Kenzie and Annwyl are both fierce, maybe not warriors in the sense that they run out for a battle but their love and fearlessness. Both the pairs may not be on the list of my OTPs, but they are great in their own way.
While this is a spinoff I was happy for the return of characters from the Iron Fey. Grimalkin (yay!), Puck, Meghan and even Ash make an appearance and I love Kagawa for it. There are other characters, too, considering they are traipsing over Nevernever but it would be spoiler-y to mention. Overall, a beautiful book which overwhelms you with the feels – all the love, happiness, outrage, sadness and dread. Loved it!