Its no secret that I completely hate “The Eternity Cure” and really do think that was this year’s piece of crap ever written by a YA fantasy author I love (as if there wasn’t any katana-wielding japanese vampire in existence in fiction or Will Smith’s “I Am Legend”). Luckily Julie didn’t disappoint me with this sequel to The Lost Prince. I never knew how an author who could craft a rich complicated world-building with action and great visual description, believable romance and interesting characterizations to craft a sad case of dystopian vampire romance novel which only have several synonyms to describe a vampire tower and a paper thin Asian girl with no personality at all with an even boring stunted pointless dialogues.
That is why I’m confused by stark differences between Iron Fey series and Blood of Eden series like someone magically change their good writing style overnight. Along with this book, I get to the part where it said “If you love Julie Kagawa’s writing you’ll love “The Forever Song” and there that excerpt to the next installment. Honey, I dont expect it to be exactly the same story but its by the same author who wrote up beloved Puck and Ash and Ethan with all their funny and serious moments that made me laugh and cry along with them and all I read was Terminator-like passive characterization and dark bad noirish setting with one liners and brick movements. When you read Julie Kagawa describing a frozen deeply enchanting forest, it is Narnia-level of magical where you can feel the cold to the bones just as ice shards flying in the air and piercing through a body and the cries of pain followed and you instinctively wince along with that. Then suddenly I was plonked into a story where there’s nothing but darkness with limited vocabulary describing the night as if Van Gogh didn’t paint “The Starry Night” or as if there wasn’t a bland futuristic cities with blank description of corpses littering on the ground stories I could count by hand. And there’s that countless attempts to dress up paper cut all-in-black vampiric Mr Anderson characters imitating “Blade” the vampire superhero.
Ethan have his own deep prejudices against the fey and the story flow out as you read it through. That’s the point of having a new narrating first POV character. You get explore the world and learn new things as you go on and suffer through obstacles that seems impossible but your stupid character still do it anyway. That is good storytelling technique by the way. You even get the shared traits with Meghan and Ash in the earlier Iron Fey series when they fought against the impossible for their family and then for their love. That is also what drive Kierran in this book when he would do anything and even everything for the one he love and even if he’s too stupid to realize the consequences of his action. If everything goes easily for the characters, it wouldn’t make a good reading and a waste of my time.
The Iron Traitor is laced with people with multiple motivations with their own personalities and their own characterizations, their secrets and in fiction, that was a simulation of reality. You make fictional characters believable since you use them as a device to continue on to the end. Ethan have his own history with the fey, Kenzie with her own determination to live out her life fully even on borrowed time, we learn more about Annwyl as Ethan help her trying to save Kierran from crazy stunts to save her life and the part where Annwyl had to remember Kierran to stay alive and not fade out of existence. That is beautiful and poetic and even their interactions are memorable and quotable. Not to mention, there’s Grimalkin and Razor too! Seriously when was a sarcastic Cheshire cat and a cute Dalek-like gremlin doesn’t stick on you like a stubborn cat meme begging for your attention.
I adore complicated world-buildings with complicated characterizations and complicated storylines. I could talk more and expand the story even more and it made any discussion intriguing and it made a series worthy as a series. I like it even more when the characters made a gigantic mistake and learn from it. That was what made reading enjoyable and unpredictable. Even as a stand-alone, Call of the Forgotten, it is fine to be read on its own as Ethan and Kenzie are both a ‘blank slate’ character like Rose Tyler or Amy Pond in Doctor Who. I didn’t even need a refresher and I haven’t reread Iron Fey series since 2011 and I get much out of the world-building easily. That is a sign of a good author. The Iron Traitor has managed to regain my faith in Julie Kagawa’s writings even after she completely destroyed it with her “Blood of Eden” series and I will wait in agony for the next book in this series and try to ignore the future call to review “The Forever Song” and its attempt to change my mind about it.
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.