The Lost Prince (Iron Fey – Book 5 ) by Julie Kagawa
Published by Mira Ink (UK) via Harlequin Teen
3.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Late egally (Available now in kindle and paperback – order yours here)
***This is book 5 in the series, there may be the odd spoiler for the previous books, but I’ve kept it to a minimum, i think!***
Faeries, fey, the fair folk, fairies etc etc etc. I hate them. HATE them. I have yet to come across an author that writes anything likeable about them. There is rarely an original take on them, they are always tricksters, spiteful, cheating, you never promise them anything, you never make a deal, you never eat their food. Even my favourite authors have been undone when trying to write about them, Clarissa Clare sneaks them into the Mortal Instruments Cycles and Maggie Steifvater writes a series about them but neither made me feel differently. But everyone told me ‘read Kagawa’s work’ ‘she does different faeries’ ‘you’ll love them’ they said……… Then I saw the cover and fell for the ‘for fans of Snow White and the Huntsman’ tag line. I am a fan, and so thought it was a sign that I should put aside my fairy prejudice and try it.
Obviously that means I’ve not read the previous four books, but I did some searching before I ordered it and was told that its not essential to read the others first, although its part of the same story, its an arc that goes away from the first four books. This book follows Ethan Chase, who is the brother to Megan who is the Iron Queen, it gives you a quick run down of their history – both human, Ethan was kidnapped by Fey as a child and Megan had to rescue him, she then became Queen of the Iron Fey (more on them later) and he’s seen her few times since. Ethan can see fey and this draws them to him, they are (as expected), rotten, nasty things and he’s been expelled from numerous schools thanks to their trickery. So He’s starts a new school, meets a girl (of course) and a ‘half-breed’ fey, he apparently can’t say out of trouble as within a few hours he’s involved in a fight, which leads him into a whole heap of trouble, fey and human. His half-breed ‘friend’ Todd has got caught up in something nasty, even half breeds can’t help playing tricks and he’s being chased by some ghost like fey (The forgotten). Long story short, Ethan gets involved, Todd’s kidnapped, and Ethan and the girl he likes ‘Kenzie’ end up in Nevernever – Fey land, and along with a half-breed called Kirran , they are tasked with finding out where Todd, and other half-breeds have gone, and who these ghost people/fey are.
Urrrgh. I am trying to put the fey thing aside for a minute. There is no doubt that Kagawa is a great writer, she can weave a story that makes you want to find out whats going to happen next, and the whole book was well paced, the action sequences were great and she draws you into her world. Ethan was a good lead, its nice to have a male lead for a chance, and a normal guy one at that (not a superhero in disguise type lad) , he’s a bit of an arse and a little cocky too, even though a lot of its just an act, he’s still likeable and you can’t help but feel awful for him and the way his life has been ruined by the fey (although quite why he didn’t ask his sister to put out the word that he was to be left alone, or why she didn’t do it in the first place I don’t know). The Kenzie twist was beyond obvious though, and any blog fans will know I HATE obvious twists, its not a twist it you can see it coming – and this is a big problem in much of the YA fiction, not just The Lost Prince, but everything I’m reading at the minute – no surprises. Finally the whole Kirran thing was a little hard to get my head around, with out spoilers I can’t really explain too much, but time differences and the like were all a bit much (and the fact that there are secrets about him, yet we don’t find them out was annoying).
On to the fey. Urrrrgh. Fey. Did Kagawa change my mind. No. Yes her Iron fey are unusual, they are modern fey, they don’t have the same dislike for iron (hence the name) and their world was beautiful – Kagawa described it beautifully. But they are still fey, there is nothing new or different about their characters or their lives, just that they are more modern and like electronics and the like. They are still nasty, tricksters that you can’t trust to save your life. I was disappointed, I’d heard so much about how Kagawa had changed the fey story, and maybe she has in the other books, but in The Lost Prince I didn’t see anything to suggest that. I will say that I did like Razor, the gremlin, he was a fun addition to the story and was written as a character, not a pet – which made him come alive.
So no, I still don’t like Fey stories, and have yet to find one that will inspire me. I think Kagawa could have written them so much better than she has, she is obviously a talented writer, and I did enjoy the story, but would much preferred it to have been minus fey (obviously), her story building is fantastic and I’d go as far as to say she’s one of the leading Ya writers of the moment, but sadly her stories are just not for me, I’ve given it 3.5 stars on the basis of a great story, but there is still untapped potential there, and thats why its not 5 stars (oh that and the fey obviously!). If Kagawa writes a non-fey book I’ll be there to read it, but no more fey for me.
ARC/eGalley kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.