The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

8 Mar 2015 by

Meghan Chase, Puck, and Prince Ash are back in The Iron Daughter, where Meghan learns more about her inner strength and power and how to navigate the political power struggles of the fey in this modern update to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Do not continue reading unless you’ve already read the first book. This review assumes you’ve read the initial book!

The Iron DaughterSynopsis

Meghan Chase stolidly awaited her fate at the end of The Iron King, and this sequel picks up after a short amount of time has passed. Meghan is unaware of exactly how much time, since time passes differently in the fey’s home. All she knows is that Ash disappeared as soon as he dropped her off at the Winter Court for her agreed upon imprisonment, and she has been all alone in the inhospitable castle – aside from the mischievous phouka, Tiaothin. Things finally change when Queen Mab calls upon the half-breed princess to accuse her in front of the court of tricking Prince Ash. Mab doesn’t believe Meghan’s protestations of innocence, but suddenly a surprisingly cold-hearted Prince Ash appears to back up her story. He also tells her that she is not welcome in front of him or the court, and treats her with complete disdain, confusing Meghan and breaking her heart.

The punches don’t stop when Ash’s older brother, Prince Rowan, comes to torment Meghan and get to the bottom of Ash’s puzzling behavior during The Iron King, specifically how he didn’t bring her back to the Unseelie Court immediately. Tricked into using a spill-your-guts mushroom, Meghan admits she loves Prince Ash and subsequently falls into a coma of despair when Ash appears, hearing her words, and asks her why he would ever want to touch the half-breed daughter of Oberon. She wills herself into this coma until she hears a voice that sounds like Ash begging her to wake up before she fades away forever. She wakes up to an empty room and readies herself for the Exchange – when the Seelie and Unseelie Courts pass the Scepter of the Seasons. During the revel immediately following the passing of the magical object, Ash’s oldest brother, Prince Sage, is killed by fey from the Iron Court and the scepter is stolen. Unfortunately for Meghan, Queen Mab doesn’t believe her and punishes her. Meghan now has to get out of her imprisonment in order to save all Faerykind from the Iron Court’s continued machinations.

In the process, she will learn more about her own heritage and discover a strength all of her own, all while trying to manage the hormones typical of a sixteen year old as she chooses between two suitors.

Read an Excerpt at Harlequin!

Review: The Nitty Gritty

This sequel had a choice to make, and it chose wrong. Kagawa continues the mutual admiration between Ash and Meghan from the previous novel, but it is increasingly melodramatic and ridiculous. Meghan barely knows Ash, declares herself in love with him, and then puts herself into a coma because she can’t bear the heart break he’s caused her by saying he’s not interested and it was all a trick. I can understand embarrassment, but being so heart broken as to die? This is everything I disdain in a romance novel. I can remember the rush of hormones as a young adult, the confusion, and even the melodrama. I also remember that my focus wasn’t on my everlasting and undying love, but rather if all this mess of emotions would someday resolve into love. I wanted to know more about the other person, to see if we would be compatible. I didn’t declare myself in unending love to where I’d sacrifice everything for this other person. This sort of depiction is sickeningly unrealistic. Any time an author writes “after all this time,” or similar phrasing, in a story like this, I want to hurl. They barely know each other!

If I quickly skip my eyes over all that nonsense, the plot of this story is much more interesting than the previous novel. My favorite parts were the ones in which Ash was completely absent. I don’t particularly like him as a character or as an impetus for plot development. Puck is much more interesting, dynamic, and well-suited for Meghan. There’s also much less of the drivel in his parts, despite his declaration of love. This love triangle nonsense is also a device completely overused and silly. I’d be much more interesting in reading about a relationship developing over time – for valid reasons! – without petty jealousies that are not present in the development of every relationship. The use of the love triangle, boy-saves-girl theme, and the deepest-love-at-first-sight device make me feel like the author is trying to manipulate my emotions to sell a book and make a buck. It’s so formulaic and abused, especially in young adult novels.

I had hopes that when the author included the cautionary scene with Scott in the first book, she wouldn’t head down this path. …Okay. Taking a deep breath.

Kagawa deepens her descriptions of the fey in this sequel, adding more information about the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, and bringing back my favorite antihero from the Iron Court: Virus. She’s such a potent reminder of the Matrix’s famous scene, while also serving as a personification of the nature of computer viruses. She really brings home what the Iron Court is about – diseasing the world and replicating, replicating, replicating.

 

The Takeaway

I am going to continue to read the series; I’m apparently a glutton for punishment. At least, as always, Kagawa’s novels are very easy and pleasant to read. There’s a little more emotional investment in this novel, but with the inclusion of the literary devices I’ve discussed above, it was really hard to get enough buy in.

Information

The Iron Daughter
Book Two of The Iron Fey
by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HarlequinTEEN
Published August 2010 Pages: 359
Review Source: library Review Format: e-book
ISBN:9780373210138 Finished on March 8, 2015

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