I received this book for free from Publisher, Young Adult Books Central in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Iron Traitor by Julie KagawaThe Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #2
Published by HarlequinTeen on October 29th 2013
Format: ARC
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 342
Source: Publisher, Young Adult Books Central
GoodreadsGood BooksAmazon
four-stars
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.

You know what? Julie Kagawa is an evil genius. If that wasn’t evident with the ending in The Iron Queen or even with The Immortal Rules, she definitely drove the point home with The Iron Traitor‘s ending. I’m a little stunned this time around because I’m left wondering how she’ll manage to end this thing in the next book. You’ll have to excuse me if this review seems a little scattered, but the last few pages blew my little socks off into next Tuesday.

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!

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery

I’m a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker and fangirl, YA Books Central editor and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery.
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5 Responses to “Review: The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa”

  1. Melissa Robles

    Aw maaan, I’m terrified to read the iron traitor! I love Julie Kagawa and her works, but like you said, she is an evil genius and she sure knows how to bring on the tears. I’ll have to prepare myself with a box of tissues and comforting chocolate, just in case I need some pampering after finishing.
    Thanks for the heads up!

  2. I agree, the ending was evil, but I love that she had the guts to go there! This book definitely felt a bit different from her other work, but the ending and the characters made up for it :)

  3. I like the Iron Traitor more than The Lost Prince, mostly because it showed more of the original cast. What can i say, I’m a sucker for Puck and his wit XD
    But that ending was extremely disarming and I’m interested to see how Kagawa’s going to go with it, without relying on a deux ex machina.

  4. I agree, that ending was absolutely heartbreaking and one of the worst/best cliffhangers of the year! I hadn’t read the Iron Fey series before getting into this new series, of what I’m kinda glad now cause I’m gonna be reading them now while I wait till the next book is published while I worry about what the hell is gonna happen next!

  5. This series is my first experience with Kagawa’s writing and I’m in love. Even with the foreboding title, I still wasn’t expecting the story to actually go there, she’s definitely earned my respect for being able to dish out that kind of ending successfully! I can’t wait to see how everything works out in the next book.

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