Book Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

September 12, 2012 at 12:21 am Leave a comment

Title: The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Faeries, Young Adult
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Review copy purchased in through BookDepository.

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

The Iron Daughter continues the story where The Iron King left off (or Winter’s Passage if you will), with Meghan being forced to go to the Unseelie Court of the Winter Queen Mab, and possibly suffer horrendeous torture at the hands of her father’s enemy. However, Meghan soon finds out that the vengeance of Queen Mab is the least of her worries, as one of the Unseelie Princes betrays his own kingdom, kills the heir to the Winter Throne, and reveals to be working for the Iron King. On top of all that, it appears that the Iron fey have got their hands on the Scepter of Seasons. Naturally, Mab believes Oberon has stolen the scepter, and decides to full-on attack him rather than believe her youngest son’s theory about the existence of Iron fey. Now Summer and Winter are at war, and it’s up to Ash and Meghan – again – to retreive the Scepter from the Iron fey, to settle the peace between the two Courts and to prevent an upcoming attack from the Iron fey.

The Iron Daughter is a solid, fast-paced adventure which, once again, showcases Julie Kagawa’s phenomenal world-building skills and her ability to make likeable, funny characters with distinct qualities and interesting personalities. I have to say that, after reading The Iron Daughter, I am even more impressed by Julie’s world-building skills. She crafts the Nevernever out of basically nothing (although slightly based on century-old stories about the faerie world like Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or based on well-known faerie lore) and she does so in a most amazing fashion. The world she creates is interesting, innovative, vast and at all times surprising. From the gorgeous palace of Summer Court to the icy fields of Winter and the iron dominating the Iron Kingdom, her world is ever-changing and evolving, growing if you may, much like a real world. As as the world she describes expands and grows, so do her characters.

Whereas in The Iron King I thought Puck was often portrayed as being a one-dimensional character with an uncomprehendable interest in Meghan’s welfare (he loves her…but why?), the habit of causing trouble to the point of his occassional duels with Icey Boy, we now see a whole new side of him. We discover why Puck loves Meghan, and how far he is willing to go to prove that point, and to protect her. He grows from a rather one-dimensional character to a three-dimensional person with his own fair share of fears, emotions and hopes. There’s a scene with Puck and Meghan in this book, that nearly made me jump over from Team Ash to Team Puck. I think it’s safe to say though that Julie Kagawa prefers Ash, since he gets more pages, and a lot more love through-out the series than Puck ever does. However, although I do root for Ash and Meghan to be the ‘endgame’ couple, as you may call it, I would like to see Puck and Meghan happen sometime, and I would like Puck to have a fair chance. It’s about time that Meghan seems him for who he really is – he is, after all, the one who betrayed his Kingdom for her, whereas Ash is still obeying Mab’s orders like a sad little puppy in the beginning of this novel.

Thank god and all the saints in heaven, that Grimalkin is back. Always ready to make a sly remark, or to humor us with his witty sarcasm towards feeble humans and love-struck faerieis. Without Grimalkin, The Iron Fey series would definately be a lot less interesting. If Grimalkin was a human, Puck and Ash wouldn’t stand a chance, and I’d be Team Grimalkin all the way. Too bad cats cannot miraculously change into human shape, or aren’t disguises for ordinary, but very powerful faeries. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to find a very nice-looking, equally charming female cat to accompany our beloved Grimalkin. I can only hope that he makes an appearance in The Iron Queen as well.

Prince Ash was trying so hard to be as icey and cold as always through-out the first part of this novel, and failed miserably every time. As I already stated in my review of The Iron King, I would have liked it if the relationship between Meghan and Ash had not blossomed so soon, and if they had gotten a bit more time to get to trust each other first. Kisses, embraces and other snuggling could have waited till this novel, in my opinion – and to be honest, for a Winter Prince, Ash really isn’t all that icey, hard-to-get or distant. I thought the visit to the Winter Prom at Meghan’s old school was particularly hilarious, especially with all the human girls swooning over Ash, and Meghan’s old crush inviting her to a party – for the first time in her life! However, I thought it was quite ridiculous as well. Really? Prince Ash needs a lot of glamour and suddenly everyone thinks about the Winter Prom? Why not just go to a club, or something? And why those ridiculous costumes? When the book mentioned that Ash was dressed in white – yes, white, oh the horror – with a coloured tie (I forgot the color, but it seemed insanely ugly at the moment) I thought I was either quite disturbed to imagine such things, or I had been transported to a very horrible alternate reality. Unfortunately for me, neither of these assumptions were true and indeed, Julie Kagawa, makes Ash look like the mere representation of everything a Winter Prince is NOT supposed to be. Thank god my imagination skills were powerful enough to imagine Ash in something else – a black suit, for instance.

I disliked Meghan in this novel. I liked her throughout Iron King, I liked her progress, how she gradually changed from an insecure and scared teenage girl into a real Summer Princess, filled with enough courage and determination to withstand even the Iron King. However, she seemed to have temporarily lost all her wit, charm, intelligence and courage in the first hundred-or-so pages of this book. Rather than worrying about her own well-being, or about finding a way out of the Winter Court – or anything to escape, for that matter – she is constantly weeping over the fact that Ash is treating her badly. What do you want the guy to do? Admit to the entire Court that he’s in love with a half Summer Princess, half human, most probably making both himself and Meghan the subject of Mab’s wrath by doing so? Although it sounds ridiculous, that appears to be exactly what Meghan wants. She’s even surprised when he calls her the ‘half blood’ or ‘human’ or says he doesn’t want anything to do with her, although he warned her time and time again in the Iron King and Winter’s Passage that he would have no choice but to treat her this way. Really Meghan, are you dense? Or have you watched too much Twilight, and decided to take on the role of Bella Swan for a change?

Luckily for us, Meghan loses her Bella Swan attitude gradually throughout the second part of the novel. The suspense rises as the trio (yes, of course Puck is back) and charming Grimalkin go on another journey to retreive the Scepter of Seasons. From that point on, the pace picks up, the chase is back on, and Meghan slowly becomes an interesting, relatable and intelligent heroine again. As she did in her previous novel, Julie Kagawa once again ends in style, leaving her readers to anxiously anticipate her next novel in the series. The Iron Daughter is a worthy successor to The Iron King, although I must admit I liked the latter more.

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Book Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa Book Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

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