The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2)

The Iron DaughterBy Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Publisher

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.

Goodreads Summary

In Iron Daughter, half-human, half-fae Summer Princess Meghan is being held in Queen Mab’s Winter Court, still pining after love Winter Prince Ash, who’s gone distant since bringing her to his mother. During the ceremonial exchange of the Scepter of Seasons between the Summer Court and Winter Court, the eldest Winter Prince is killed, the Scepter stolen by the minions of the new Iron King and Ash and Meghan go on the run to find it.

Where The Iron King was at heart a fantasy with the romance of Ash and Meghan woven in at the end, this is a full-on modern romance with fantasy tossed in, and it disappointed me. Kagawa used Iron King to develop a fantastical world where you never knew what was coming next, but it was all wild and imaginative. From the beginning pages here, Meghan is whining about how much she loves Ash, who doesn’t seem to care about her; as soon as she sees him again at court, all she thinks of is trying to get his attention and when she doesn’t, all she does is cry about it. She’s considered the enemy in the hands of an evil queen who’d like to freeze her and she worries whether or not he’s looking at her; Kagawa dwells on what his hair looks like and whether his slashing silver eyes are blank or not.

This continues for most of the book, with Ash deciding to be nice to Meghan, then being mean to her, then Meghan deciding her sometimes-friend Puck might make a good boyfriend. Meghan decides she loves one or both of them, then hates one or both of them, then vows to never love again, then decides she’s found her one true love. It’s exhausting. Kagawa also abandons her best asset, NeverNever, to take a lot of the action to the very uninteresting topside, some of it in – wait for it – Silicon Valley. Where Iron King was briskly written, Iron Daughter seems a little lost; there were too many plotlines that went nowhere, some that I wish had been followed because not only were they interesting, they would have been important to Meghan.  I’m really hoping that in the next installment, they’re picked up.

As a tormented-love romance and adventure book with a fae backdrop, this would work, although it would be hard to read as a standalone unless you’re prepared to ignore a number of references back to people and places from The Iron King. As a fantasy-based romance and adventure, this story falls short of the original; it lacks much of the vivid imagination and tight writing and instead relies on overwrought emotional behavior and characters that go nowhere to push the plot.

In addition to The Iron King and The Iron Daughter, there’s a bridge novella, Winter’s Passage, that’s available for download in the Kindle store. It explains what happens between the rescue of Meghan’s step-brother and Ash’s delivering of Meghan to the Winter Court.

My Rating: B-



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