Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Latest Obsession: the Charley Davidson series!

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus lately.  I lost interest in reading and I didn’t really feel like I had much to post about since this is my book blog.  However, I recently discovered the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones and I quickly came out of my reading slump.  I devoured this series and I didn’t want to do a full review for all 8 published books in the series but I wanted to feature them some way so here you go!

Series

This series is by far one of the funniest I have ever read.  Charley has such a great sense of humor and even though it was a bit morbid at times, I cracked up a lot.  I haven’t laughed so hard in quite some time.  The situations she found herself in were so crazy and she just rolled with the punches.  She accepted her crazy lot in life and she really embraced it.  It also helped that she had great family and friends to back her up.  I admit the family situation in the first few books wasn’t perfect but I liked seeing her relationships develop.  Cookie was the ultimate best friend.  She was just as crazy as Charley and didn’t mind getting the crazy situations that developed around Charley.  Uncle Bob was also pretty great.  I grew to love him very quickly.

The stories are pretty predictable but they are fun.  Each book continues the major storyline from the first book but they also each have their own mysteries so there is some closure at the end of each book.  I think I enjoy the mysteries in each book even more than the underlying story about Charley and Reyes somehow defeating Satan.  The mysteries are fun and Charley goes about solving them in completely convoluted ways.  Her interactions with dead people help with the mysteries and honestly, those are some of my favorites parts of the books.  A lot of the dead people have terrible stories and I admit to tearing up a time or two but a lot of them have really humorous interactions with Charley.  Take her Aunt Lil for example.  She’s quite the character.

The Charley Davidson series is like Veronica Mars and Stephanie Plum with the addition of paranormal elements.  Charley has the same sassiness as Veronica Mars and a lot of the crazy antics of Stephanie Plum (along with an awesome sidekick).  I highly recommend this series for both adult and young adult fans.  I look forward to continuing this series and I definitely plan on checking out Darynda Jones young adult series.

Have you read these books?  Did you love them as much as I did?  If you have read them, do you have any recommendations for similar books?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins | Review

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins | ReviewRebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Published by Penguin Teen on April 8, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

picadillyblueRebel Belle, the first in a new series from Rachel Hawkins, is a fun, fresh addition to the YA genre.  Rachel Hawkins’ fans will definitely love this one.

Rebel Belle has a very unique premise.  Paladins (almost super-hero like people) have powers that must be used to protect someone with the help of a mage.  In this case, Harper is the Paladin and David (her worse enemy) is the person she’s  been tasked with protecting.  The powers are thrust upon Harper out of nowhere and not only does she have to protect David, she’s gotta do it all while trying to figure out how her powers actually work.

Harper is a busybody.  She’s in charge of almost every group at school, she’s head cheerleader, homecoming queen, and preparing for Cotillion.  She is the quintessential southern belle.  When the powers of a Paladin are given to her, she decides that she can manage those too.  She’s a bit annoying in her quest for success in everything but you can’t really fault her for that.  She’s funny, smart, and kind (to everyone but David.)  She also has the perfect boyfriend, Ryan, and a wonderful best friend, Bee.  Then there’s David.  He’s quirky and smart and he can’t stand Harper.  Working with her is just as big a problem for him as it is for Harper.  However, they’re both good people at heart so they eventually start to work together to possibly save the world.

Harper and David have such fun, witty banter going on between them.  It’s easy to see the chemistry between them even though they will do anything to deny it.  They are a lot alike and working together starts to show this.  I loved them together.

The story is fast-paced and fun-filled.  Discovering the extent of Harper’s powers right there alongside her is quite the adventure.  She’s energetic and enthusiastic even in the face of danger.  She definitely cracked me up.  And there are quite a few shocking twists that will have you flipping pages as fast as possible.

Overall, Rebel Belle is beyond awesome.  If you’re looking for something that hasn’t been completely overdone, give this one a shot.

What others are saying about Rebel Belle:

Step Into Fiction’s review: “If you’re in the mood for something light and funny, let me tell you something, Rebel Belle is the book for you!”

Bibliophilia Please’s review: “Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins is my favorite novel to have a protagonist with superpowers in a long time.”

Books and Swoons’ review: “Rebel Belle was a great book to get lost in.”

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Night of Cake & Puppets (DoSaB #2.5) by Laini Taylor | Review

Short Story Saturday: Night of Cake & Puppets (DoSaB #2.5) by Laini Taylor | ReviewNight of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor
Published by Little Brown on November 26, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 89
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.

picadillyblueI love Laini Taylor. I’m just gonna start out saying that.

The Night of Cake & Puppets is the story of Zuzana and Mik’s first date. Zuzana has always been one of my favorite supporting characters and that’s even more true after reading from her point of view in this story. She’s quite a unique person. The same goes for Mik. I never really felt like I knew him when reading about him in the other books so it was great to finally read from his point of view. He’s so cute! He and Zuzana are so perfect for each other.

The story is fabulous. Mik and Zuzana are such unique people that you know they have to have a unique first date. And boy do they ever. Their story is full of puppets, magic, a little vengeance, and a lot of awws (at least on my part.) I also couldn’t help but laugh at their story.

Overall, I can’t do justice to how fabulous this novella is. I loved it and I highly recommend it, even if you don’t normally read novellas.

What others are saying about Night of Cake & Puppets:

The Book Addict’s Guide’s review: “If you’re a fan of this series, do yourself the favor and read NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS.”

Bending the Spine’s review: “A Night of Cake & Puppets is the exact opposite of DoSB and DoBS—it’s full of hope, and joy, and wonder, and love.”

Utterly Bookish’s review: “Everything about Laini Taylor’s Night of Cake & Puppets, or Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5, was as perfect as I expected to be.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Days of Blood & Starlight (DoSaB #2) by Laini Taylor | Review

Days of Blood & Starlight (DoSaB #2) by Laini Taylor | ReviewDays of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2
Published by Little Brown on November 6, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 528
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Daughter of Smoke & Bone was my favorite book of 2011 and I was actually really scared to read Days of Blood & Starlight. So many sequels end up disappointing me and I was terrified that that was going to be the case with Days of Blood & Starlight. However, that so was not the case. I ended up loving Days of Blood & Starlight just as much as Daughter of Smoke & Bone!

Days of Blood & Starlight immediately grabs your attention. It picks up shortly after the ending of Daughter of Smoke & Bone and it takes no time to get back into the story. Also, I was a little worried that I might not remember some of the events of the first book but there is enough flashback in the book that it all came back to me as I read. At some points it was like everything was happening all over again and I couldn’t help but tear up. I give you guys fair warning that this is not a happy book. Things have gotten even worse since the end of Daughter of Smoke & Bone and my heart broke many times for Karou, Akiva, and all they had to go through. However you will never want to put this book down. Daughter of Smoke & Bone spent a lot of time setting things up but that is not the case with the sequel. This book is all action and it will have you on the edge of your seat!

As for Karou, Akiva, Zuzana, and Mik, they are all back and better than ever. Karou has changed a lot because of everything she has had to go through. It’s made her kind of cynical and hard-hearted but it’s understandable and I felt for her. Akiva was even better in this book than he was in the first. He took charge and he knew what he wanted and he was willing to do anything for it. Zuzana and Mik are by far the best though. Zuzana cracks me up so much. Her sense of humor in all situations is amazing. And Mik just brings out the best in her. They are so adorable together!

There are new characters introduced in Days of Blood & Starlight and not all of them are good ones. There are new villains and new friendships and maybe even some hints of new romance. The villains don’t seem quite so bad in the beginning but it doesn’t take long to see their scary sides. Both villains are amazingly well written and I never knew what they were going to do next. The new friendships were the best though. Karou and Akiva both start to carve out new relationships (not of the romantic variety) and while I wasn’t sure about their new friends at first, they quickly grew on me and I loved them by the end.

The writing is beyond phenomenal. I can’t even put into words how awesome Laini Taylor’s writing is. She is one of the best authors I have ever read. Her writing alone brings tears to my eyes. Even if I hated the story I would continue reading her books just for her writing. It’s that good.

Overall, Days of Blood & Starlight is a must-read for everyone. My review does not do it justice. I can’t wait to see how things are going to end in the final book next year. The wait is going to be terrible but I know it will be worth it!

Looking for more reviews of Days of Blood & Starlight?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Daughter Of Smoke & Bone (DoSaB #1) by Laini Taylor | Review

Daughter Of Smoke & Bone (DoSaB #1) by Laini Taylor | ReviewDaughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Published by Little Brown on September 27, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 420
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

picadillyblueDaughter Of Smoke & Bone is a new favorite of mine.  From the very beginning of this book I was captivated and I could not put it down.  Now I am dying for more!

I don’t really know where to start with this review.  Every aspect of the book was perfect: characters, plot, uniqueness (is that a word?), writing, and setting.  Oh my gosh, that setting! I have never been to Prague but after reading this book I feel like I have.  There, as well as Morocco and the worlds of the angels and chimaeras.  Every place was so detailed and wonderful; The Poison Kitchen, Karou’s flat, the school, Brimstone’s shop, and the market in Marakesh.  Can I please just live inside this book?

The characters were my second favorite thing.  Every one of them was so unique and fun.  Kishmish, Brimstone’s little messenger, was so cute. Issa was a bit scary but very loving with Karou.  Brimstone was even scarier than Issa  I would be terrified to come face-to-face with him but with Karou he was very caring and tender, even sweet at times.  Karou herself was very likable.  She was brave, smart, funny, talented, and all around kick-ass but underneath that she was lonely. Sure she had a great best friend, Zuzana, and her chimaera family but she didn’t have love.  It was easy to relate to her.  Then Akiva came into her life.  Dangerous, sexy, sometimes sweet Akiva.  Everything changed when Karou met him and that was when the story really took off.

The plot was interesting from the start but like I said, it really took off when Akiva entered the story.  After that there was so much going on.  There were battles, romantic scenes, glimpses of the past, and so much more.  I never knew what was coming next and there was nothing about this book that I expected.  The story was so unique and unlike anything I have ever read.

Overall, Daughter Of Smoke & Bone is one book that I have to recommend to EVERYONE!  If you have it, read it now.  If you don’t, go buy it!  I can’t wait for the sequel.  In the mean time I will have to check out Laini Taylor’s other books!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4) by Julie Kagawa | Review

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4) by Julie Kagawa | ReviewThe Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 26, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 399
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

My name - my True Name - is Ashallayn’ darkmyr Tallyn. I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her. My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl…

To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase - a half human, half fey slip of a girl - smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end - a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan's side.

To survive in the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

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SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read the first three books in this series, go read them and the come read this review! =)

The Iron Knight is the perfect ending to the Iron Fey series and I think fans will find everything they want between these covers. There is a lot of Ash, quite a bit of Puck, and a ton of surprises. I am sad to see the series end but I know that this is one that I will go back and read many times in the future.

I am honestly having the hardest time finding words to describe how I feel about this book. My whole heart was pretty much invested in this series and I feel like The Iron Knight really tied it all together and made me love it even more. I laughed (at Puck, of course), I cried (many times), I squealed with joy (mainly at the end), and my jaw dropped open in shock (at one part in particular.) Julie Kagawa knows how to draw her readers in and wring every last drop of emotion out of them by the end of the book.

So I’m sure you are all dying to know if Ash’s past is revealed. Yes! A lot of it was and it definitely was not all good. I was torn apart reading about Ash’s history but in the end it only made me love him more. He is such a well-rounded character. I can’t help but count him as one of my all-time favorites.

Overall, The Iron Knight is, simply put, perfection! Read it as soon as you can! I was Team Ash til the end but now I am dying for a book all about Puck! Pretty please, Julie Kagawa?

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3) by Julie Kagawa | Review

The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3) by Julie Kagawa | ReviewThe Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Published by Harlequin Teen on January 25, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 358
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

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SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read the first two books in this series, this review may contain spoilers.

The Iron Queen is fabulous, as expected. In my opinion, Julie Kagawa can do no wrong. This addition to the Iron Fey series is wonderful and once again I am left dying for more (in a good way)!

Meghan Chase is finally going home, or so she thinks. Too bad the inhabitants of the Nevernever have other plans for Meghan. Since she is the only one with the ability to stop the false king, she must go back and not only is she in danger but so is all of faery, including Ash. Can Meghan stop the false king or will it turn out to be an impossible task?

My favorite characters are back and just as lovable as ever. Ash is sexy and loving, Puck is his hilarious self, and Grim is even more mysterious than usual but what I loved the most is that Meghan is slowly growing more confident in herself. There were also some new developments with some old characters and I really liked where everything went. Everything tied together so well.

Do I even need to say anything about the plot? If you have read either of the first two books, you know it never drags. (And if you haven’t read the first two, what is wrong with you?) I swore to myself I would read just one more chapter and that chapter turned into the last 200 or so pages of the book. Needless to say, I didn’t get any homework done while reading this one. =)

Overall, I highly recommend going out and getting your hands on a copy of this book, like NOW! The Iron Knight just shot to the top of my list of books to get my hands on.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa | Review

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa | ReviewThe Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 1, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 359
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

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SPOILER  ALERT:  If you haven’t read The Iron King, do not read this review!

I honestly did not think that The Iron Daughter could be better than The Iron King but it was.  I absolutely adore the characters and the world that Julie Kagawa has created.  This trilogy is one of my all time favorites.

Meghan Chase is stuck in the Unseelie Court and she is alone.  Ash has abandoned her and she has nobody else to turn to.  Things seem to be at there worst but they aren’t.  Not yet.  They get worse when the Scepter of the Seasons is stolen by the Iron fey and they pin it on the Summer court.  With a war brewing Meghan must set things right.  But how can she save the faery realm when nobody believes her about the Iron fey and her allies have become enemies?

First off, I am still team Ash!  I just thought I had to say that.  In The Iron Daughter Ash has some pretty bad moments but his good ones far outweigh them.  I did like seeing more of Puck but it’s too late now to sway me.  Both the guys were fierce and protective and awesome but Ash was overall the best.  They weren’t the only ones who were back though.  Grimalkin was back and more mysterious than ever.  There were also a ton of new characters introduced and I can’t wait for more of them in the next book.

The action in this one was fantastic.  There was always something going on and I loved it.  The best thing about the action in this one is that Meghan was more involved.  She panicked sometimes but she seemed to take control a little more and I love strong heroines like her.  The Iron Daughter was so hard to put down and I’m sad that I finished it so quickly.  I just had to know how things would turn out and they didn’t turn out at all as I expected.  =]

Overall, The Iron Daughter is the absolute best sequel to The Iron King that there could be.  This is not one of those series that gets worse but one that gets even better.  The wait for The Iron Queen is going to kill me though.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa | Review

The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa | ReviewThe Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 1, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 363
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
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5 Stars

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.

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I have read many tales of faery. In fact, I am kind of tired of them so I didn’t expect to like The Iron King. And I didn’t like it. I loved it! Julie Kagawa has taken readers past the usual and straight into a world of the fantastical.

Meghan Chase has always had trouble fitting in at school and at home. It seems like people just forget about her. All except for her best friend Robbie Goodfell. On her sixteenth birthday Meghan begins to realize why. She is not human. She is in fact the daughter of a faery king and someone in the faery world has kidnapped her little brother. She must save him and to do that she needs the help of her best friend, Robbie, and his worst enemy, Ash, prince of the Winter court. The only problem is, as the journey goes on, Ash doesn’t seem as icy as he first appeared.

TEAM ASH! No offense to Puck but he just holds no appeal for me. Ash was sexy and mysterious and kind of heartbroken. I didn’t like him at first because he seemed cruel but as the book went on I got to see the other side of him and I fell in love. Puck was cute and funny but more in a brotherly kind of way. Meghan seemed to look at him like he was always going to be there but their relationship wouldn’t change. I liked them all but Ash was the best. Maybe even better than Meghan. Don’t get me wrong, Meghan was great but I would have liked her to be a little more fierce. She always relied on Ash or Puck to get her out of bad situations but maybe in the next book that will change.

The characters in the book were great but they weren’t the best. The creatures of the faery world were the absolute best. They were super creepy and scary but some of them were kind of funny. I liked the mix of creatures and no two seemed alike. I also liked how Julie Kagawa incorporated the characters from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but then brought in futuristic stuff. It wasn’t a retelling though because there was nothing about The Iron King that wasn’t completely unique.

Overall, if you can’t tell from my praise-filled review, I loved The Iron King. Faery tale lovers everywhere will enjoy this one. =]