by Julie Kagawa
Book Two in The Iron Fey series; Book One reviewed here. This review may contain spoilers for previous volumes in the series.
After rescuing her little brother and destroying the Iron King Machina, Meghan has been bound by oath to join the Winter fairies at the Unseelie Court. She’s miserable: she’s always freezing, the Unseelie largely ignore or taunt her, and the love of her life, Prince Ash, avoids her. When he cruelly denies any feelings for her at all, Meghan is shattered. Before she can stew too long in self-loathing, the crown prince Sage is murdered and the Scepter of the Seasons is stolen by the Iron Fey. The Unseelie accuse Oberon and his Summer Court of the crime, and prepare to go to war. Meghan is the only one who knows the truth; she must somehow get away from the Unseelie Court, find and retrieve the scepter, and stop the fairies from destroying each other.
Or, y’know, she could just freak out about her feelings for 300 pages.
I mean, good GRIEF. How long has she known Ash? A few days? Weeks, tops? I know she’s still a teenager but her all-encompassing desire for him is just embarrassing. He warns her before they arrive at the Unseelie Court that he will hide his feelings once they arrive, yet the dumb girl still goes running into his arms the first moment she sees him and then is shocked when he coldly informs her that he doesn’t love her. Meggie, you have two choices at this point:
1. Remember what Ash told you before and stop acting like a googoo-eyed idiot.
2. Get over the jerk who won’t stand up for your relationship and be a strong, independent woman.
Instead, Meghan goes for the third option:
3. Run to your childhood friend and make out with him after he reveals he’s been love with you FOREVER, which has been pretty darn obvious since the beginning of the series. Afterwards, go running back to the winter prince, but have the decency to feel bad about screwing with the feelings of your best friend.
Meghan certainly isn’t the most inspiring or interesting heroine in young adult fiction, but at the end of the last book I did admire her a bit because she had shown such dedication to her little brother. That goodwill was virtually gone by the end of this novel. The love triangle just felt so forced and unnecessary. There’s no real chemistry between Meghan and Ash, and the constant attempts by the plot to place them in romantic situations were awful. At one point, Ash is badly injured, and the only thing that can heal him is “lots of human emotional energy”. Hey, guess what? Meghan’s Winter Formal dance is conveniently a few hours away! She and Ash can go to the dance and their problems will be solved!!
WHAT. BOOK, I ASK YOU, WHAT. THE. HECK?
I really should have put the book down right then and there, but I couldn’t, because I love the parts of the story that don’t involve romance. The fairy courts are beautiful and terrible; the contrast between them fascinating. I’m so so SO intrigued by the Iron Court and what it represents for the “old blood” fairies. Plus, many of the secondary characters are so much fun. Grimalkin is a grumpy sourpuss who always seems one step ahead of the others; I bet that he could easily fix everything with a few choice words, but he finds trouble far more entertaining. A new fairy is introduced in this book, Leanansidhe – a beautiful muse who was cast out of the Summer Court by jealous Titania and now lives between the fairyland and the human world. She’s a bit unstable, but I love the strange little court she keeps of half-breeds, half-crazed artists and outcasts. Like Grimalkin, one can never be sure if she means Meghan good or ill.
But the one character I really enjoyed in this book was Ironhorse. At first, he seems a bit obnoxious – he’s an iron (horse) fairy that talks in ALL CAPS and seems incapable of thinking things through. But his loyalty to Meghan and desire to prevent war won me over, and soon even his ALL CAPS made me smile.
But Meghan, what’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you more interested in exploring/exploiting your “iron glamor” power – especially since it seems to be unique to you? When Ironhorse calls you “my queen” why aren’t you questioning that? STOP MOONING OVER ASH AND PAY ATTENTION TO THE HEAVY-HANDED CLUES BEING DROPPED IN YOUR STORY!!!
Man, I hope she improves in The Iron Queen.
2 out of 5 stars
To read more about The Iron Daughter, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Fashionista Piranha on hiatus until May 2th…
2011: In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
2010: Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn
2009: News: Using Digital Techniques to Recover Ancient Manuscripts