Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead
or: eh? Wait what just happened?
Synopsis: Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham is the best at banishing entities trespassing in the mortal realm. But as the Thorn Land’s queen, she’s fast running out of ways to end the brutal war devastating her kingdom. Her only hope: the Iron Crown, a legendary object even the most powerful gentry fear…Who Eugenie can trust is the hardest part. Fairy king Dorian has his own agenda for aiding her search. And Kiyo, her shape-shifter ex-boyfriend, has every reason to betray her along the way. To control the Crown’s ever-consuming powers, Eugenie will have to confront an unimaginable temptation–one that will put her soul and the fate of two worlds in mortal peril…
The third book in the Dark Swan Series, this book had to deliver a lot. After a stellar second book, my expectations were high. This book left me… well, kind of at a loss.
Don’t get me wrong, Mead’s skill hasn’t diminished… it’s just that the story is starting to feel a little far fetched now. And the major plot twist of this story? Predictable.
I was most looking forward to the Iron Crown in this book; hello, a super magical crown, that no one else can touch, with cosmic power? HELL YEAH. Mead promised a quest for this and I was kind of tricked into thinking that it would take up a good portion of the book… No. It lasted for three chapters if you were lucky. It was so anti-climatic it was almost funny. The monsters weren’t scary- just recycled from Greek mythology. Easily disposed of and not much of a road block. Then the only other two obstacles? Dull. Boring. Unsatisfying.
I wanted to see Eugenie kick major ass here but she was given zero opportunity to by Mead, who just rushed this section beyond belief. This could have potentially been the defining moment of the series… but it so wasn’t. Mead missed this opportunity totally. In fact, Mead seemed so focused on making this book about a love triangle that I was kind of disappointed. Mead is usually so skillful in this area and this kind of seemed… not her best work. At all.
Eugenie had minimal character development, as did Kiyo (his major character change was so predictable you could see it from a mile away). In fact the shining light of this book? Jasmine. Eugenie’s f-ing sub plot villain! I actually like Jasmine now which is both surprising and quite frankly, alarming.
On Goodreads, I gave this book 4 stars after I finished, partly because I was confused, and partly because I didn’t give myself time to think about what was bugging me about the book. I now give this book 3 stars. But Ashleigh, you just complained about it, why are you giving 3 stars? Because even with the problems in this book, there were some parts I really liked.
I really liked how Mead summed up and wrapped up the war. Nicely and neatly done. Could she have spent some more time describing battles and have Eugenie more apart of her own war? Yes. But am I mad she didn’t? No not really. It kind of fits Eugenie’s flighty character to not be so involved in her own problems. The storming of the castle part though was excellent, and was the type of scene and world building that should have made up the rest of the book. In order not to spoil it for anyone, I ultimately think Mead made the right decision on certain characters’ fate.
Now, lets move to the elephant in the room. The love triangle. I’ve always been Team Dorian. I think he’s a better fit for Eugenie, and I think Kiyo is just a dramatic element created to make problems. Now I’m sure there are others who would certainly disagree with me, but this isn’t the place for battling for either team, as I’m not sure I really care about the outcome. In the second book, I much preferred the dynamic between the three and much preferred how Eugenie acted with Dorian. I think Eugenie’s strengths as a character come through when paired with Dorian; she’s less whiny, more focused and doesn’t have those annoying wank fests about where she ‘belongs’. Because this book was all about her break up with Dorian, i’m sure it’s obvious what my sentiments are.
I don’t like Kiyo and finally, the end of this book has justified why. Was it predictable? Oh most definitely. Am I pissed of that the thing happened with Kiyo? Hell to the yes. Has Mead set up enough drama to validate the presence of the next book? Yes. Can I predict how the series is going to end? Yes. It’s going to shock me if things don’t occur the way that it makes sense to.
All in all, I’m sure it’s fairly obvious I’m rather disenchanted by this book. Mead seems to have slipped up here. The reason? I think it’s because this is a back up series that was written in-between Mead writing for her main focus; Bloodlines and Vampire Academy. I understand why this one is kind of sub-par- you have to run out of creativity eventually while you’re perfecting your best work. I’m glad her focus was on Bloodlines and Vampire Academy because she did her best and they were perfect but that’s another post entirely and I wont wank on about them here.
I will inevitably read the final book in this series. Mainly because I’m weirdly curious how much more dramatic it can get, and mainly because I want to get proven right by how it’s going to end. It’s a book, however, that’s been seriously bumped down the list because of all the other books I’d prefer to read first. I will eventually get there though i’m sure.
Read: Australian Paperback Edition (New Cover)