THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa (spoiler alerts)

The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)TOP SHELF RATING

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny–one she could never have imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth– that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

The first book of the Iron King series takes you from the real world to the faery world in a dramatic, whirlwind turn of events.  Meghan always feels out-of-place living with her mother, step-father and half-brother.  When she starts seeing odd creatures on her 16th birthday, the secret she never knew she had, starts to unravel.  It all comes to light when her 4-year-old half-brother is kidnapped by a fey from the Nevernever (faery land).

Her best-friend turns out to be the faery prankster, Puck.  He uncovers her secret in order to help her rescue her brother.

Meghan soon learns that her true father is the Seelie king, Oberon.  Her life becomes one big mess of political schemes and evading those who wants her dead.  With the help of Puck the prankster & Ash the Unseelie Prince, she sets out to find her brother.  Ash only agrees to help her if she willingly goes to the Unseelie court when they finish.

Iron comes to play within the story as the technology of the real world leaks into the faery world, consuming the world with its power.  The Fey are extremely sensitive to the iron effects on their body’s.  The longer they are around iron, the more it consumes them till they are dead.  After Puck receives a near-fatal wound, he falls into a healing slumber.  Meghan and Ash continue on the mission towards the iron kingdom to find her brother.

Along the way, Meghan develops feelings for Ash and vice/versa.  Or so she thinks.

In the end, they rescue her brother and she concedes to follow Ash to the Unseelie court.

I absolutely loved this book.  It kept my attention to the end and made me crave the 2nd book even more.  I loved the interaction between Meghan and Puck.  It was playful and comfortable.  When Meghan starts to develop feelings for Ash, their relationship is full of tension and barely hidden attraction.  Meghan is a strong, willed teenage girl who appears older than she really is.  The decisions she has to make are well beyond her 16 years.  But she handles them with more grace than the age-old Fey royalty, including her father Oberon.

I absolutely recommend this book as well as the other books in this series.