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The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa
I think that it would be very apt to call me a Book-a-holic, or book obsessed, or even a book nerd! Any of these titles, I am happy with, as it is very true. I love immersing myself into different worlds and forgetting my own problems for a time, and love hunting for new books.
I came across this set of books on Goodreads.com after a number of my friends gave glowing reviews. On my regular trip to 'The Works' high street store, I was able to pick the first and second book up for £2.00 each. Amazon have this book at the moment for £5.24 in paperback form and £4.61 on Kindle format.
RETURN TO THE NEVERNEVER
"I know you'd risk everything to protect us, and that's what worries me. You still don't know enough about this world to be properly terrified. Things are going to get screwed eight ways from Sunday, and you're making goo-goo eyes at the enemy! I heard what happened in Machina's realm and yes, it scared the hell out of me. I love you, dammit. I'm not going to watch you get torn apart when everything goes bad."
Not long ago, everything Meghan Chase had ever known was turned on its head. Once she had stepped through the closet and entered a fairy-tale world (No, we are not in Narnia - though close!), she could not go back. After discovering that she was half human, half Summer Fae, and a princess no less, and rescuing her younger brother from the Iron King, Meghan has to uphold a bargain she made with the Winter prince, and return with him to the Winter Queen's domain. Once here, she feel deserted by the one person (or fae!) that she thought loved her, and to top it all off, the Sceptor is stolen by the Iron Fae though no one will believe her, and instead Summer and Winter begin a war that could throw the balance of her world into chaos.
Meghan knows the real danger is the Iron Fae, though with her own newly acquired fairy powers cut off by the Winter Queen, she is stuck in Faery with only her wits and cunning to help. Trusting anyone would be foolish, and trusting a traitor could mean the death of her, though Meghan can not help hearing the whispers of her own heart, and it could lead her to more trouble than good.
"Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined."
The first book in this series was astounding! I had never quite read anything like it before. Think A Midsummer Nights Dream, modernise it, bring it into the real world, and turn it on its head. Add in a large amount of weird and wonderful creatures and you still have not come close to the impact of 'The Iron King'. The only real gripe I had of this first book was the fact that it was so over-crowded! So much happened on every single page, and so much was thrown at me that it was anything but a relaxing read. Thankfully, this second book is much calmer. There is still a good amount of creatures poking their heads in the readers direction, though the focus is more upon the actual story line than the creatures and people within. Descriptions are still very full and occasionally overbearing, though in the main, this has also calmed down.
Looking at the story itself, I feel that it was slightly weaker than the first, despite the calmness of it. It had the foundations of a great second part story, though I felt it struggled to create the excitement in many places that the first book held. Regardless of this, I did enjoy the read. There was many an anticipated moment and it flowed brilliantly, perhaps even better then the first in many ways. I have read a few novels which deal with characters falling through the veil from the real to the fantasy world, and striving to get back home again, and have had mixed views on these books. This one certainly throws a lot more into the works and I still got excited to see what would actually pop up on the next page, even if it was not as exhilarating as everything and everyone I met in the first book. The strength of the story lay cemented from the first in many ways, even with the weaker moments, and it was possibly due to the love of the first book which kept me glued to the pages and wanting to know where it was going, rather than this particular story itself.
Another aspect which I found offered great strength that overcame the drawbacks was the characters. Although they were certainly not flawless, they were superbly written. By this point, I had become attached to certain characters and began empathising with them and their situations which really helped the story along. Again, my all-time favourite character happened to be a talking cat called Grim for short. I do not know what it says about a book when the best character is a feline, though considering he was written perfectly, it just shows that all characters mean something to the story, something which I find brilliant. Even the weaker characters have great personality and style, though there are some in which took longer to associate with. These weaker characters did not detract from the rest of them, though, thankfully!
Among the fantasy based storyline, you will see a love triangle of sorts which grows stronger in the second half of this book than ever before. It is still not in-your-face which is great, though the underlying current is always there. At times, I did find myself getting slightly annoyed with the main character and her unbelievable responses to the other two characters (as well as situations as a whole), though in the main, the love story part was written with great feeling and emotion. Although in saying this, I did not feel like crying or shouting at the book (or throwing at my cat who would have ignored me for weeks if I had done that...again!). The love story is beginning to take a new turn, though, so we may possibly see some of this emotion from my stomach (heart?!) in the later books.
Unfortunately, there is a large amount of predictability in this book compared with the first, which in this case, was a little off-putting and annoying, though among this there are many elements which are surprising and even a little shocking - enough to keep me on my toes.
So what makes this book any different to other books along these lines?
The first book was so different that its uniqueness made it completely refreshing and different to many things I have read before, and although the story continues in this book, it lacks the originality that the first book held. The surface layer of story is still very different in a number of ways due to the characters, creatures and scenes, though the main, underlying story has been seen many times before.
One thing which I find very important in a book is the ending. A story can be written perfectly, though if the ending is wrong, then it gives me a really terrible feel to the whole book, almost as though I feel my time was wasted reading it, even if I did enjoy the rest of the story.
So how does the ending of this book compare?
The ending was probably the best part of the book. It was energetic and exciting and brought back the feel from the first book, though it could have been much more than it was. I was expecting fireworks with rockets and Catherine wheels, and I got a few smaller fireworks with some sparklers! It was enough to make me want to read on to the next book, though, so it did something right!
The story was 359 pages long, with a few pages at the end to give us an insight into how the authors mind works which was quite interesting.
"I could have taken a nap instead of waiting for you to finally show up. What took you so long human? Did you walk?"
This book is certainly not flawless, and it lacked a lot of excitement that the first book held, though the story and characters combined was enough to keep me reading until the very end, and at many of a time, I did find some excitement brewing.
This is the second book in the Iron Fey series which contains four books with numerous novellas in between.
*** EXTRA ***
If a novella is long enough, I will usually make a separate long review for it, though the novella between book one and two is only a mere 49 pages so it can not really be called a book as such, so I thought I would add it here for fans of this series.
Please bare in mind that you do not need to read the novellas to enjoy this series, though occasionally you will find missing scenes and insight in which is missing from the main books. This particular novella holds a missing scene which falls between the two main books and follows Ash and Meghan as they journey towards the Winter Court.
'Winter's Passage' unfortunately focuses a lot of recapping from the first book, and as I had only just read this, I felt this recapping was too much, especially as it took up half the novella! This of course, left a mere 25 to 30 pages of story, hardly worth the time and effort in a lot of ways, though still a very nice little read once you get past the annoying parts!
As with the first book in the series, it had the excitement and energy which we had become accustomed to, though lacked the over-crowdedness that this first book held, which made it a more relaxing read, and much better in my opinion.
Only a few characters appear in this book, and although one of my favourite characters in the triangle is absent, we see a little more of the other two, and not forgetting the best character of all - Grim the Cat! All characters are written as well as they are in the main books with fantastic personalities and humour combined with seriousness. At this point, readers will have their favourites and start to empathise with one or many of these, and this novella certainly helps with this!
A three star rating from me for this novella due to length, recapping and flow problems!
My reviews on this series can be found on Ciao and my book blog; http:elfie-books.blogspot.co.uk