Iron Daughter by Julia Kagawa
2010; Harlequin Teen
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.
I really enjoyed Iron Daughter. Even more than I liked Iron King. The biggest improvement in the sequel is Meghan. In Iron King, I thought she was simpering and boring (Meghan and I got off to a bad start when she went after the football star out of her school who was both a jerk and way out of her league). Now, she is self-confident and strong. She grew into these characteristics throughout the course of Iron King, but I had to slog through pages of annoying Meghan before she turned into a really cool girl. Now we have a great female protagonist right from the beginning.
Iron Daughter is full of action. Some new danger or adventure faces Meghan in every chapter. The conflict in this book begins early when the new Iron King steals the Scepter of Seasons and kills the oldest Winter Prince; Meghan is the only witness. No one believes that the Iron fey are still a presence, and it is up to her to seek the return of the scepter.
Thankfully we see lots of our favorite love interests, Ash and Puck. Ash begins the book by acting horribly toward Meghan. He insisted that all his feelings toward her were merely a farce. The betrayal actually made the book hard to read at first. But things progress quickly from there. I still don't like Puck all that much. He is slightly less irritating than he was in the first book, but I just don't see him as a good love interest. It's probably because the funny best friend stereotype has always irritated me.
I really admire the complexity of the faerie world that Kagawa has built. All the different creatures, lands, and customs turned my head in the first book. I've become accustomed to it somewhat in the second book, but there's still so much to learn. I feel like I could reread this book numerous times and pick out new details each time.
All in all, Iron Daughter is a great sequel to Iron King!
Rating: 4 / 5