Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: Iron Fey #2
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: August 1, 2010
How Received: Library

Summary: 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 thoughts:
I wasn’t blown away by the Iron Daughter.  Well, let me go back and say I wasn’t blown away by the Iron King, which is its prequel, either. The main reason I say this? The pacing of the book. A lot of the book really dragged on, with lengthy descriptions or a stale plot (not that I’m saying the former is bad!). While I was reading, I kept getting up from my seat, or got distracted by Facebook. Don’t get me wrong: I love the series, but it didn’t hold my attention for long.

That being said, I stuck the book out because I absolutely love the concept of the story and looove the characters. The world of Nevernever is introduced to the readers once again, thrusting them into a somewhat familiar landscape. The book opens up with Meghan in the icy, treacherous Winter Court this time, as opposed to the vibrant Summer Court.

I found Meghan absolutely whiny in Winter, and she just nearly pissed me off a couple of times. Honestly, she did. She kept going on and on about whether or not Ash really did love her, because he was being so cold and aloof towards her. HELLO?! She knows that Ash can’t favor her in the Unseelie court. She knows that it’s forbidden for Summer and Winter to be in love, and his title as prince sure doesn’t help. It was even more annoying, because Ash had specifically told her in Winter’s Passage that he couldn’t show her how he felt towards her – that showing emotion in Winter Court is a weakness. Meghan, you’re supposed to be a strong character – stop doubting the one you love!

Even after the whole Ash-ignoring her thing, she kept being whiny throughout the entire book about him, and wanting to be around him. I suppose I like the fact that she kept her head up and pursued Ash despite how many times he “rejected” her, but I wish she could have done so in a less whiny manner.

The other characters, however, made up for our whiny heroine. Out of nowhere, Puck returned on the scene! Thrusting him back into the story without any warning at all was... actually, it was pretty damn awesome! You guys have no idea how much I jumped, started to dance, partied, etc. when Puck randomly waltzes in to save the day. I slightly wish we had more back-story on how he recovered and how he even found them. Meghan didn’t even seem inquisitive at all as to how Puck returned to them. She just acted as if him returning from the dead was a daily thing.

Grimalkin’s reappearance also made me really happy. Puck and Grim were my two favorites in Iron King, so it was nice to have them back (especially since I wasn’t sure if Grim was coming back). I had almost forgotten his end of the bargain in the Iron King, so I hadn’t been expecting his reappearance, either.

The last character I have to mention is the reappearance of a familiar face, but this time, he’s on the good side: Ironhorse! I wasn’t too thrilled that Meghan allowed him to join her “group”. He didn’t even need to convince them that much: all of a sudden he was an ally and a friend. Just like that. But then he started becoming one of my favorite characters. He’s so gallant, loyal, and truly never backed out on his word.

Towards the end of the book, a lot of things that I thought had been dragged out came to a page-turning climax. Around page 320 (not exact), I couldn’t put the book down, which made up for its slow progression. Meghan’s new abilities and her encounter with the scepter really left me intrigued, and wanting more – what in the world is going to happen?! I thought something would have happened with the shedding of a new plot, but had my hopes crushed when Meghan made her final decision at the end.

Cover Musings: I can’t even convey how much I love the Iron Daughter’s cover. The swirls on the edges of the book seem almost magical. The colors meshed together well, and the inscription at the bottom made me want to grab the book (I was in the bookstore at the time) and run out to read it immediately. I love the model they used for the cover – I normally don’t like having people on covers, but I’ll make an exception for this one: she’s gorgeous!

Memorable Quotes:
I actually had a lot of these, so it’ll be tough to pick just a few. (Oh, and yes, a LOT of my quotes are Puck-heavy, haha.)

“Puck glanced from me to Ash and back again, looking confused. ‘Erm, so you’re saying you don’t want to go back home?’ he asked me. I glared at him, and he shrugged. ‘Wow, so that totally makes the whole rescue plan a wash. You wanna throw me a bone here, Princess? I feel somewhat out of the loop.’”

“‘This isn’t a game, Meghan! The shit is about to hit the fan, and you’re right in the middle of it without knowing enough to duck!’”

“‘Things are going to get screwed eight ways from Sunday, and you’re making goo-goo eyes at the enemy!’”

“I could handle goblins and bogeymen and evil, flesh-eating horses, but giant freaking spiders? That’s where I drew the line.”

“‘You know, I’m really starting to hate the insect life around here,’ he muttered. ‘Next time, remind me to bring a can of Off!’”

“‘You didn’t have to kill it,’ I told Ironhorse, dusting off my pants. ‘It was like three inches tall!’
‘Yeah, but you don’t need a machine gun to kill a fly.’”

“‘I would kiss you, cat,’ Puck said as we crowded through the doorway, ‘if we weren’t in such a hurry. Also, the hairballs could be unpleasant.’”

“After everything we’d done, everything we’d gone through, to have some faery bitch accuse me of lying was the last straw.”

Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: I really enjoyed the Iron Daughter. I love the storyline, the characters, and the humor that Julie Kagawa can manage to incorporate in a seemingly dire circumstance. I had a bit of trouble reading the book in one sitting (it actually took me three days! That never happens!), but I love the series, so I was able to finish. I enjoyed Julie Kagawa’s creativity when it comes to the Iron fey, and I’m really curious as to how she’ll wrap the series up.

Rating: 4/5