Winter’s Passage (Iron Fey #2.5)

By Julie Kagawa

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

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl…until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck–Meghan’s best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon–who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash’s detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter–a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat….

Goodreads Summary

Winter’s Passage is a novella ideally read as a bridge between Kagawa’s other books in her Iron Fey series; first The Iron King, then The Iron Daughter. It works on a small scale as an intro to the Iron Daughter alone, but since much of what’s written here is repeated there, I thought of this as sort of snack; it felt a little like a bite to eat between courses, meant to remind me of what I’d had a little while ago and keep me hanging around for what was coming.

Winter’s Passage picks up where The Iron King left off, with half-human, half-fae Daughter of Summer King Oberon, Meghan Chase delivering her brother home to his human parents, then keeping her promise to sort-of boyfriend Winter Prince Ash to return to NeverNever and into the hands of Winter Queen Mab. Cleverly sidestepping a few words not exactly specified in that promise, the duo stop to check on their injured friend Puck, and find they’re being followed by something bigger and nastier than anything they’ve encountered yet.

Kagawa’s NeverNever is populated with nasties, good guys, curious things and inanimate object variations on many popular themes, tossed together creatively then woven into her own terrific fantasy world. Large bits of A Midsummer Night’s Dream along with pieces of Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are, Willy Wonka, Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz and even some borrowed elements of manga can be seen peeking out in small places. NeverNever itself is a charming, albeit pretty dangerous place to be if you don’t have a knowledgable guide who’s good with a knife, and Kagawa succeeds quite brilliantly in taking care to keep her world consistent from The Iron King through Winter’s Passage.

Where I had issue with Winter’s Passage was in the relationship with Meghan and Ash, and coincidentally or not, it was exactly the place I had it in The Iron King. For what I anticipated would be a book with romantic subtexts, The Iron King was a bit cool, Ash in particular. By contrast, Winter’s Passage, Ash in particular, is all over the map with its emotions; it’s a horse at a speed track given free rein, then halfway through, being pulled back to a trot and made to walk the rest of the way. While Meghan had always been an open and emotional person, Ash was not; to see him suddenly acting out of character by essentially being a fairly typical teenaged boy felt jarring, especially so when he later reverted back to his colder persona, which I suspect was the author’s intent.

The novella ends on an ominous note that will pull the reader into The Iron Daughter; Meghan Chase remains the ultimate Dorothy, Cinderella and Superman wrapped in one; always depending on faith that she’ll survive what’s thrown at her and find her way home with her handsome prince and save the planet.

My Rating: B-


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