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’d 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 myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten. Quoted from Goodreads
First, spin-off series. I'm always a little leery about them. Sometimes I love them more then the first series. For example, the Percy Jackson books. I'm loving this second series more than the first one, partly because of the first one, of course, but partly because I think it's better. Then there are series (and I'm not going to name any names) where I want to say, enough already. The first series was amazing, but leave the world alone and come up with something new. For me, book was a mix of both, but absolutely more good than bad.
Second, spoilers. I'm sorry to keep doing this, but I'll probably give a few major things from the first series away in this review. I'll try not to, of course, but I'm sorry if you pick up on something you didn't want to know. Don't worry, I won't give this book away, but if you haven't read the first series, you should absolutely read those first. Plus, they're great.
Now, to the real review. I think the concept for this story is excellent. I loved the idea of the Iron Fae in Julie Kagawa's first series, and the idea of the Forgotten is equally good. She has a talent for building on stock ideas and expanding them to create something new, and I really appreciate that. Like the last series, this book is full of crazy creatures and places, plenty of action and that perfect hint of romance.
As for the characters, I loved Ethan Chase. Yes, he is no longer the little boy from the Iron Fae series. Twelve long years have passed (in human years anyway) and he is all grown up. Here's the thing, the plot of this book is similar to a lot of books out there, only we get the reverse, which I found really refreshing. There's a girl, who meets a boy. First he's a jerk, but also sort of beautiful, and for various reasons, she can't quite manage to stay away. Then one day he saves her life, and she discovers a magical world she never even new existed. Now they're off on an adventure together to save the world, and the more she learns about this mysterious, wounded boy, the more she falls in love with him.
Sound familiar? But the best part about this book, is we get that story from the boy's point of view. We know exactly what Ethan is thinking when he's a jerk, why he does it, and what all his mysterious secrets are. I'm not going to pretend that this would work in every series, but I found it delightful in this one.
Now for the other two main characters. First, I really liked Kenzie. Yes, she had her irritating moments, but overall I thought she was a fun character. While I expected her big reveal in the end, I think she rounded out their little group nicely. Now Kierran. Yeah, I'm going to have to jump on the bandwagon of disappointed fans. Don't get me wrong, there is a good chance I'll love him in the next book, but I think I had too many expectations going into this one.
Here's the problem. I love characters that vacillate between good and evil. I love the moral dilemma and the eventual redemption (hopefully) in the end. I was expecting a little bit of this based on Kagawa's earlier stories (especially Iron's Prophecy), or at least I expected to see the edge of the cliff in the distance. Maybe we were supposed to fall in love with him in this book, but I didn't really. It's not that he was bad by any stretch of the imagination. I liked him, but that was about it. We kind of get thrown into the middle of this star-crossed lover's thing, but I never felt the anguish. His love interest was sweet but sort of bland, and I never really connected with his story.
So to sum up, the concept, pacing and action was excellent. I really liked Ethan, and the other characters were fun, if not awe inspiring. I would have liked to see more of Megan, Ash, and Puck, but I realize this is a spin-off so I didn't mind their lack of presence. Mostly, this book was a solid 3.5 stars for me. I will absolutely keep reading the series, but for me, it doesn't quite match up to it's predecessor.