Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “No one ever leaves the Nevernever completely sane.
In the original Iron Fey series, we read the extraordinary story of Meghan Chase, the half breed Summer Princess, and her journey into Nevernever to save her kidnapped brother and secure her place as the Iron Queen. Her brother, Ethan, has suffered for his time spent in Nevernever. He hates the fey with a passion and his sister’s adoption of this world only seeks to further alienate him. His ability to see the fey has made him an outcast as he does everything humanly possible to keep the fey from noticing him. He accidently befriends a half breed whose sudden disappearance coincides with multiple half breed disappearances. Still not wanting to get involved with fey matters, he has no choice when he is attacked by a group of vapor like entities who warn him to stay out of fey business at the risk of his family’s and friends lives. He finds himself having to do the one thing he vowed he would never do. He travels to Nevernever to see his sister, the Iron Queen, and inform her of what is happening to the half breeds and exiled fey. Suddenly, Ethan is forced back into the world he despises, only this time, he has to save his family and the love of a girl he never expected to have.
The Lost Prince is a spin off of Julie Kagawa’s best selling Iron Fey series. Told from Meghan Chase’s sixteen year old brother’s point of view, Ethan Chase, we learn how his life has been since being kidnapped as a child by the fey. Ethan’s life has never been the same since that day. His struggles are heartbreaking as you realize that he feels abandoned by all he thought loved him. His parents have no idea how to help him and the one person who could, Meghan, no longer comes to visit him as it is not safe for him or their family. His ability to see the fey has hurt people he cares for and caused him to have to transfer schools at an alarming rate. Once a happy sociable boy, time and events have left Ethan angry, bitter, and cynical. Regardless of his choice to stay uninvolved, his innate loyalty and sense of right and wrong push him into situations that often leave him battered and further isolated. It is at his new school he meets a half breed named Todd and nosy school reporter named Kenzie. When Todd goes missing, Ethan and Kenzie are forced into Nevernever to ask for help and find Todd.
First off, I would recommend reading the novella, Iron’s Prophecy, before this as it forms a loose bridge between the two series and offers insight into certain scenes, characters, and attitudes we see in here. I’m often skeptical about spin offs. While I do want to read more of my favorite characters, sometimes spin offs run into the problem of merely regurgitating the original series. Similar story and plot lines are presented with minor changes. I enjoyed the Iron Prince in that I loved seeing old friends, meeting new friends, and submerging myself back into Kagawa’s dark and machiavellian world. I did note though that it follows a similar storyline in that our main protagonist enters a somewhat unfamiliar world, suffers and sacrifices for their loved ones and friends, and will ultimately have to choose their side in what seems to be a never ending battle. I am on the fence but very interested in seeing if this series can find its own path.
Once again Kagawa entertains us with her strong personable characters and the astounding dark and hauntingly sublime world that is an interesting mix of new, old and futuristic themes. Kagawa continues to evolve her characters and world in which they live. These dark uninhibited beings have lived thousands of years and any resemblance to humanity is merely wishful thinking on your part. Yet, the main conflict allows for a certain affection and tolerance to break through between Ethan and the fey. He is there to help and not all fey view humans as food or fodder. The dialog flows smoothly and enchants the reader while humorous and emotional scenes keep you emerged in the story.
“It…the branch…it tried to trip me, didn’t it?” she said, sounding incredulous and indignant all at once.
“Geez, not even the plant life is friendly. What did I ever do to it?”
Kenzie annoyed me at first. She’s very…persistent to the point of you wanting to gag her, tie her up, and toss her in a dumpster. But as time went on, I saw that she had to be this way in order to break through the thick shell that surrounds Ethan. She also has her own reasons for wanting to join Ethan on his quest. Reasons that leave us wondering at the direction her destiny will take in the future. I love seeing Puck and Grimalkin again, and of course, Ash and Meghan. We don’t see much of them, but then, their story has been told and the torch passed. We also meet and get to know a very important character to this new series-Keirran. If you’ve read the Iron Knight and/or the Iron Prophesy, then you’ll be very excited to finally make his acquaintance. Leanansidhe, the dark muse, continues to be one of my favorite characters. The Queen of the Exiles, she provides a safe place for the exiles and cast offs of the other fey courts. Temperamental yet whimsical…I predict she’ll have a strong presence in this series.
“This is my house….Don’t make me turn you into a whiny guitar.”
The main conflict and multiple subplots is where the story begins to stand on its own. Something is stealing the half breeds and soon we learn that what is forgotten is not necessary gone. A new player has entered the arena and has chosen to through down the gauntlet. An action packed ending leaves us both stunned and mystified as you’re not sure if our protagonists actually won or if there was anything to actually win. Deception and betrayal come back to haunt us of the feys duplicity and we are subtly reminded of open storylines from previous books.
While I wasn’t blown away by this new installment, the similarities are just too strong for me to ignore, I found myself intrigued enough to look forward to the next one in this series, The Traitor Son, to be released September 2013. I’m very curious to see Ms. Kagawa will take Ethan, Kenzie, and the inhabitants of Nevernever.
Overall Rating: C+