by Julie Kagawa
Book Six of the Iron Fey series. Click here to read reviews of earlier books in the series.This review may contain spoilers for previous books in the series.
Book Two of the Call of the Forgotten series.
After his second encounter with the fairies, Ethan tries once more to block them out, but when one of his companions from a previous trip appears in his home, seeking help, he realizes that he can no longer turn his back on events in the Nevernever – especially when he learns that his nephew Kierran has gone missing. When Ethan and his girlfriend Kenzie catch up with Kierran at the New Orleans goblin market, they find him playing a most dangerous game. Kierran is desperate to save the love of his life, the exiled Summer fairy Annwyl who is fading slowly into nothingness, and he will make any bargain that will guarantee her life. Ethan must once again journey into the Nevernever in order to protect his impetuous nephew from himself. A prophecy has long existed that Kierran will be the cause of Ethan's death. Can Ethan trust Kierran or is he walking straight into a betrayal?
This is what happens in The Iron Traitor: Someone (usually Ethan or Kierran) tells the rest of the group that they must Go It Alone. Someone else (nearly always the significant other) wants to know why. Person #1 explains it is to Protect You; Significant Other wails that It's My Choice and I Choose You! Everyone kisses and makes up, only to have the same conversation an hour later.
Seriously, I lost track of how many times Ethan told Kenzie, “I can't take you with me. It's too dangerous!” only to have her respond, “You're just like everyone else, treating me like I'm sick!” Well, yes, Kenzie. You have cancer. The major reason she seems to like Ethan is because he always eventually caves to her badgering that he treat her “like a normal girl” and pretend he doesn't notice that she isn't physically strong enough to adventure in the Nevernever.
But you want to talk about people throwing themselves in danger for love, you've got to look at Kierran, who WILL NOT LET ANNWYL DIE even after she's come to peace with her fate. Personally, I think it's inadvisable to destroy your soul in order to let another live, but if self-destruction doesn't bother Kierran I suppose it's his choice. But when you are willing to set the fairie courts at war and potentially destroy the balance of the fairy universe for the sake of one person who doesn't really want it– well, that's just selfish. Kierran's a terrible person.
It does make that darn prophecy seem all the more probable, though. Speaking of the prophecy, Ethan finally learns about it in this book, and it's fascinating how it affects his character. All his life, he's thought that Meghan didn't want to see her old family because she didn't love them, but now he's convinced that she was trying to protect them from her son, Kierran – all because of the prophecy she heard when she was younger. His frustration and anger toward his sister redirect to his nephew. But in spite of this, Ethan tries to help Kierran on his quest anyway. As we see more and more of the ugly side of Kierran's personality, Ethan's suppressed goodness rises to the surface. By the end of the book, I found myself liking Ethan and strongly disliking Kierran – which is more or less the opposite of how I felt at the end of The Lost Prince.
(Side note: Since The Iron Traitor returned to the naming convention used for the rest of the books of the series, I'm left wondering this: Why wasn't the previous book called The Iron Prince?)
This would be a lousy place to start reading this series, but if you've been reading the Iron Fey books than this is an important addition to the story, because we're finally seeing where that prophecy was leading when it was pronounced back in the “Iron's Prophecy” novella.
3 out of 5 stars
To read more about The Iron Traitor, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Amazing haul of books from Freecycle!
2011: Another little break for school...
2010: The Virgin Widow by Anne O'Brien
2009: Doodle of the Day: Twilight
2008: The Opposite of Life by Narrelle M. Harris