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KB

The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

Currently reading

Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci
The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1) - Julie Kagawa Well, that was mighty unimpressive.I'd seen this series mentioned several times, but I never really thought about reading it. The premise was, sorry, just like any other girl-with-secret-destiny-and-two-hot-guys book out there, and I've read enough of those to be weary of sneaky marketing. But then I read Kagawa's "The Immortal Rules", and I admit, I was impressed, even if I thought the book had problems. So I picked this series up.Um...Well, first of all, I think that this is probably going to be one of those books where personal preference can make it or break it. I'm pretty sure that most people would like it - it's competently written, Megan is a proactive character, and the story is engaging.That said, this book contains three of my biggest pet peeves in fiction, YA or any other, and I cannot overcome them. Pet peeve #1: Treating your readers like idiots. I don't think that one was intentional, but oh, do I hate it when authors throw some pretty obvious hints at you and then, near the end of the book, have their point-of-view-character react to it like it's some huge reveal. Case in point: Puck and Ash fight all the time. They drop references about a grudge match, about someone dying, and about that someone being female. And then Megan is shocked, all-caps-SHOCKED, dramatic-kitty-gif-SHOCKED, that Ash had a girlfriend once. Really, Megan? Did you really have to have him spell it out for you? You couldn't piece it on your own, so you had to make him revisit a painful memory in detail so that he would explain to you something which the reader has known for 150 pages? Ash is so obvious about it, I expected to hear "Bring me to Life" whenever he made an entrance. Pet peeve #2: Cutesy child characters. This one wasn't so prominent here as it was in, say, Eve, but still, Ethan wasn't so much a character as he was a handy plot device to get the plot going. I get it that he wasn't with Megan, so there was no way to witness character development from him, but he could have been built up through his sister's memories of him instead. Alas, that doesn't happen. Megan thinks of her brother only in terms of having to save him and that's it - she doesn't revisit many memories of the two of them together, doesn't waver a moment in her determination... which more or less tells me that Kagawa doesn't know how to write something like that.Sibling relationships are not nice: they're rocky, especially if one of the kids is young. There is a constant rivalry going on for the parents' attention and approval. There is anger and resentment and pure frustration. We don't love our brothers and sisters because they're speshul snowflakes to the family, we love them in spite of it. A brother-sister relationship devoid of all feelings but love is frustrating and unrealistic, and reduces Ethan to the role of a plot device, and an emotionally manipulative one, since he's so young.And speaking of emotionally manipulative... Pet peeve #3: Attempted rape bringing people together. I linked this article in my review of Storm, but it bears repeating because it made me more aware than ever of how authors employ this particular construct. Kagawa doesn't pad the scene out like Meyer does - it's less than a page long, but it is used in The Iron King for the exact same purpose as in Twilight: to put the romantic leads in an emotionally vulnerable position that will bring them closer together.Authors? Please stop doing that. There are better ways to have your characters interact and grow to like each other. I get it that there is a short period of time, but it wouldn't kill you to postpone romantic development until the second or third book in a series. Rushed romance only tells me that you don't have your priorities straight.Furthermore, I can't buy Ash and Megan's "love" if all they have together is a handful of near-death experiences. I'm not surprised so many people are shipping Megan with Puck - at least there's enough set-up and backstory to those two. I hear that the story becomes better in later books, but what I've seen so far doesn't make me inclined to pick them up. If someone can change my mind, please, do so in the comments. If not, I think I'll leave that particular offering of Kagawa's for now.