Ed. note: The Iron Daughter is the second book in Julie Kagawa’s epic fantasy series. The first book is The Iron King (our review). This review does mention events of that book and may contain spoilers to those who haven’t yet read the first book.
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
We knew from the way things ended in The Iron King (and from the Iron Fey novella Winter’s Passage) things were going to get worse for Meghan Chase before they got better. Following through on the contract she made with the winter prince Ash for his help in rescuing her brother, Meghan spends months in the icy palace of the Unseelie Court, waiting to see Queen Mab or get word from Ash, who has stolen her heart (and ours).
She’s freezing, anxious and can’t seem to access the glamour surrounding her. Being without magic ability in enemy territory is not a good thing. That’s how we find the half-fae Summer Court princess at the beginning of The Iron Daughter.
The first Iron Fey book was about Meghan accepting who she was and in doing so was able to save her brother. While we see more of her battling her torn feelings between the moral and faery worlds, really, The Iron Daughter is Ash discovering the possibility of being open, of letting someone — even the half-blood heir of his enemy — behind the masks he has built. To say it’s complicated wouldn’t cover it. To say some of Ash’s actions had us furious and aching (sometimes simultaneously), that’s be accurate.
Julie Kagawa ramps up the emotional complexities and intensifies love troubles in The Iron Daughter, while keeping her characters focused on the task at hand: saving the world from the iron faeries, of course. The harsh divisions between the courts are stark and often thrown bluntly in Meghan’s face, but as a reader it is easy to see all the Seelie and Unseelie similarities. I expect those shared traits will become a more prominent theme in the next book.
Finally, the only reason this review is a half-star shy of five is the foreshadowing appeared a bit more obvious. Part of me wonders if I hadn’t already known the title of the third novel*, would I have picked out so easily where things were going? Aside from the more forthright foreshadowing, The Iron Daughter stole my attention in 150-page blocks. It will keep readers enveloped in fantasy until the final page. (And, boy, we liked that ending!)
*Yes, I’m purposefully not mentioning the title of the third Iron Fey book, in case you think I’m right about it aiding my understanding of Kagawa’s foreshadowing.