Title: The Iron Daughter
Author: Julie Kagawa
Review: Meghan retrieves the magical Scepter of the Seasons from the Iron Fey to prevent a war between the Summer and Winter Fey and discovers she may have inherited magical powers from the Iron King she killed at the end of Book 1 of this series. Meghan Chase is half-fey, half-human who wishes she and her Winter Fey lover, Ash, could be together in peace without their powerful fey parents intervening. In this story, the world of the Fey (faeries) sits very closely to modern day Earth. In the last book of this series, The Iron King, Meghan finds out that her father is none other than King Oberon, the King of the Summer Fey. When her little brother is mysteriously kidnapped, she gets help from a high-school friend who turns out to be Puck, King Oberon’s servant, ordered to watch over her in the human world. She and Puck are joined by Ash, who is the Prince of the Winter court – a court ruled by Queen Mab. The Summer and Winter courts have traditionally been wary of each other and Ash had been sent by Queen Mab to take Meghan into custody since she thinks that the Summer King was responsible for causing chaos at one of her parties. Throughout their adventures, Ash falls in love with Meghan. Meghan manages to retrieve her brother from the clutches of the Iron King, who rules a new realm that has gained in power since the advent of technology in the human world. By the end of the first book of this series, Meghan has retrieved her little brother and returns to the Winter Court with Ash as promised in her bargain.
The story begins with Meghan trying to convince Queen Mab that the Iron Court exists. Ash, bound by his fealty to his mother, Queen Mab, has started to behave coldly towards Meghan and even asking Meghan not to trust him anymore since he can’t control what Queen Mab may force him to do. Queen Mab doesn’t believe Meghan and in fact, hates Meghan for tempting her own son into dangerous places where he can become weakened from too much iron.
King Oberon and Queen Mab meet to exchange a powerful Sceptor of the Seasons which is a Sceptor that allows one court to rule more strongly over the other. In this case, summer is turning to winter and the sceptor must be given to Queen Mab who is the ruler of the winter court. At the following party, Meghan inadvertently witnesses the assassination of Prince Sage, who is Ash’s brother and was slated to guard the Scepter during the revelries. A minion from the Iron court killed Prince Sage and then took the Scepter. Queen Mab, furious and devastated at the death of her son, blames it on King Oberon and the Summer Court and freezes Meghan in ice.
Later on, Ash frees Meghan and helps her escape the Winter Court. They almost escape when they are confronted by guards sent by Prince Rowan, who is Ash’s older brother. It is revealed that Prince Rowan has pledged allegiance to the new Iron King, a King who has promised him more power than he could ever have as a Prince of the Winter Court. Just when they think they are doomed, Meghan and Ash are saved by Puck. Puck was originally killed in the first book of this series, but he has managed to come back from death in order to be with Meghan again. Puck has always loved Meghan and when he and Meghan kiss, a love triangle forms. Ash, feeling like it might be better that Meghan has nothing more to do with him, leaves them
Meghan, who loves Ash but is confused by his cold attitude towards her is suddenly summoned by the cait sith Grimalkin (Grim), who is a cat-like ancient fey that helped her find her brother in book 1 of the series. Grim tells her he summoned her on behalf of Ironhorse. Ironhorse was a minion of the Iron Court that Meghan had to confront in book 1 of the series, when she traversed into the Iron Realm to save her little brother. Ironhorse is now asking for Meghan’s help to stop the new false king of the Iron Realm. In exchange, he will help Meghan retrieve the Scepter. Meghan agrees and they set out to Silicon Valley, where the Scepter was last heard of.
In order to get to Silicon Valley, Meghan has to cross a treacherous place called the Briars, which is a sentient and sadistic thorny hedge. There are many “trods” – or magical pathways – that originate from the Briars and lead to various locations on Earth. While in the Briars, Meghan and her group are joined by a bunch of humans who do the bidding of the Queen of the Exiles, Queen Leanansidhe (Queen Lea). The kids convince Meghan that Queen Lea can help her on her quest and bring Meghan and her group to Queen Lea’s mansion in the Between, which is the veil between the Nevernever (a.k.a. fairyland) and the human world. Queen Lea proves very helpful, as she has an extensive spy network. She agrees to help Meghan because she sees her exiled subjects suffering if the Iron Fey gain power.
Queen Lea tells Meghan that the sceptor is hidden specifically at a software corporation called SciCorp which is located in downtown San Jose. She helps Meghan get a makeover and new clothes so that she can disguise herself as an employee of SciCorp. Meghan and her group sneak into SciCorp and find the lair of the new Iron King which is on floor 29.5 and is accessible only when you punch in the right series of elevator buttons. Once they are there, they are confronted by a powerful Iron Fey called Virus. Virus has implanted a “bug” into Ash’s brain which rewrites his brain and forces him to do her bidding. Ash almost kills Meghan and her group but they manage to escape just in time. They agree that Ash is dangerous and must be killed.
Meghan and Puck split up to find Ash and kill him while Ironhorse and Grim stay behind at SciCorp to monitor the situation. Ash has gone to Meghan’s house in Louisiana, and has encased her whole house along with her parents and brother in ice. Puck severely wounds Ash which causes Virus’ bug to escape its host and end up getting squished under Puck’s shoe. Ash is severely wounded and must be treated by a Healer. Meghan finds out that her old school nurse is a healer and a half-fey, herself. The healer tells Meghan that Ash needs to absorb human emotion or he’ll die. Everyone dresses up in their fancy ballgowns and suits to attend Meghan’s Winter Formal at her high school, where emotions are running high. Once Ash is cured, Grim appears and takes them all back to Silicon Valley.
Here, they confront Virus again. Ironhorse causes a distraction which ends up with him fatally injured. Meanwhile, Meghan and Ash try to find the Scepter. Meghan discovers she has powers to control the Iron Fey and she stops Virus’ swarm of bugs from attacking. They end up killing Virus and retrieving the Scepter. Meghan brings the Scepter to Queen Mab on the Reaping Fields, just as Queen Mab and King Oberon are about to engage in war. The truth about the existence of the Iron Fey is finally believed. Just as Meghan thinks everything might be resolved, now, she and Ash are exiled by their parents who disapprove of their love for each other. The story ends with Meghan and Ash simply happy that they have each other.
I didn’t like this story because I thought it read like a silly self-absorbed story about a girl who seems to entrance every single male being in her proximity for no reason whatsoever. Love triangles abound, powerful beings insist on flirting with the main character, and the whole world seems to be interested in Meghan and what she’s up to. I feel like the author was also trying to convince us that Meghan is a heroine to be admired, but honestly, most of the time when there something scary going on, Meghan was crying or screaming for Ash or Puck to help her. I was not convinced she was deserving of any respect as a heroine, whatsoever.
My favorite scene was when Meghan and Ash are banished from the Winter and Summer Courts at the end of the book for daring to love each other, when traditionally Summer and Winter Fey are enemies if not hostile towards each other. Now, maybe Meghan will stop emotionally torturing Puck and just finally be together with her broody boyfriend, Ash.
I disliked Meghan Chase because of the damsel-in-distress vibe she was constantly sending out that was in huge contrast to how the narrative was trying to convince me she was some tough fighter girl chick. I hope that the next book in the series will portray Meghan in a better light, now that she has gained some rudimentary powers over the Iron Fey.
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