The Iron Daughter

Well, The Iron Daughter reminded me of something I can lose sight of when reading young adult literature -- it's written for young adults and features young adults. This means hormones are raging and very little logic is to be found, particularly when the object of one's affection no longer appears to love the heroine, even when there's a darn good reason for him acting that way. That said, OH COME ON. There's accurately depicting a teenager and then there's alienating your reader. It's an interesting experience to continue reading a book in spite of the protagonist. If I could have throttled Meghan, I would have. At several moments in the story. Gee honey, let's stop wailing for about three minutes to remember that Ash indicated the Winter court was dangerous and if either of you showed weakness, you'd both be in trouble. Maybe this has something to do with him appearing to avoid you? Or acting cold and callous when others are around to witness it?

Ahem. Let me start over. The Iron Daughter is the second book in the Iron Fey series written by Julie Kagawa. There's a short little novella that leads in to this one, available only online, called Winter's Passage which gives the reader a bit more info on the trip that Ash and Meghan make from her home to the Winter court as they fulfill Meghan's end of the bargain made in exchange for Ash helping her save her brother in the last book. Basically, there's some kissing and some sighing over their tragic situation, as Winter and Summer fey aren't supposed to fall in love and it's far worse when he's a Winter prince and she's the half-breed daughter of Oberon, the Summer king. (That said, the little story isn't necessary and most of it is repeated at the beginning of The Iron Daughter.)

Ash warns Meghan that the Winter court is ruthless and cruel... and that she should trust no one, including him. He also emphasizes that if anyone knew that they cared for each other, they'd use it against them. This flits out of Meghan's head upon arrival, as she's shocked when Ash once again assumes his cold exterior and treats her like a near-stranger. Meanwhile, she might as well tattoo his name on her forehead, as everyone knows she appears to love him from day one. Oh, and Queen Mab has cut off Meghan's faery powers, leaving her feel even more helpless. Meghan endures the rather wretched people of the Winter court, including Ash's brothers who are not exactly well-behaved, and when she's not trying simply to survive, she's moping. She winds up the sole survivor in a sneak attack on the Winter Court by the NEW Iron King (didn't think we were done with that just because Meghan killed to steal some scepter that signals the passing of seasons... and surprise surprise, Ash has to come in and save her.

So Ash and Meghan are on the lamb again and their romantic issues are far from over as they try to find a way to stop the new Iron King before the Winter and Summer courts go to war against each other (as, naturally, they believe the other responsible for the drama over the scepter). Puck shows up (thank goodness), unlikely allies are made, and the storyline marches forward to take some fun and interesting twists and turns. Ultimately, my three star rating exists because of the larger storyline at work around Meghan. Once you ignore her and her wailing over Ash (seriously, girl, we get it), the other elements that Kagawa has crafted are really quite excellent. The standard war between Winter and Summer with the insidious threat of the Iron kingdom... hats off. For me, though, there were way too many moments in The Iron Daughter that I was enduring instead of enjoying. I will say, however, that while I was annoyed with this installment in the series, Kagawa made up for it in spades with The Iron Queen. So read this one quickly (or at least skim over the teenage Meghan bits) and get ready for number three.

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