Monday, 30 September 2013

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Traitor (Goodreads)

Okay, let's the get the important stuff out the way . . .  this cover: it's GORGEOUS. Yes, in capitals. I would read this book just for the cover. And the title. Who would not want to find out who the traitor is: Ethan or Kerrian? Well, I'm not telling you. You have to read it to find out.

So after than fan rave, what did I think of this book? 
Better or worse than the The Lost Prince? 

Answer? Yes, it is, but then I only gave The Lost Prince three stars (you can see my review here) so that's not really difficult.

What makes The Iron Traitor better? 

It's hard to say. There were some things that really bugged me about it. Not to give away spoilers, but in places it felt as if Kagawa was running a bit short on imagination - a dramatic admission because she is The Imagination Queen - but I saw bits of other books and even a big steal from the movie Monsters Inc in it. 

Also, I was afraid after reading book one that the plot wasn't complex enough to fill a whole series, and I feel I was proved right. In this book Kagawa has fallen back on some well-known tropes to carry her story, for example: a prophecy now looms large. 

Those points definitely detracted from my enjoyment, but there was a lot that made up for it and most of that goes back to Ethan and Keirran.

Ethan and Keirran! 

Now there are two interesting male protagonists. I really enjoy being in Ethan's head and Keirran is a fascinatingly complex character. All the traits Ethan displayed in book one - loyalty, courage, determination - go into overdrive in this book. In a word, he's great. My only complaint is that he does a lot of fighting (yah, I love that) and gets multiple injuries in each fight, but still he keeps moving with nary a flinch.  I found that a bit implausible, enough so for me to start shaking my head after awhile. Still, Ethan is definitely one of my favourite male protags and I will happily read more books with him in it. 

Now for Keirran . . . wow. Julie Kagawa has a wild card here. At times I wanted to hug him and other times I could have kicked his butt all the way to Ash and demanded that Ash freeze his feet to the ground. (As an aside: I rather suspect that Ash feels the same way too. That said, Ethan also got up Meghan's and Ash's noses in this book. In fact he managed to annoy a lot of people. That's what makes him so much fun to be with)

The other characters? 

Kenzie and Annwyl strutted their stuff, but they are definitely not show stealers. I like Kenzie - a lot - but Annwyl really bugs me. I think she's weak and she allows Keirran to do some really crazy things for her without too much care for the consequences. But then, if she wasn't weak we wouldn't have a story. Razor the gremlin is back in force here, and I loved every page he was on.

The Ending - Urgh, No!!!

No review of this book would be complete without a comment on the ending. It sucks. There, I said it. It's a cliffhanger of note and, what can I say, it sucks! All I could do was roll my eyes and demand that Harlequin tell me how long they intend making me to wait to find out what happened. Obviously, no such answer was forthcoming. Oh well, this is me waiting at the edge of my seat . . .

Finally, the all-important question . . .
How many stars?

Humph . . . tough one. Definitely more than three but not quite four. So I guess that makes it's a three and a half. Still, I did enjoy it a lot and would recommend it to readers who love fey and intersting characters. Just a quick thank you to Harlequin for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Until next time
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