Monday, 28 October 2013

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Traitor is the second in Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series, itself a sequel series to The Iron Fey. You can read my review of the previous book, The Lost Prince, but I have not read the earlier series which will inevitably have an impact on my reaction to this sequel series. Also, I should note that this review contains spoilers for book one.

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.

Much like the previous book, The Iron Traitor is a quick, fun read. There was a bit less Kali fighting — to my disappointment — and more varied interactions with the fey. The same characters from The Lost Prince appear again in The Iron Traitor. It's again narrated by Ethan and the character-based part of the plot centres about his blooming relationship with Kenzie.

We also revisit Keirran, Ethan's nephew, and his illicit summer fey girlfriend, Annwyl, who is dying after being banished to the human realm. The action part of the story is based around everyone trying to stop Annwyl's fade from existence. Ethan and Kenzie are dragged into Annwyl's and Keirran's problems, facing faery dangers and dealing with crazy faeries. Other than the ending (which I did not see coming), there wasn't an awful lot here that was surprising. But I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It was the kind of book I was in the mood for: easy to read.

The most interesting thing Kagawa does is juxtapose Keirran and Annwyl's relationship with Ethan and Kenzie's. Both boys are in similar positions in that their girlfriend's are dying, Annwyl of fey banishment and Kenzie of cancer. While Keirran does everything in his power to keep Annwyl alive, Ethan accepts that Kenzie is going to die and that trying to keep her alive with faery magic is only going to end badly. At times it was a bit heavy-handed in the delivery of that moral (keeping Annwyl alive is to everyone's detriment) but it mostly worked for me.

And did I mention I didn't see the end coming? I am eager to see how Kagawa deals with it in the next book. Personally I'm expecting some amount of backtracking, but maybe it will shift to Kenzie as the protagonist. Time will tell.

All in all, The Iron Traitor was a pleasant read. It was exactly what I expected (well, with less Kali fighting and a surprising ending) and I will definitely be getting a hold of the next book in the series. Coming from the perspective of someone who hasn't read the earlier Iron Fey books, I'd say it's not necessary. I would recommend reading the Lost Prince first, however, mainly to get to know the characters and backstory.

4 / 5 stars

First published: November 2013, Harlequin Teen (world wide, I believe)
Series: Yes! Book 2 of The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, itself a sequel series to The Iron Fey
Format read: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley

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