Title: Iron Crowned (Dark Swan #3)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Bantam Books (UK) | Zebra (US)
Publication Date: March 2011 (UK | US)
Paperback: 378 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Own Copy

Reviewed by: Carolyn

RATING: 6/10 – good


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…


Iron Crowned” is the third instalment in the ‘Dark Swan’ series featuring Eugenie Markham by Richelle Mead, and after reading and thoroughly enjoying the first two novels (Storm Born and Thorn Queen respectively) I was hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case.

I will admit I really like Ms Mead as an author, and after reading the entire ‘Vampire Academy’ series back to back in the span of a week I became a total fan – the VA series cemented Ms Mead as one of my favourite authors.

However, I just couldn’t get on with “Iron Crowned“. The characters are just ok, the story is just ok and the world-building is just…ok. Nothing jumps off the page, it’s not particularly exciting although the second half of the book was a lot more interesting than the first.

One of the aspects I like most about this series is the main character, Eugenie. She has everything that a great kick-arse heroine should have. However, in this instalment Eugenie makes some seriously bad decisions in my opinion, and it made it very difficult to be sympathetic towards her, especially with regards to her relationships with Dorian and Kiyo. Her immaturity and badly judged choices regarding her love life were bad enough, but she acted like a petulant child and ignored her duties as the Queen of Thorn Land, which then led to the kidnapping of her sister, Jasmine.

Eugenie’s reasonings for her decisions just didn’t make any sense and at one point I really wanted to throw the book across the room. Her sense of betrayal and anger she feels by Dorian’s actions is warranted but getting back at him the way she did didn’t make her a sympathetic character, I would have preferred it if she had taken the high road.

War is looming and there’s unease among the different lands. Eugenie hears of the Iron Crown and is told that it could help prevent the war. The crown is said to be too difficult to find and the road traveled during the search is hard and long. It has only been achieved by one other – her father, everyone else has ended up dead. Eugenie is told that the trials and tribulations she will have to endure to get to the Iron Crown are brutal – it’s a suicide mission. Yeah baby! This is what I’m talking about; Trials! Tribulations! Fighting! And kick-arse action…

So, we follow Eugenie’s guest to find the Iron Crown, sadly it didn’t last long. In fact it was just breezy; a couple of large snake thingy’s – kapow! The need to jump through fire – easy peasy! I thought this was meant to be hard?! Of course we all know that Eugenies the chosen one, but come on, it could still have been a few chapters of sweat and grit. Most of the time the journey was just about Eugenie and Kiyo getting it on.

The tooing and froing between Kiyo and Dorian was also too much to bare. There is a passage where Dorian quips to Kiyo and it made me laugh and summed the situation up completely…

‘Oh,’ he said to Kiyo, voice completely devoid of emotion. ‘I see. It’s your turn again.’

Yes it was… and then it wasn’t…and then it was – make up your mind Eugenie!

As always Ms Mead keeps up with the action and the second half of the book is much more entertaining than the first, but there’s so much about the characters I didn’t like this time around. There’s of course a big climactic end that although wasn’t a surprise is certainly intriging. I’m very interested in how the story will pan out from here.

There are also far too many sex scenes in this urban fantasy than I would have liked and they are fairly explicit sex scenes too, some are overly descriptive – especially when it is Eugenie doing the pleasuring – way too much information!


Overall, “Iron Crowned” is an ok read, but it is disappointing. It felt as though Ms Mead was concentrating on her other series and just didn’t give this book the attention it needed. Although I don’t like the way the story is going, it won’t stop me reading the next book!

Also, a note about the covers: US edition – just yuck! UK edition – pretty, but this isn’t YA!
You can find out more about the author here:
Books in series order:
3. Iron Crowned

This book counts towards the following BCC reading challenges:


Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and coffee. Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!


Jules (The Great, The Good and The Bad) May 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Great review!


Laura Summers (BCC) May 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

:-( loved the first two in this series and already have this one on my Kindle for hols, I do still plan on reading it. Shame hate it when a character lets you down.

Totally agree on the US cover too – uck!


scooper May 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I totally agree with your review. I was very disappointed and angrier than the dickens. I did throw my book and couldn't sleep I was so mad. I'm done with the series. This book is a major departure from the first two books in the series. The first book was alright, but I adored book two. I expected book three to be even better, but I saw what was coming from a mile away and still get irate when I think about it.


Book Chick City May 21, 2011 at 6:47 am

Jules – Thanks! :)

Laura – Yes, I hate it when a book in a series just doesn't match expectations, but I just couldn't get on with this one and Eugenie just irritated the hell out of me! I will be interested in knowing what you think when you've read it.

Scooper – I'm glad I'm not the only one – I just got so fed up with Eugenie's crappy decisions and attitude, it didn't make for pleasurable reading. Although I didn't like this one as much as the others it won't stop me reading more in the series.


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