Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Oh, Richelle Mead, how you like to toy with my emotions. The third book in each of Mead’s series is always a full-on emotional rollercoaster. Usually with big time heartbreak, emotional upheaval and life-altering events. With Iron Crowned, she didn’t leave me in tears but with my jaw dropped followed by muttering “Oh. My. God” repeatedly. Even though I saw part of the big event coming, I sure didn’t see the fallout. You will be shocked. You will be angry. You will say “I never liked [???]“. And you will love Mead all the more for it.
Iron Crowned begins right where we left off with Thorn Queen, with Eugenie and Dorian united in war against the Rowan Queen. The two take turns being with the soldiers on the battlefield, which means they alternate being exhausted. As much as Eugenie would like to see this resolved peacefully, the Rowan Queen’s terms involve giving up entirely and being married off to some cousin. Not happening. That’s when she learns of the Iron Crown. An ancient relic that is near impossible to obtain because the trials one must use to get to it include passing through iron mines, which can be deadly to gentry. While she doesn’t fully get why some stupid crown would scare the pants off everyone, she has to try.
Jasmine backs Eugenie in the war, because she says no one can treat the Storm King’s daughter like that. Somehow the two become almost close. And, I have to admit, I really like her. For a 15-year-old she gives Eugenie the best advice. Of course, since it’s Eugenie, she ignores it.
Eugenie is like a good friend. You see her making choices you disagree with, but she seems to confident you’re willing to go along. And then you feel bad because you didn’t warn her, “Honey, that’s going to blow up in your face.” Or, more importantly, “That guy’s a douche bag. You can do way better.” (Actually, both Jasmine and her demonic minion tell her that one fairly often.) And maybe that’s part of what makes Iron Crowned so tense. You can sense the trouble brewing, but push past it because of our heroine’s confidence.
I don’t want to spoil the events of this one — it’s full of big turns — but I’ll tell you the things I know you want to know. Yes, you’ll see Kiyo again. Yes, there will be big drama relationship drama. Yes, Eugenie becomes more tied to the Otherworld, but don’t expect her to give up on her human roots. (I don’t think that last part will ever happen.) Yes, there is a cliffhanger.
Finally, the big shocker at the end floored me. I want to know if you saw it coming. How’d you react? Hit me up on Twitter @VampBookClub to chat in detail. If you want to talk about plot points in the comments that’s OK if you make sure to note it as a spoiler nice and big to give others the option to skip it. Please don’t ruin this one for others. You know those OMG moments are important.
Sexual content: Sex, but not as much as previous novels. Adults only.