Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jenn's Review: The Iron Daughter

The Iron Daughter (Harlequin Teen)Summary:  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 review below may contain minor spoilers, especially if you haven't read The Iron King.]

Review:  It didn't take me as long to get into The Iron Daughter as it did The Iron King (my review).  Julie Kagawa spent a significant amount of time laying out Faery in the first book, so in this one she was able to jump right into the story.  There is also a wonderful e-book short story, Winter's Passage that details Meghan and Prince Ash's deliciously perilous journey back to the Winter Court.  (It picks up right where The Iron King left off and leaves the reader just before The Iron Daughter commences.)  I think I enjoyed the short story more than the book.

Winter's PassageAt the start of The Iron Daughter I was a little disappointed with Meghan; actually, I wanted to shake her for the first 55 pages.  She went from fierce protectress in the last novel to wilting damsel in distress awfully fast. Yes, she's only a teen and she's under constant duress, but she completely forgets her common sense and spends the entire time mooning over Prince Ash.  It is especially frustrating because Ash explains to Meghan why he can't demonstrate his forbidden love for her around his super scary royal family.  While this explanation occurs in Winter's Passage, it seems fairly obvious even for those who haven't read it.  In which case, it came off as extreme for Meghan to become a blubbering mess when Ash turns cold in the Winter Court without at least questioning the situation.

Two books into the series, and I'm still ambivalent towards Meghan Chase as a character.  Ms. Kagawa has a great gift for writing characters as she demonstrates time and again with the remaining cast; I don't understand why Meghan seems so flat to me.  She's loyal to her friends, and can be brave when the situation calls for it, but for the most part Meghan gets by with luck and help.  She will do the right thing, but she's often motivated by her self-interests and too consumed by them to be curious about her own powers and abilities.  I know Meghan turned sixteen at the beginning of The Iron King, but she seems like such a young sixteen, especially after all she's been through.

There are several places, Ms. Kagawa was heavy handed with foreshadowing. I felt a little clobbered over the head with hints several times throughout the story.  Perhaps it's me, but I feel this does a disservice to the reader (For example, several reminders are dropped about the memory Meghan had removed in the last book, however it is Meghan who had a memory removed, not the reader... ).

Despite my criticism, I had a hard time putting The Iron Daughter down.  I love the secondary characters old and new. They have great depth and practically sparkle off the page.  New to the scene is Leanansidhe the quintessential muse, intoxicating yet unbalanced everything a muse should be whose story is far from complete.  Then there is Puck and Ash who have a fascinating history and relationship with each other and how all of that relates to Meghan is even more interesting.  I also love Grimalkin, the cait sithe, and how he always appears in the crux of a crisis, however, I can't help but wonder what his agenda truly is...  I was even starting to route for Meghan towards the end.

The series isn't perfect, but it is intriguing. Julie Kagawa has really captured something with the concept of combining fey and steampunk and the multifaceted,  multidimensional plot is incredible.  The story is addictive and has stayed with me.  It's one of those books that, upon finishing, you dream about at night and find yourself contemplating the next day —to the point where I will pick up The Iron Queen immediately because I can't wait to see where The Iron Fey series takes me.

Final Take: 3.75/5



Gwenny August 12, 2011 at 4:38 PM  

Great review. It's good to know I'm not the only one who doesn't have a glowing review for this book. Meghan bothered me until Iron Queen. She gets much better in Queen.

Jenn August 13, 2011 at 12:08 PM  

Good to know. I just want her to be... More. More curious, more thoughtful, or more intelligent... She can pick one, but she needs to do it soon. LOL

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