This review contains very minor spoilers for The Iron King, Book #1 in The Iron Fey series.
The Iron Daughter is the second book in Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series. For centuries, the Seelie (Summer) Court and the Unseelie (Winter) Court have maintained an uneasy alliance to avoid costly wars. As part of a treaty, during each human year, both courts get a chance to hold the Scepter of the Seasons, the source of power in the fairyland, NeverNever. But when the Iron Fey steal the scepter from the Winter Court and frame the Summer Court, it’s up to our heroine Meghan Chase to retrieve the scepter, set the record straight, and keep the tenuous Winter-Summer truce from collapsing.
Less focused than the first book
Even though there is a clear quest to retrieve the scepter, The Iron Daughter seems less focused than the first book in the series, The Iron King. The characters embark in more side journeys, meet more characters, and get further acquainted with minor characters from the first book. The side journeys are enjoyable, as are all the new supporting characters: Leanesidhe, who takes in various half-feys; Ironhorse, who now swears allegiance to Meghan; and Virus, a formidable foe who works for the false Iron king. As enjoyable as these side journeys and characters are, NeverNever is already a saturated world, and for the first time in the series, we see a glimpse of how there can be too much of a good thing. It is still much preferable to not enough, however, and The Iron Daughter remains an exciting adventure.
A love triangle resolved too soon
Even though both Puck and Ash get a chance to woo Meghan, by the middle of The Iron Daughter, it seems obvious who has won Meghan’s heart for good. There’s no point in drawing out a love triangle for the sake of drama, but I still felt this decision came a little too soon in the series. Well, okay, I admit I may just be a little upset that Meghan made the wrong choice. If I sound like a petulant fangirl, that’s what The Iron Fey series can do to you; it’s so lovable that you cannot help but become invested in all the characters and the relationships.
Can I get my heart back?
No, I’m not talking about either Puck or Ash. Instead, I’m referring to Grimalkin, the cat-like cait sith who has cemented his spot in my heart as the best sidekick ever (though he would be very upset to hear me refer to him as a sidekick). He disappears and reappears at critical junctures, provides solutions to obstacles, and prevents characters from kissing too much. And when asked how he does what he does, he answers simply: “I’m a cat.” He’s absolutely purr-fect, even for a dog lover like me.
Why should you read this book?
Despite some minor shortcomings in The Iron Daughter, The Iron Fey is still one of the best young adult fantasy series out there, and Kagawa one of the best storytellers.