Monday, July 12, 2010

ARC Review: The Iron Daughter

The Iron Daughter
Julie Kagawa

Fantasy/Young Adult

Iron Fey/Book 2

Harlequin Teen/August 2010

ARC from Publisher/NetGalley

*Spoilers for previous book*

From the author's website ~

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, iron-bound 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 alone 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.

If you haven't started this series, what are you waiting for? Seriously, it's an amazing world Kagawa has created with the Fae of the Summer and Winter Courts and the Iron Fey. Meghan is a heroine worthy of the title. So much happens within the pages! The continuation of Meghan's journey into the Nevernever and the land of the faery is filled with danger, heartbreak, laughter and love. I absolutely loved this book!

When we last saw Meghan she had made a deal with Ash, Prince of the Winter court. She agreed to go to Tir Na Nog, land of the Winter Fae, with Ash if he would help get her little brother back from the Iron King. Now it's time to make good on her word. As Meghan leaves her home with Ash, she's not sure if she'll ever return. It's heartbreaking when she has to say good bye to Ethan, her little brother. At this point you realize everything Meghan is giving up. Her whole sense of family and security is being left behind.

Meghan and Ash make a detour when traveling to the Nevernever, to check up on Meghan's best friend Robin Goodfellow aka Puck. He was seriously injured and is still recovering. Meghan's relationship with Puck has been undergoing some changes since she found out that he's not a high school kid like her but is part of the Summer court, sent to watch over her by her father, King Oberon. Puck is another person Meghan might lose. She must say good-bye, for now, and make her way with Ash to the Winter Court.

The Winter Court is cold, both literally and figuratively for Meghan. She is shown to her room and left there, forgotten. Of course she's not really forgotten. Mab, Queen of the Winter Court wouldn't forget Meghan but she knows Meghan isn't going anywhere. It's a scary time for Meghan. She's alone among the Unseelie who wouldn't mind using her as a chew toy. She has no allies in the Winter Court and she doesn't know where Ash is. All she knows is that she must rely on herself to survive.

Ash, Prince of the Winter Court, is very conflicted. He tells Meghan over and over that Summer and Winter are enemies and that will never change. There is a beautiful scene where Ash is telling Meghan that she can't trust anyone, not even him. That he must do whatever Mab tells him to do even if it means killing Meghan. Meghan simply says to him "I trust you", undoing Ash with her honesty and faith in him. He really doesn't know how to deal with her. Until he met her, everything was black and white for him. The Fae of the Summer Court were the enemy. Period. With Meghan, Ash is constantly forced to rethink that idea as he continues to fall further in love with her.

At the Winter Court ice is everywhere giving off a coldness that goes clear to the bones. Danger and intrigue fill the court with Meghan right in the middle, her life always in peril. I loved how the author reminds the reader that while Meghan finds herself in adult situations and has to make adult decisions, she's still a teenager. At one point she finds herself facing a group of mean girls - Unseelie style - with the girls threatening her life if she so much as looks at Ash again. And Meghan crying into her pillow over Ash's coldness remind us that Meghan may be fey but she's also a human teenager with emotions that don't always conform to the cold logic of the fey.

As I read I kept wondering what would happen next because I really didn't know how it would all play out. What did happen, I could not have predicted and Kagawa took me by surprise with the some of the twists that proved Ash correct when he said not to trust anyone. But there are also some surprises in who Meghan can trust. A pack made with an old enemy takes Meghan on a dangerous quest. So much rides on the outcome and Meghan is under such pressure that you would think she would break. She doesn't break but she does crack which I thought added to the believability of her character. Had she been stalwart and continue to overcome all the obstacles without any breakdown, her humanity would have felt fake instead of genuine.

The adversities that Meghan and her friends must overcome are at times nearly insurmountable and there is never any guarantee that they will all survive. The story arc and character development continues to move forward with changes in perception and beliefs. The surprises that the characters encounter not only make them rethink their beliefs but make them rethink what they believe in.

The Iron Fey are again proving to be serious adversaries to Meghan and her allies. I enjoyed reading about the Iron Fey and their continued immersion into the 21st century. They way they manipulate their surroundings and fight the other Fey is exciting and devious. The fight scenes kept me on the edge and the outcome wasn't always what I expected. And the participants - Kagawa's descriptions of the various creatures are so vivid and very creepy. It all felt remarkably real to me, odd I know. While I knew Meghan had to win in the end, I didn't know who the casualties might be along the way. I found myself completely entertained and enthralled by this tale of good and evil where everything isn't always black and white.

In every war and the battles that are part of that war, there are casualties. Towards the end my heart was breaking for Meghan and Ash. After everything she went through, the losses and painful decisions, Meghan finds herself at a crossroads with only one real choice. I loved how Meghan and Ash's relationship not only evolved but the way it evolved made complete sense.

The world Kagawa has created is wild, dark and menacing - leaving you wondering what's lurking in those dark corners. But it's also filled with wonderful surprises of friendship, love and hope. I can't wait to find out what happens to Meghan in The Iron Queen, book 3 in the series, due out in February 2011.

Rating: A+

My review of The Iron King (book 1)

Link to free read, Winter's Passage. This should be read after The Iron King and before The Iron Daughter. (free download until July 31, 2010)


  1. Wow, seems like you're really enjoying this series, Leslie! I'm really glad :D I've finally read The Iron King and think this series is not really my cup of tea :( But I'm glad I tried it out :)

  2. Nath ~ I'm totally caught up in this series. Too bad about The Iron King. :(