Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter by Julie KagawaHow did I get it: The library.

Why did I get it: This is the second book in the Iron Fey series.

How I would rate it: 3 out of 5 stars – Good, but disappointing in several ways.

My Summary: From GoodReads:

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.

My Review: (Note: This review contains mild spoilers.)

Well, I loved the world and most of the characters especially Ash, Puck, Grimalkin, Ethan, as well as even Ironhorse and Rowan. The Winter Court was fascinatingly creepy, which was also great. I liked the dark, brooding quality to much of the Nevernever. Kagawa’s writing was still solid and entertaining, the pace was quick, and there were some really great moments scattered throughout the book.

That said, I was really confused and frustrated by Meghan’s characterization throughout the first and –to a lesser extent– even second parts of The Iron Daughter. Meghan seemed to forget everything she’d learned about herself, fairies, and the Nevernever from book one.  Anything even slightly negative seemed to defeat Meghan, make her faint, or result in her wanting to cry. I like strong female characters, and I cannot understand why Meghan became such a wet blanket. It would have made more sense for her to be like this in the first book not the second. She grew so much and to see it all amount to nothing really, really bothered me.

Similarly, the romantic parts of this book fell flat. I wanted to enjoy Meghan and Ash’s relationship, but there seemed to be no basis or reason behind their strong emotions. Meghan behaving in completely irrational ways did not help matters either because Meghan seemed to purposefully opt to misunderstand Ash and his actions over and over again. Meghan also had no problem using Puck as a substitute for Ash, which was awful especially since she didn’t have feelings for him but was quick to say she loved him anyway without stopping to think of how hurtful that would be later on when she reunited with Ash. Poor Puck! And if that wasn’t enough, Ash gives up everything to be with a girl who he hardly knows and who doesn’t understand him at all and it becomes perfectly clear in The Iron Daughter that Meghan’s appeal is her likeness to their dead friend/girlfriend.

Once the plot finally emerged and Meghan stopped being a complete issue-ridden lump, I was much happier and things got better. I liked having Grimalkin, Puck, Ash, and Meghan working together as a dysfunctional team again just as I liked the teaming up in the first book. I was interested in their new allies despite Leanansidhe abusing the word “darling.” The absolute best moment for me was Ethan’s cameo and his Unseelie protector, Spider. I really love that kid to pieces and I missed Ethan having a more active, adorable role in The Iron Daughter. He brought out a more well-rounded side of Meghan in both books, and I didn’t realize how responsible he was for her emotional maturity until he wasn’t around as much.

In conclusion, The Iron Daughter was good but not great. Thankfully The Iron Queen was much better. I will be posting my review for the third book shortly.

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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3 Responses to Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

  1. Lisa says:

    Meghan’s character was one of my main critiques of this novel too. I didn’t like how she would endanger others or not care about them. She seemed to only care about herself and her brother.

    • Totally. I wanted to like her as much as I did initially but it was so difficult. She got better with book 3 which I just posted about, but not enough for me to really ever like Meghan again.

      I just feel like it’s one thing to be misguided or clueless for a little while, but it’s another for a character to act in such a really horrible way when really she ought to know better.

  2. Benni says:

    Yes; I especially like Ethan and Spider, too!

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