When last we left sixteen-year-old Meghan Chase (for me, it was yesterday!), she had just been summoned back into the fairy land of Nevernever by the hot but snide fairy prince Ash, son of Queen Mab of the Winter Court. For those who don’t know the popular fairy lore as established in Urban Fantasy fiction of the past couple of decades, there are two Royal Courts among these sprites and pixies — the Summer Court, most famously run by Oberon and Titania (see A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and the Winter Court, ruled by Queen Mab (another Shakespeare reference, mentioned in Romeo and Juliet).
But in the Iron Fey series, there is a third realm, the Iron Court, and in this series’ first installment, our Awkward and Insecure Misfit Teen Heroine killed its diabolical king and took his power. (Of course.) Here, she is in the Winter Court, and Ash, her erstwhile love interest, not only pretends they’ve barely met but is actively, aggressively awful to her — but still she loves him so! She cries and worries about him and is infatuation incarnate; the worse he treats her, the more fascinated she becomes.
It’s hard to read, but mostly because it’s such an accurate portrait of heightened teenage “love” that it is utterly cringeable.
He, meanwhile, is obsessed with his dead ex, who was apparently Perfect in Every Way, and not only does Meghan have to hear all about that, but she also has to try to track down a missing sceptre than controls the weather (oh yeah, there’s a fairy land plot here, not just TEEN ANGST ALL THE TIME) and take time out of her busy schedule to totally mess with her best friend’s feelings by going full Bella-and-Jacob on him — when at last he shows up. Book, why does it take over a hundred pages for you to Robbie? Robbie is your best character!
Well, him and Ironhorse.
Did I like The Iron Daughter? Um… no? Yes? Kind of? I definitely did not like Meghan very much in this book, she is bratty and weepy and almost unrecognisable from the much more kickass incarnation I met in the previous outing. (Again: yesterday.) It can be very difficult to get the full comfort-read experience from a book when you spend most of the time despising its protagonist. But then, I know real life teenagers who would definitely react just as outrageously as she does to most every situation and attack in this book — indeed, I probably was one myself, back in the dim dark. So, for all that she is THE WORST in so much of this, and you just want to scream at her to HAVE SOME DIGNITY FOR OBERON’S SAKE YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS, you also have to acknowledge that half the reason she grates so much is because she is such a sobering mirror to look into.
And once we “learn” the reasons behind Ash’s perfidy (of course, we’d already guessed; we’ve read, well, anything before) and the sacrifice he makes for her at this book’s cliffhanger-y conclusion, at least it is enough to validate Meghan’s crazy, even if not excuse her passivity or treatment of poor, poor Robbie.
Wow, I had more thoughts on that one than I’d predicted. Next up is The Iron Queen, and okay. Cool. Not spoilery at all there, title.
I’m not gonna lie, I am very concerned.
TBR DAY 18: The Iron King (Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa
GENRE: YA Fantasy
TIME ON THE TBR: 2 years.
PURCHASED FROM: Op shop.