Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: young-adult, supernatural
Series: The Iron Fey: The Call of the Forgotten #1
Pages: 375 (Nook ARC edition)
Published: expected October 23 2012
Source: publishers via NetGalley
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’s 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 myths and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.
The Lost Prince was exactly what I hoped it would be. I devoured it entirely in just one day, unable to stop myself because I was having such a good time back in this unique world, filled with cait sith (and one of my favorite fictional felines of all time -- Grimalkin!), human struggle, humor, and magic. Another winner for this strong author, this series is off to a great start.
"I've also spoken with a talking cat, fought a dragon, and watched the Iron Kingdom light up at night. I've seen a faery queen, climbed the towers of a huge castle, flown on a giant metal insect, and made a deal with a legend." - The Lost Prince, p. 244 (ARC)
This book just seals it: I am a a Julie Kagawa fangirl. While I didn't loooove the first two Iron Fey books about Meghan, or her vampire post-apocalyptic dystopia The Immortal Rules, between reading The Iron Knight and The Lost Prince, I find myself in firmly stuck fangirl territory. I am am totally okay with it -- this is an author that continues to grow, and improve, and one that can consistently entrench me in her vivid imagination, realistic characters, and fabulous worldbuilding. I will read anything this woman writes because she just does it so well across the board; her skills in action scenes, big reveals, and in conveying pure emotion are among the best of young-adult authors, and never fail to make me care intensely about her cast of fey, humans, and cats. It's a wonderful thing, to have a new Julie Kagawa novel, and I can only hope that The Traitor Son (ominous title is ominous), book two in this well-crafted spinoff series, isn't too long in the offing.
The Lost Prince is a thoroughly fun, consistently action-packed, and involving read - one that builds on the fey and mortal worlds established so well in the previous four novels about Kagawa's unique Iron Fey, but is ultimately also a novel that can stand firmly on its own two feet. Reading the first four would be helpful in understanding some of what goes on here (and with the reasons for Ethan's major 'tude problems) and the backstory, but is not really required to get the full picture of this first in a spinoff series. The protagonist of the novel, Ethan Chase, is very different type of person than his sister was in her arc of books. Whereas Meghan is nice, occasionally obsessive about boys, and outgoing, Ethan has a host of issues and has no problem being a bastard. While it took me a while to warm up to this bitter, self-loathing character, and eventually, charminly arrogant main character, the first person POV does a world of good in establishing who he is, how he thinks, and most importantly, why is the way he is. His inner monologue shows how well-rounded he is, his unresolved issues with his sister's abandonment leaves him alone, resentful, angry, scared, and he thinks, unsafe. His maturation and evolution as a person is subtle and well-handled; the Ethan Chase of the final pages is vastly different from the one in the first chapter.
Another thing I like immensely about this prolific author is how inventive she allows herself to be with her novels and creatures. She didn't just create the concept of a new kind of fey once before with the Iron fey (as opposed to the two traditional ones: Seelie and Unseelie), but does so again here with the idea of the Forgotten. New ideas are spun off of old ones, new plots, new dangers, new concrete characters -- all are covered ably and well by this seasoned author. From individual characterization to the Hit-People-With-Sticks action scenes, this is a woman who can write, and be starkly original while doing so. I've read a lot of fey/fae/fairy novels, and not once does the work of this author seem derivative, or really, anything but her own creation. The Forgotten fey, in all their creepy forms and facets (the cat-thing! The piranha goblins with mouths in their hands! The tall thin ones with knives for fingers!) are as creative and new as the Iron fey were back in the first series.
Fans of her first series Nevernever novels will find a lot more to enjoy in the new trio of Ethan, Kenzie, and Keirran. While they might not be quiiiite as charismatic as the first group of Ash, Puck, and Meghan, they have several more books and hundreds of pages to live up to that high standard. And I fully believe that they can and will, ominous promises and behaviors permitting. And an added bonus, there is no love-triangle between them to
If I am going to complain about anything, it's that some ideas and sentences were used a bit repetitively throghout the nearly 400-page length, and that Ash/Puck/Meghan weren't nearly around enough to satisfy my need to read more about them. (Four books and several novellas will never sate my love for Ash.<3) I know this is Ethan's arc and not his sister's, but I can always use more time with Robin Goodfellow, the Winter Prince, and the Iron Queen.
Fans of Julie Kagawa will love this. Readers looking for strong characters and fun plots will find a lot to enjoy about The Lost Prince. All in all, this is one of the strongest spinoff novels I've ever had the pleasure to read, and excuse my fangirling, but I love it to pieces after just one read. If you love or even like any of Julie Kagawa's previous novels, do yourself a favor and pick this one up as soon as you can. It's a winner, and it's damn fun to read.