This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.
Well, well, look who's back. It's Meghan Chase's little brother, Ethan, and as you can see from the cover, he's all grown up now. This book is the first in a spin-off from The Iron Fey series. Meghan is the Iron Queen, married to Ash, and her formerly sweet baby brother is now an angsty teen. His angst is not without cause. Ethan hasn't seen Meghan in years, and he feels abandoned by his sister. But she's busy ruling her kingdom in the Nevernever, and every journey she takes to the mortal world puts Ethan at risk of attack by evil faeries. So Meghan stays away, and Ethan stews and develops a bit of a bad-boy reputation. He tries to stay invisible at school, but a plucky Lois Lane-type, Kenzie, won't leave him alone. Ethan learned a terrible lesson about what can happen when he tries to get close to someone, so he pushes Kenzie away. But the more he pushes, the more determined she becomes to crack his protective shell.
Ethan has bigger problems than Meghan or Kenzie, though. As one of the few humans who can see the Fae, Ethan learns that half-fae and exiled fae have been disappearing, and evil fae seem to be swirling around in greater numbers, threatening him. Ethan is instructed to visit the Nevernever to warn his sister. Against Ethan's wishes, Kenzie comes with him.
I loved seeing some of my favorite characters from the Iron Fey books pop here - Grim is his usual cheerful self. (We even get an "I am a cat.") Of course, Ash and Puck are here, and Leanansidhe gets her share of fun, slightly sinister lines. There are some new characters who will clearly play a big role in future books, including one who will be as much of a surprise to readers as he was to Ethan.
Ethan and Kenzie started out a bit like stock characters, but as the story progressed, they each brought out new facets in the others. Kenzie manages to chip away at Ethan's walls, and Ethan eventually learns what drives Kenzie's seeming recklessness.
This series can be read even if you haven't read The Iron Fey series. But if you haven't, you're missing out on pieces of Julie Kagawa's beautiful fantasy world. This spin-off is a great start to an new series, and I'm looking forward to more of Ethan's and Kenzie's exploits, and I hope to see a lot more of the mystery character I mentioned above.