Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them. That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for. Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.
Paperback, 379 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Three and a half stars: A return to the Nevernever with a strong new voice.
Ethan shoulders his backpack, ready to face a new school. It isn't his fault the redcaps chased him into the library and set fire to it at his last school. Ethan has spent the last few years peering into dark corners wary of the fey that lurk there. He returned to the mortal realm retaining his ability to see the fey. He avoids them at all cost, he knows just how deadly they can be. Ethan is also angry that Meghan disowned her family. He misses his big sister and is furious at the one who lured her away. Now, he is on his own trying to fight the monstrous fey and lead a somewhat normal life. Unfortunately, his first day of school is a fiasco. He runs across bullies picking a fight with a boy who just happens to be half-fey. He steps in and rescues him, only to find that Todd has been making deals with the fey. When Todd is kidnapped by the mysterious ghostly fey, Ethan feels obligated to journey to the one place he swore he would never visit again: The Nevernever. Will Ethan survive his journey to the Nevernever?
What I Liked:
- As always, I am never disappointed in the world building when picking up a Kagawa book, and this book is no exception. Once again, I was on a trip back to the Nevernever, a land that is always deadly, exciting and unexpected. I enjoyed tromping through the world of the fey with my favorite guide Grimalkin. If you have yet to experience Ms. Kagawa's masterful world building talent, do yourself a favor and check out one of her books.
- I appreciated that this time around I was presented with a strong, courageous voice in Ethan Chase. I admit, I was not the biggest fan of Meghan Chase in The Iron Fey Series. She is very emotional and often bursting into tears, but thankfully by the end of her journey she grows into a strong and capable young lady. Ethan is fierce and strong from the get go, and I liked that he was decisive and not prone to crying fits. I also liked that he is edgy and angry. I know fans of Meghan may be disappointed in Ethan because he is the complete opposite, but I personally enjoyed him.
- I was especially thrilled to find that this one is without the annoying love triangle. I was not sure what to expect since the Iron Fey Series has a very famous love triangle, but thankfully this refrains. Ethan is one of those characters who is closed off and afraid to let anyone get close to him for fear of reprisals from the fey. Luckily for him, Kenzie is plucky and determined to wiggle her way into his heart whether he likes it or not. This book features a slow blooming romance, just the way I like them.
- I was delighted to see some of my favorite familiar faces come tromping through the pages of this book. The Queen of the Exiles is always ready to strike a deadly bargain, and Grimalkin appears and disappears with plenty of bored comments that make me smile. Seriously, Ms. Kagawa should write an entire book from Grimalkin's view. Puck, Ash and Meghan also have small scenes, but not enough for my taste, especially when it comes to Puck. Keep in mind that this is not another story involving the old trio, it is an entirely new adventure with Ethan and company.
And The Not So Much:
- As much as I loved returning to the Nevernever this book was missing a bit of something. Perhaps for me it was Puck's jocular antics. I adored how Puck lightened up the mood in the previous series and I was looking forward to more of the same, but Puck's role is very small in this one, and a trip to the Nevernever without a heavy dose of Puck sarcasm just isn't the same.
- The other big disappointment for me was the ending. It isn't a cliffhanger but it pretty much just leaves you hanging... wondering exactly what is going on with The Forgotten. One thing I liked about the Iron Fey Series was that each book resolved and left me satisfied. After finishing this one, I though that is it?
- I struggled a little bit with Ethan's decision to journey into the Nevernever to save Todd. It is very clear that Ethan has no patience for Todd and wants nothing to do with him and his interaction with the fey. So I was a bit surprised when Ethan goes to the Nevernever hoping to save him. I don't think it was enough motivation for him to return back to the place he swore he would not visit again. Though it was noble of him, he hardly knew Todd and hadn't spent enough time with him to justify trying to save him especially knowing how far Ethan goes to avoid the fey.
- I was disappointed that Meghan didn't have a bigger role. Mainly because Ethan is very angry at her for abandoning him and he harbors animosity toward Ash for stealing her away. I was expecting some steps toward resolving those feelings and repairing their relationship, but Meghan's part in the book is so small it doesn't allow for this. I am guessing since it was such a big theme in this book that it will happen in the next.
- I also had a hard time with Kenzie jumping right into the world of the fey and having the pants scared off from her numerous time, but yet time and time again when given the opportunity to return to safety she insists on staying with Ethan, someone she just met. I felt that Ethan's relationships with Kenzie and Todd were too new and fragile to warrant Ethan's reactions and Kenzie's stubborn determination to stick with him, even after her big secret is revealed.
Fans of Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey Series should be for the most part thrilled with this new spin off series. A trip to the Nevernever always proves to be exciting and dangerous with plenty of interesting characters along the way. Once again, a new species of Fey, The Forgotten, threaten the foundation of the Nevernever, and it is up to Ethan to put a stop to it. If you enjoy solid world building and fantasy adventures you should check out Ms. Kagawa's books. You can certainly pick this up without having read The Iron Fey Books, but of course, having read them will only enhance your experience.
"He told me not to put your trust in only your eyes. That to truly see, sometimes you had to put your faith in the invisible things."
"I would not worry about that, mortal. No one ever leaves the Nevernever completely sane."
"Unless you want to find yourselves in a dragon's lair or on the wrong side of a witch's bargain, it's never a good idea to annoy the cat."
A big thanks to Harlequin Teen for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.