Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

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.

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Spoiler Note: The Iron Daughter is the second full length story in the Iron Fey series, which means spoilers are running rampant in this review. I apologise, I couldn’t seem to avoid it in this rambly opinion of mine. I’ve also reviewed the first in the series, The Iron King, here.

Review

It’s several hours after I’ve finished the The Iron Daughter and I am still uncertain with whether I liked it or not. It’s curious to me, as I want to know certain things about the future of the creatures in the world Julie Kagawa has created. Yet, I’m not sure if my desire to know is influenced by the main characters or for the other creatures entirely.

As far as fantasy type stories go, The Iron Daughter comes across to me as a messy one, but not necessarily in a bad way. It’s not to say there are loose ends and all the sub-plots don’t make sense, but in comparison to most of the fantasy I’m used to, The Iron Daughter can be a little here there and everywhere.  The story is mostly focused on a star-crossed love affair between Meghan and Ash, with a lot of divergence going on between the two. Of course, there’s a love triangle. I’m over commenting on love triangles so here’s all I’m mentioning with this one – love triangle, bah!

I realise Meghan and Ash’s love story is part and parcel of the whole Iron Fey series, but there’s so much going on in the world around them, I would have loved less focus on their torment. To be fair, there’s definitely a great amount of world building present, but it’s so broken up with certain other aspects I feel as though I was intermittently losing focus with the world of Faery. First there are Meghan and Ash’s feelings, then their non-feelings, then their general anguished confusion with each other, and finally Meghan’s internally voicing her woe’s.

Then there’s smaller things like going on about the gown and summarising what had recently taken place in this book (I expect it when it’s tying in with the previous book, but not the current one), and then there’s the stupid cat. By the end of The Iron Daughter, I harboured a great dislike with Grimm, which I know is a turn around from The Iron King. I didn’t want to read any scene with him in it, I would have loved to skip it all, but I’m not a skipper. How unfortunate for me that I’m not a skipper. He would have been far more likeable if he were not making a show of how aloof he was by purposely cleaning or scratching something when another character attempted to talk to him. I get cats are aloof, but I don’t like it being pointed out to me all the time and Grimm just comes across as an arrogant pain in the butt. It makes it worse how each time Grimm shows up, starts cleaning, Meghan has to mention how she wants to smack him.

There’s far too much repetition in those smaller actions for me not to come away frustrated. Puck is always reverting back to his old self with a smirk, Meghan is always going on about her gown or abandoning her old life, Grimm is an a-hole, and the only character I had grown to love was Ironhorse. Ironhorse turned into the loveable character for me. Puck previously had my favouritism, but he lost it in this book.

I know it sounds like I’m gripping. Ok, maybe I am a bit. I have a habit with picking up and being influenced by pet peeves, which unfortunately there were quite a few for me in this instalment of The Iron Fey. Do you know what though? I’m actually really looking forward to reading the next one. I know! Talk about being confusing. I want to find out how Meghan becomes involved with the land of Faery once more because surely she has to?

One more thing that’s at the forefront of my mind is the title connection.  There isn’t actually an Iron Daughter in this instalment, but I got the impression that Meghan was the connection. She was referenced by the title, albeit it’s a loose connection, but the whole control issue with iron must mean Meghan was the Iron Daughter. So either the next in the series, The Iron Queen, has something to do with Meghan’s connection to iron again or there’s an actual Iron Queen. Ahhh! Too many questions whirling around in my head and now I need to know the answers. Not only to the iron element, but what happens to Ash. Yes, I want to know how he will survive and adjust to his new environment.

All in all, the series so far has enough pull for me to keep going, but the ultimate pull is wanting to know how Ethan will be introduced deeper into the series come The Lost Prince. I have to know how the story eventually gets there.

You can read the first chapter of The Iron Daughter here (PDF).

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