The Iron King: The Iron Fey, Book 1

Book review by
Julie A. Carlson, Common Sense Media
The Iron King: The Iron Fey, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Magical fantasy blends science, magic, and Shakespeare.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Iron King presents readers with the good and bad sides of scientific and technological innovation: The world of the Nevernever is slowly being eaten away by technology, pollution and global warming, a fact author Kagawa weaves subtly into the narrative. Technology brings human progress but also imprisons people; it's causing the fairy folk of A Midsummer Night's Dream (which some readers may be inspired to check out) to be forgotten and lost. The Iron King also shows the environmental issues caused by the Industrial Revolution.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about the importance of friendship, trusting others and believing in yourself, helping your family and taking care of your relatives, being a good Samaritan and taking the high road, putting yourself before others, and standing up for yourself. Also, recognizing that you always have a choice, and trying to make the right ones.

Positive Role Models

The Iron King has some villainous characters, but many others are positive and good-hearted. Meghan Chase is smart, quick-thinking, and loyal to a fault. At school she's bullied by her classmates, but has her friend, Robbie, to rely on. She loves her younger brother, Ethan, and will do anything to get him back. She's brave and doesn't back down from a challenge. Even when her feelings get hurt, l she keeps her head on her shoulders and doesn't let fear or sadness overtake her. Robbie's a prankster, but he loves her and wants to protect her. Fearless, brave, and sexy Prince Ash of the Unseelie Court also takes care of Meghan.


The Iron Fey includes hand-to-hand combat, sword fighting, and monsters who kill other monsters and mythical creatures with weapons, with their fists and feet, or by devouring them. There's lots of bloodshed.


Mild flirting, caressing, kissing on lips, shoulders, and cheek.


"Bitch," "ass," "f--k," "damn," "dammit," "bastard," "s--t" and variants, "crap." Also name-calling: "idiot," "freak," "stupid."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Meghan consumes a mystical drink and food that aren't alcoholic, but do have intoxicating effects. She mentions that she has drunk alcohol before, but under adult supervision.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Iron King, first book in the highly acclaimed New York Times best-selling Iron Fey series, has likable, heroic characters, and dastardly villains. Teen Meghan Chase goes in search of her younger brother, who's been spirited away to the fairytale world of A Midsummer's Night Dream. The story includes hand-to-hand combat, sword fighting, monsters, bullying, and cruelty to people, animals, and magical creatures. Some crude language, including "f--k," "s--t" and variants, "damn" and variants, "crap," "bastard," and other name calling. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byThankfulmom May 24, 2021

Expanded World of A Midsummer Night's Dream

This is a fun read grown from the seed of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The beginning is part creepy, part realistic fiction but then ful... Continue reading
Adult Written byHannah Jones February 21, 2020

The Iron King

This book would be for older grade kids, great read. A lot of cussing though.
Teen, 13 years old Written byGwen904 May 9, 2018

Lame, flat, and boring

The amount of swearing utterly horrified me. There were f-bombs and plenty of b-words and sh-words. I don't understand why CSM rated it so high. There was... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bykraylio17 January 6, 2021

What's the story?

In THE IRON KING, first in a seven-book series that also spawned spin-off tales, the fey kidnap Meghan Chase's younger brother, Ethan. Meghan, who's always felt out of place in the human world, takes the plunge into the Nevernever to rescue her brother. There she meets friends and enemies, including a dangerous, sexy prince. Once she realizes why Ethan's been abducted and what it has to do with her, Meghan's life turns upside down, and she has more choices to make.

Is it any good?

Magical and heartfelt, The Iron King is a thrilling tale told in gorgeous language. Once Meghan steps into the world of the Nevernever, readers won't want to leave. Fans of Harry Potter and other exciting fantasy stories will thoroughly enjoy this book, in which characters are well developed, with their own unique personalties. Meghan's a terrific protagonist readers will root for till the cliffhanging end. They'll also enjoy Puck's humor and tricks, Prince Ash's grace and romantic charm, and Meghan's dealings with fantastic adversaries.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the idea that "you always have a choice." Do you agree or disagree? What do you think of Meghan's choices?

  • Have you read A Midsummer Night's Dream? Do you prefer the characters as they appear in Shakespeare, or in The Iron King? How are they different, or the same? 

  • What do you think about humans being so reliant on technology? What about global warming and climate change?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Fantasy and romance

Themes & Topics

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