Book Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fairies

Publishing Info: February 1st 2010 by Harlequin Teen

Pages: 363

Star Rating: 3.5/5


Back Cover Summary:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.


The Iron King is the first book in Julie Kagawa’s urban fantasy series which brings fairies into the modern age. The main reason I picked up this book was the recommendations of my friends. The paranormal genre is one I’ve begun to stay away from after many disappointing reads, however, I thought I would give this a go as dark fairies sounded different to vampires and werewolves and the like.

My first impression was a negative one. The writing style doesn’t really do anything for me. Sometimes the wording doesn’t always flow and Meghan’s voice in the narrative feels quite immature at times. It took me a while to ‘get into’ the story, it was at least halfway through before I started to enjoy it and want to keep reading.

In terms of characters I found most of them to be quite weak. Meghan always seems to have to be rescued by others, frequently playing the ‘damsel in distress’ role and very rarely being able to use her brain. It takes until the last few chapters of the book before she is able to act on her own and fight for herself. The redeeming part of her characterisation is her determination to get her brother back no matter the consequences. Puck is a good character, always having a good line to add some humour. I didn’t connect with Ash much, though he grew on me as the book went on. Kagawa did a good job of presenting him as cold and unemotional. Grimalkin steals the show for me for most of the book, despite not being one of the three main characters. Grim’s characterisation is best of all the characters.

The changeling plot isn’t all that original and as the world of the fey is very much based on actual myths and legends there isn’t much room for Kagawa’s own world building (apart from a particular part of the world which is entirely her own creation but no spoilers). It didn’t take too long to establish the plot which I thought was good, Kagawa gets to the point quite quickly but once the ‘saving the brother’ storyline is established it takes ages for anything much to happen. I like the element of adventure the book has as a lot of similar YA books focus on romance and nothing much happens in them. Thankfully, the romance doesn’t dominate the story which is one of its saving points.

Overall, this book is much better than many paranormal YA novels and for once the romance is a side plot that hardly crops up rather than being the focus of the plot. I liked that there was adventure and some events were unexpected (though I wouldn’t say it was full of twists and turns, more of a sprinkling). The minor characters (especially Grimalkin) steal the show with Meghan being a very mediocre and at times annoying main character. I’ll be reading the next one at least because I bought the books together since they were on offer. I’ve heard they get better as they go along so hopefully I will enjoy the next one more.

Now I have to take a moment to compare this to Poison by Chris Wooding. This book is about a female main character called Poison who has to rescue her sister who has been swapped for a fairy changeling. These books have the same premise but Chris Wooding pulls it off a million times better. Poison is dark, adventurous, compelling, exciting, and void of irritating, whiny main characters. If you want to read a YA book about fairies pick this up. It is leagues superior to The Iron King.

Book Review: Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

Genre: Young Adult, Science-Fiction, Romance, Mystery

Publishing Info: June 7th 2012 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Pages: 445

Star Rating: 3.5/5


Back Cover Summary:


Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.

And killed.

Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life…

Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time.

That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…


I really wanted to love this book. When I started it I was really into it, really enjoying it, really gripped by it, then I don’t know what happened. It started off so well with lots of mystery and suspense. Then it took a different turn and went in a completely different direction to what I was expecting (won’t give away any spoilers). I like books which surprise me and aren’t predictable, so this is a good thing. It’s also a bad thing because what started out as a thrilling mystery suddenly turned into a bizarre science-fiction revelation. I love science-fiction, but I just didn’t like this angle in this particular book. It had great potential as a thriller, but the science-fiction just made it unbelievable and too out there. It spoiled what started out as a great book, in my opinion.

Janelle’s character was good and fairly likeable, though I know some other readers have commented that they found her annoying. I felt she didn’t really change that much as a character and there was much more potential for Norris to develop her character and improve her character arc. Ben Michaels was a good ‘love interest’ character, but he wasn’t anything spectacularly different from all the other characters out there. Norris adopted the all-too-familiar love interest who is different inside to the image he projects on the outside. What was good to see was the ‘romance’ treated as a side plot, not the main focus of the story like it is in so many teen and young adult books.

There were several other important characters. The relationship between Janelle and her brother is portrayed very well and also Janelle’s friendship with Alex is believable. However I found Elijah an annoying character because he always seemed to be yelling. I get he’s a troubled character but he just seemed a bit too over-the-top.

The writing style was good – Janelle’s voice was sustained well all the way through – but nothing particularly new or interesting. I felt the book dragged on a bit. It was quite long and I don’t really think it needed to be so long and drawn out.

I wasn’t particularly happy to find out there are going to be more books in this series. The story ends at the end of the book, yet there are going to be more of them. It always seems to be the case with teen and young adult books that it has to be a series. Sometimes they would work better as a standalone and in this case more books really aren’t necessary. I probably won’t be reading them, not because I didn’t enjoy this one, but because I’m happy with where the story ended in this book.

Overall I enjoyed reading Unravelling, mainly because I liked the element of mystery in it and Norris managed to surprise me. I only gave it 3.5 stars because it didn’t blow me away. It wasn’t bad by any means but it wasn’t amazing.


Book Review: Gone by Michael Grant

Gone by Michael Grant

Genre: Young adult, science-fiction, dystopia

Publishing Info: 2009 by Egmont

Pages: 560

Star Rating: 4/5


Back Cover Summary:

Suddenly there were no adults, no answers. What would you do? In the blink of an eye, the world changes. The adults vanish without a trace, and those left must do all they can to survive. But everyone’s idea of survival is different. Some look after themselves, some look after others, and some will do anything for power.


Gone is the first in a six book series by Michael Grant, the last book of which has recently been released. I have to say the fact there are six books put me off a little bit, especially when I started reading the book. My problem was how could the plot be sustained for six whole books? So far I’ve only read the first, though I have the second waiting on my bookshelf, so this remains to be seen.

The book mainly follows the characters of Sam, Astrid and Quinn as they try to come to terms with the fact there are no longer any adults. There are other important characters as well and they inevitably all come together. There are a lot of characters in this book but Grant manages to give them each a personality, a history and a part in the story. None of the characters seem pointless, they all have a purpose.

The plot is a really interesting one and really keeps the reader gripped. The idea of all the adults disappearing, leaving only children under the age of fifteen, is a great plot point. It reminds me of ‘Lord of the Flies’ a little. There is no explanation for why all the adults have disappeared and makes you desperate to find out. There are a good variety of conflicts between a number of characters of different natures which also drive the story.

There was one thing that really bugged me about the book, though. The names – some of them were so odd. I think some were supposed to be nicknames but even so. Orc? Cookie? I just found it weird.

I did feel it went on for a bit too long. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the review I’m a little concerned that Grant managed to drag it out to six books. I’m reluctant to judge before I’ve read them all but I’m not sure if I’m going to manage to get that far. As much as I enjoyed reading the first book and got through it pretty quickly because I could not put it down at some points I’m just not sure where Grant is going to go with it in the next five books. In my opinion there isn’t enough substance to the plot to make it last that many books. The only thing that would make me read to the end would be to find out how it all happened and how they get out of the FAYZ. I would definitely recommend reading the book though as I very much enjoyed it.

Book Review: Divergent (Series) by Veronica Roth



Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia

Publishing Info (of the editions I read):

Divergent – Published February 28th 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books (first published 2011)

Insurgent – Published November 21st 2013 by HarperCollins Children’s Books (first published January 1st 2012)

Allegiant – Published October 22nd 2013 by HarperCollins Children’s Book’s


Divergent – 487

Insurgent – 529

Allegiant – 526

Star Rating:

Divergent – 5/5

Insurgent – 4/5

Allegiant – 3/5

Overall – 3.5/5

Back Cover Summary:

Divergent – In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Insurgent – The thrillingly dark sequel to New York Times bestseller, DIVERGENT – a major motion picture in 2014. One choice can transform you – or it can destroy you. Tris Prior’s initiation day should have been marked by victorious celebrations with her chosen faction; instead it ended with unspeakable horrors. Now unrest surges in the factions around her as conflict between their ideologies grows. War seems inevitable; and in times of war sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge and choices will become ever more irrevocable. Tris has already paid a terrible price for survival and is wracked by haunting grief and guilt. But radical new discoveries and shifting relationships mean that she must fully embrace her Divergence – even though she cannot know what might be lost in doing so. New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent trilogy is another intoxicating thrill-ride, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreak, romance and powerful insights about human nature.

Allegiant – The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.


So, I decided to review the ‘Divergent’ trilogy all in one go, because really I need to review the overall impression of the series as a whole. Also partly because I read them so quickly I didn’t have time to review the first one before I was moving onto the next and so on. I’m going to review each book individually and then do a bit about the series.


I’m going to start off by saying I absolutely loved this book and gave it 5/5 stars. It just kept me hooked. I literally couldn’t put it down. I never knew what was going to happen next and there was no points where I was bored or where I thought it was too slow.

I like how real the characters are – they have realistic thoughts and feelings and they have flaws. Now, they don’t just have flaws for the sake of flaws like I see in some books because authors put them in to make their characters real. In Divergent the characters’ flaws make sense and fit with their individual personalities and environment. I also like Tris as a character and thought she had a good narrative voice. Four is also a good character. He seems raw and has a really individual character. He’s not like a typical bad boy and is actually quite nice and considerate but he has an interesting edge to him which makes him different, intriguing and stands out (in a good way). Also, the romance was realistic and it didn’t feel forced (and no silly love triangles! Yes!).

The plot was really interesting and I felt that Roth did a good job at the world-building. It was well thought out and I got a real sense of the place without there being tonnes of info dumping or over the top descriptions.

So overall I absolutely loved this book and I would really recommend it. It’s one of the best YA Dystopia novels I’ve read (though maybe not as good as The Hunger Games).


I was so excited for this sequel and it did not disappoint me. Yes, I gave it 4 stars rather than the 5 I gave Divergent as it didn’t quite have that 5 star feel for me but it was still an amazing and exciting read.

However, once you started reading the series you can’t really stop and that brings me to the final book in the series.


This book was a massive disappointment and I only gave it 3 stars. Gradually, each book in the series lost another star point. While Insurgent was a slight step down but still great, Allegiant was like falling into oblivion. I found a lot of the novel quite boring and it didn’t catch my attention and keep it held the same way the first two books did.

An important thing to tell you is that the book is told from the alternating first person perspectives of Tris and Four (whereas the first two were just Tris’ point of view). I wouldn’t have minded, but Roth’s characterisation ability went out of the window in this book. I found myself having trouble telling the difference between the two characters’ voices. The characterisation was very poor in this book, made even more noticeable by the contrast with the amazing characterisation in the first two books.

Without spoiling the book all I can say is the way the plot turned in this one seemed unrealistic and fell flat of my expectations built up from the first two. The ending is very controversial and, although I acknowledge Roth’s guts in writing the ending she wanted, it seemed like a pointless, purposeless ending that didn’t really have to happen and the rest was very drawn out.


I would very much recommend the first book, and probably the second to. But, if you start reading the series you end up needing to finish it and be aware that the final book is disappointing, anti-climatic, poorly written, poorly constructed, and unexciting.

Book Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

WARNING: there may be some spoilers in this review

Genre: Romance, Teen Fiction, Supernatural/Paranormal

Publishing Info: Feiwel & Friends, August 31st 2010

Pages: 496

Back Cover Summary:

Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone? especially herself? from the Dark Forces. Is love a great enough power against evil?

The Bad:

I’m going to start with the bad, get that over and done with before I move onto the good. Adornetto often has a tendency to ‘warble on a bit’ and go far too in depth when describing the angels and how life if different for them on Earth etc. This makes the first couple of chapters quite boring and uneventful, not the best way to start a book. It also took a long time to get into the main plot and for the antagonist Jake Thorn to come into the story. Also, the idea of the zombie-like followers was a little undeveloped and was a little overdone and unimaginative.

The Good:

Now, onto the good! There are some really wonderful descriptions in this that paint a really vivid picture in my mind. Although it does take a while to get there, the main plot is very exciting, and continually makes me want to read more, especially in the last quarter or so of the book.


Once you eventually reach the main plot it’s not that bad, though there are some serious cliche issues.


The relationship between the characters is really good and develops well throughout the story. Xavier’s character is so loveable, you just can’t help but fall in love with him, however he does seem a little too perfect to be true. Bethany has a strong character and also Gabriel and Ivy’s characters are believable. Jake’s character is a little typical of an antagonist, he doesn’t stand out among all those other baddie characters out there.


A good book, but not the best I have read. Though I will be buying the sequel.

Star Rating: 3/5