Monday, February 27, 2012

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Book four the last of The Iron Fey stories is an emotional roller coaster ride to the End Of The World. That's where Ash the Winter Prince who swore himself to his love Meghan Chase the new Iron Queen must journey in order to fulfill his promise to her.  His promise to find a way to exist, and thus be with her in the Iron Realm.  Ash knows he must journey to the Testing Grounds at The End Of The World.  There he can hope to win a soul of his own which will make him a mortal, and thus iron won't harm him.  With a soul he could be with his Meghan, but his former love Ariella is also there tormenting his heart, and Puck is there not making things easy as he's professed to love Meghan as well. Many decisions, and sacrifices will be made.  Thankfully Grimalkin the cat seith is there to keep things in order in true I don't care if you live or die cat fashion. That is if he doesn't get eaten by their other more menacing companion The Big Bad Wolf who's along on the journey with his own agenda in mind.  I was delighted to read this story.  I was upset.  I was happy. I was most of all sad that it is now over, and there is no more.  I want more.  I can imagine another series just begging to be written.  Maybe the fans of The Iron Fey can convince Julie to give us more.  This set has become one of my favorites that I know I'll read again, and again.  Well done Miss Kagawa.  Well done indeed.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Banished to the mortal world for the pursuite of love young Meghan Chase, and the former Winter Prince Ash are off to confront the new false Iron King who is destroying the Nevernever, and bring him down once, and for all. But, Meghan's not just blindly running into the frey this time.  She's convinced Ash to teach her how to fight, how to use her glamour, she's tired of being helpless. She has unfinished business with Leanansidhe the exile's queen who has helped her before, giving her refuge in her manor. However, Meghan has learned Leanansidhe has also been keeping her dad among the humans she's collected over the years for her own amuzement. The dad who had raised her as his own, and disappeared when she was very young. The Puck is there to keep things light, but it will take more than pranks to bring down the Iron King's army.  Alliances must be made. In the world of the fey promises must be kept. And, in the end someone must sacrafice everything to make things right.  The Iron Fey series is a carnival ride of love, laughs, excitement, and surprises.  I expected the writing to drindle letting detail wayne, but no. Julie keeps up her craft honerably.  Not perfect, but the text mistakes again can be counted on one hand which puts her head, and shoulders above most in her field, and makes the reading truely enjoyable. This is a set I would be happy reading again, and again. 

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase is held at the Unseelie Winter Court in Tir Na Nog. Brought there by her supposed love Ash the winter prince son of Mab the queen who is at odds with her father Oberon the Erlking of the Seelie Summer Court. Poor Meghan is forced to endure the cold torment of her less than hospitable host.  That is until the scepter of the seasons is stolen from Mab's thrown room.  A traitor is at work as swords clash, and blood is spilled sending the seasons out of balance  The Winter and Summer Courts to war, and Meghan on an impossible quest to find who stole the scepter, and return it. She isn't alone as old friend Robin Goodfellow (the Puck) ever by her side protective as always tries to win her heart with a grin, and a joke, but Meghan only has eyes for Ash who Puck must fight in a desperate battle to the death. Somehow they must work together to help Meghan find the scepter to stop  the war all the while facing the even more imposing threat of a new Iron King. Though Meghan killed the original Iron King another has risen to take his place.  Only with the help of Grimalkin a cat sith who turns up only when he feels like it, and who's help always comes at a price, and a mighty Iron fey warrior former enemy Iron Horse, and a host of other banished characters in the In Between will she have a chance to make it out of this adventure alive. The Iron Fey stories bristle with folklore, myth, and legends.  Clearly the author has done her homework, and clearly if complete submersion in a world of fairy tales, and dreams is what your looking for than you will love book two as much as you loved the first. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Presidents Day weekend.  I am reminded of the only President I ever loved, probably because I was a kid, and while other things were going on I watched him speaking whenever he was on the tele. I'm talking about President Ronald Reagan.  It was a dark time for America. We were in the middle of a Cold War with the Soviet Union.  The Eagle against the Bear.  Our President, a handsome, charismatic, former Hollywood actor who knew how to work the camera represented our line of defense against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Each one had the ability to launch an all out nuclear war with a single phone call. It should not be forgotten.  Students during this time period were practicing huddling under their desks in schools all over the country. The threat of mutual assured destruction was the only thing holding each side in check.   Each one playing the greatest military chess match the world has ever seen. Whenever they met no one knew what the outcome would be.  They were so much different in ideology, and neither was willing to loose ground giving the other a strategic advantage over the other.  One thing is certain though.  Reagan represented us well.  He didn't back down.  When he spoke the world listened, and those in prison in the Soviet Union because they fought for freedom cheered.  When Reagan was elected our Navy ships were on patrol in the Persian Gulf.  Iranian fighters would buzz the ships, but the former president didn't allow our ships to engage them.  Reagan was elected, and one of the first things he did was give the go ahead to our Navy.  The next time those fighters came around they got targeted with anti air radar. The pilots knew they could be shot down, and they never buzzed the ships again.  Another little known fact was that American hostages were released upon Reagan's election.  The hostages were taken by terrorists, and the former president couldn't get them back.  Well, word went out that Reagan wasn't playing, so they were released immediately.  And, Reagan didn't gloat.  He allowed the former President to meet them as they returned. Reagan never sought credit for it. He took up the business of government very seriously insisting on a suit coat and tie in the White House at all times.  He believed in America, in American people, and American business.  he knew we had everything necessary to be the greatest nation on earth.  And, he wanted to protect it.  Keep in mind that the Soviet Union had hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles targeted at American cities. Mutual assured destruction remember. There is no defense once they are launched.  Not unless you can find a way to shoot them down.  Reagan came up with Star  Wars, the technology hadn't been invented yet.  Reagan tasked the Pentagon think tanks to invent it anyway.  That's what American do.  If it doesn't exist we invent it.  This sent America into a spending war with Russia trying to come up with it first, and it was highly provocative.  We won.  The Air Force now has a satellite capable of shooting down incoming missiles, and both land, and sea base anti missile systems are currently in place.  We are well protected, both sides have reduced their missile supply steadily ever since, the Berlin wall came down.  Remember when Reagan stood at the wall giving a speech, and told Gorbachev to tear it down.  Before that if you tried to sneak across you were shot by Soviet soldiers with machine guns.  At the end of his presidency Reagan fell to Alzheimer's.  His wife Nancy never failed him.  Gorbachev came to Washington to pay his respects to his former chess mate. Will we ever have another President like him?  I don't think so.  It was a different time and America's threats were well known.  The world has changed as it always does.  We've had President's remembered for "Read my Lips", another for infidelity, one who took the fight to the terrorists, I would have nuked them myself, and one who to my knowledge hasn't so much as run a school store now in control of the largest economy on earth. No, I don't think we'll see his like again.      

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Bloody brilliant! The devil is  truly in the details with this gem of a tale Julie perfectly blends parts of real Irish folklore about the fey (fairies) with Shakespeare's Mid Summer Nights Dream taking Goodfellow (Puck) from the play and working her own bit of glamour (magic) to make a lovely story about a girl named Meghan Chase who lost her father as a child and so was brought up by her mom and her step dad Luke a pig farmer. Ethan her four year old half brother and their dog Beau a german shepherd are her only concerns Until her brother is switched with a changeling by fey and she is led into the world of the nevernever (fairyland) by her guide Puck. The Erlking Oberon (her father) as it is discovered wished she never found her way into the world of fairy as he presides over the Seelie Court of Arcadia a warm colorful part of the fairyland because his enemies may use her against him  In fairyland everything has a price She's already bartered her life with a talking cat and escaped being dinner to hungry trolls. She's lost her heart to the winter prince of the Unseelie Court who is as likely to kill her as whatever took her brother, and the dangers just keep coming. I could curse this author for I love stories of this type, but seldom am I satisfied with the level detail provided talking about such things. This is the first in the series, and I am hooked. The pictures she paints with the words make you feel part of the adventure.  You see, feel, and taste what the characters do.  You are drawn into the land of fairy with them. Complete submersion, and that is something I love. I was satisfied with what was presented, and at the end I hungered for more.  We won't discuss editing for I've yet to see a YA book that is perfect, but the number of errors I discovered can be counted on one hand.  This story is fabulous, fantastic, exceptional, and wonderfully written.  I love it.