The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was about 3.5 stars for me. I had a lot of problems with it, but overall I was interested enough in the story to keep reading. It's hard for me to put into words how I felt about The Iron Daughter, but seeing as this is a review, I should probably try...
Probably the biggest thing that holds me back from loving this series is its lukewarm protagonist. Meghan is just so... beige. She basically has no direct involvement in the plot for a majority of the story. Sure, she gets that degree of 'special' from being Oberon's daughter - but when it comes down to actually doing things, Meghan always falls short. From fighting, to sneaking around, to finding what they need and where they need to go - it's always someone else (usually Puck or Ash) who does it, but rarely is it Meghan. It's hard to love a story when its protagonist is so passive.
The romance between Meghan and Ash continues to feel forced and unrealistic in The Iron Daughter. I'm sorry, I know there are legions of people who ship them hard, but I just don't feel it. Meghan's relationship with Puck seems much more legitimate, considering they have known each other for a while and thus understand each other better. Surely Ash is more mature (given that he is meant to be hundreds or even thousands of years old) than to confess his undying love after knowing Meghan for such a short time? Apparently not - the endings of both The Iron King and The Iron Daughter prove this. The ending of this novel, though exciting and wholly unexpected, made no sense when you consider the characters involved. I won't reveal what happened because spoilers, but let's just say I don't think it fits into who Ash is as a character.
Having said this, there were elements of this story that I enjoyed. Kagawa introduced some intriguing new characters into the mix, as well as giving more book space to smaller characters from The Iron King - Ironhorse, Virus and Leanansidhe come to mind. I really liked the introduction of Leanansidhe in this novel. She was an interesting character, who's backstory and intentions I would like to learn more about in future novels. I would especially love to see her face off with Titania - that would be the fight of the century. Ironhorse was my favourite character overall, though - he had a lot of passion and power in this book.
I also really like Kagawa's writing style. There were parts of this novel in which the story itself was not gripping me, but Kagawa's 'epic storyteller' tone kept me reading. This tone makes everything sound like an epic adventure - even if it really wasn't. It's also clear that world-building is a true strength of Kagawa's - I never found myself questioning whether the Nevernever or the Iron Fey were real. I really hope this continues through to the next novel. This world-building and her storyteller tone were ultimately what saved The Iron Daughter for me.
Overall, this was a fair sequel to The Iron King, with an unique take on fey mythology and an interesting story overall.
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