The Flooze's Reviews > The Iron Daughter

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
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Jun 12, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: urban-fantasy-paranormal, owned, vanquished_2011, ya_teen
Read from May 09 to 12, 2011 , read count: 1

**6.12.2011 ETA: Finished book three and this is one of the most frustrating YA series I've read to date. If you've no tolerance for angsty, bratty, obtuse heroines, steer right clear of it.**


When I first read The Iron King I enjoyed it. I found Ash intriguing, Puck endearing, Grim deliciously mysterious, and the iron fey’s origins refreshing. I applauded Kagawa for conceptualizing a breed of fey borne of our obsession with technology. I noticed obvious similarities between The Iron King and the movie Labyrinth, but they didn’t prevent me from appreciating the story as a whole.

Time passed and friends read the book. In their reviews I found references to other works - plot points they’d come across before in movies, books, and manga - and I decided to lower my rating. Nevertheless, I still clung to the idea that these concerns fell into the FBS zone. Surely the second book would heighten my opinion of the series and distinguish it from other YA.

It surely did not.

Though I still enjoy the concept of the iron fey and the destruction their technology brings to a magic-dependant realm, The Iron Daughter was such a frustrating read that I may abandon the series. My exasperation can be summed up in one word: Meghan.

Apparently, our heroine is a fickle, emotionally-charged idiot. Time and again, her angsty cries defy all logic and she comes off as completely self-absorbed. Some examples? Gladly. (Slight spoilers for the trajectory of the romance.)
- Ash explains he cannot show kindness towards her at Mab’s court because any weakness will be preyed upon. Yet when he publicly behaves in a boorish manner, she decides that he played her, anguishes over his rejection and begs him to snatch her up in an embrace in front of all of Winter. Waaah, I thought I was special, she cries. Guess that warning went in one ear and out the other. He shouldn’t have wasted his breath.
- Ash makes an attempt to rescue her from Mab’s cruelty. Meghan chooses this tense, time-sensitive occasion to have a hissy fit in a hall, putting them at risk of getting caught. This is made all the worse by her admission that she’s being an idiot, preventing me from ever having any sympathy for her again.
- Meghan learns of numerous precautions Ash put into place (at great risk to himself) to ensure her well-being, yet she still considers the possibility that he used glamour to manipulate her affections.
- And the most confounding moment: Her love, for whom her soul was crying earlier on, sits in a corner dying. Instead of heeding Puck’s repeated statement that the boy needs a healer, Meghan takes the time to browse her CD collection and interrogate a bogey. Zero sense of urgency. But when they reach the healer, she bullies the woman into helping because her darling man doesn’t have much time left. Where was this fearsome concern over the passage of time, this “heart-twisting” worry, when she was quizzing the bogey under the bed?

Add to this the all too common love triangle. Not two minutes after going into a lengthy tirade about how she longs for Ash, Meghan actually thinks, “Why not try with Puck?” Why is this convention so frequently used in YA? Are teen emotions really this changeable in the writer’s eyes? In my experience, it’s the opposite. When a teenager finds someone to pine over, crush on, lust after they become absolutely fixated. Especially when the object of fixation is set in a Romeo and Juliette, us against the world, light.

Moreover, what do Puck and Ash see in her? It’s a common complaint across the UF genre: too often writers create a heroine with multiple suitors, only to fail to justify her allure to the reader. Other than Meghan’s odd powers and her unthinking willingness to tumble headlong into trouble, there’s nothing that sets her apart. The only character whose fascination I can understand is Grim - for him, it’s like a front row seat at a train wreck or the Jerry Springer show. Why shouldn’t he amuse himself?

As an aside, Puck and Ash’s relationship is far more deserving of discussion than Meghan’s relationship with either. As one character observes: “They’re either best friends or darkest enemies, I can’t tell which.” Neither can we, since they’re the embodiment of the fine line between love and hate. Forget Meghan - these two boys are perfect fodder for some slashy fanfic (making mental note to check the interwebs later).

Back to Grimalkin. These characters would be dead - many times over - without his help. He repeatedly pops in at the eleventh hour to save them, picking up the slack in their poorly conceived plans. Grim’s disdain-riddled comment that Ash, Meghan and Puck are “the hope of the NeverNever” is all too valid. With these illogical, inept children next in line to take up the mantle, Faery seems doomed regardless.

Grim’s timely interventions raise another problem: convenient plot points abound. Kagawa also frequently halts the action so she can insert some new twist, leading to scenes that feel forced and unnatural in context (a day trip to a spa comes to mind - frankly, every scene with the new character, Lea, seems out of place). (view spoiler)

I remain impressed with Kagawa’s flair for economical yet highly-detailed descriptions of settings, but why must she resort to stale repetition for characters’ appearances and emotions? Disappointing.

Were this series a trilogy, I would willingly pick up the next book for the resolution of the iron fey plot. After all, the developments on that front were enough to keep me reading this installment. However, I notice that there is a fourth book on the horizon, and who knows how many more to follow. At this juncture, I’m not convinced the series is deserving of the time investment. Meghan sets my teeth on edge, and I can’t imagine her improving. This is going on the Maybe Later pile. Way, way later.
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Reading Progress

05/09 page 1
0.0% "Hoping for more originality this time around." 2 comments
05/11 page 27
8.0% "In the space of a few paragraphs, her stomach twisted, her heart jumped to her throat, her heart pounded, and her stomach turned nervous backflips. Someone get her antacid, then shock her with some paddles." 2 comments
05/11
38.0% "'My soul cried out for Ash, for his courage and determination; for the way his eyes thawed when he looked at me, as if I were the only person in the world; for that beautiful, wounded spirit I saw beneath the cold exterior he showed the world.' -Bless. Anyone got a spoon handy? Do me a solid and gag me with it." 7 comments
05/11
57.0% "Nooooo. A SPA?! People are dying, there are evil forces to be vanquished, and we are stopping for a SPA appointment? You have got to be shitting me." 2 comments
05/12
76.0% "So the guy that your soul was crying out for earlier? He's bleeding to death, and in desperate need of a healer. Obviously this is the perfect time to browse your CD collection, then have a hissy fit." 4 comments
03/23 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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message 1: by Laura Lulu (new)

Laura Lulu Eh, I hated this series from the 1st book--I see it took you until the second. ;)


The Flooze I keep trying to finish my review. The main problem was the romance. So very irritating!

If it were a trilogy, I would've read the last just to see how the Iron Fey aspect played out, but I notice there's a fourth book coming. Blech.


Greta is Erikasbuddy Did you know there is a 4th book coming out (The Iron Knitght) ? And that Puck is going to get his own summer novella this... (duhs lolz) summer?

I haven't read the third one yet either.

But awesome review!!

I too wanted to smack Meghan. Good grief she boo-hooed alot then wanted Ash to pay attention to her when he was like "Look chick! I can't do that cuz Mom will see. Do you really want our parents fighting again? Just let me brood over here till she's gone then I'll take you to Pier 1".. or that's what I took from it ;)

I do intend on reading the next one... I just haven't gotten there yet.

I think Puck and Ash's relationship is kinda like Picard and Q's. Ya know? Like, they don't dig each other but they tolerate each other and if they have to they'll be mean to each other but that doesn't mean they won't hook up later for a drink or a MEghan smacking (which is a favorite sport of the Fey)

I freaking ADORE Grim!! I want him to get his own book. He's bascailly the series for me. If they offed Grimm in an evil "oops! I ran over your cat" scene then I probably wouldn't read any more.

I haven't ever seen Labyrinth... you've totally made me curious. I'll have to borrow it from the library soon.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

It’s a common complaint across the UF genre: too often writers create a heroine with multiple suitors, only to fail to justify her allure to the reader.

So true! I haven't read the second (not for all the tea in China), but I thought this in the first book. She is LAME.


The Flooze Lame, indeed, darling. It makes me think of Eugenie from Mead's Dark Swan series and I'm sure I can dredge up more examples. Well...all of Mead's heroines apply, really. The multiple suitor thing only satisfies our wayward fantasies if we can see some of ourselves in the lead they're chasing after. Otherwise, it's another case of "Good Lord, men are imbeciles driven only by their peenies."

Greta, I realised after writing my review that the third sorta wraps it up and the fourth is from Ash's POV.

Although the book titles alone sorta tell me where the story is going. I don't like that.

Since Ash/Puck and Grim are the enjoyable characters, the idea of a book focusing solely on them might drive me to read the remaining installments. I'm curious to see how she fares writing from a different gender perspective.

I'm also wondering whether a teen reader would be just as frustrated with Meghan's lack of understanding. I should troll the reviews and see if there are any kiddies writing on it.

Picard and Q. Lol. I think there's a lil more mutual love than that, but yes, I do see what you mean. Ha.

WATCH LABYRINTH!! I can't believe you haven't seen it! David Bowie's package is a character unto itself. He's got a whole bowl of fruit down there.


Greta is Erikasbuddy Fo shizzle? The fourth book is Ash's pov? Like is it when he met Meg or are they continuing the story? Is that her Midnight SUn?

I'll go watch Labyrinth ;) Yes... I'm the kinda person that missed out on a ton of 80s movies. With a mother like mine its amazing that I got to see A Neverending Story let alone the Carebears movie.


The Flooze I can't remember Neverending Story clearly, though I know I was obsessed with it at the time and I think it made me cry...or was that the sequel. Hmn.

Labyrinth is a Jim Henson film, so I guess my mom deemed it safe. Though with that package floating around, she shouldn't have! You'll die laughing. The puppetry is fantastic, and Bowie is perfect as The Goblin King. There are even cheesy 80s tunes!

The fourth is Ash's POV. It's a continuation of the story. Which irks me because it was meant to be a trilogy, but as I said I'm still curious because of the change in main character!


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "Lame, indeed, darling. It makes me think of Eugenie from Mead's Dark Swan series and I'm sure I can dredge up more examples. Well...all of Mead's heroines apply, really. The multiple suitor thing o..."

The other problem I have with the under-developed heroine is when she's all action and no introspection-- you know, when it's all kickass, kickass, have sex and Terribly Meaningful Moment with the lad, and then back to the kickass. No inner monologue, just act and react. Drives me mental.

Ooo Bowie in labyrinth, pure sex god. His eyeliner action alone still makes me swoon today.


message 9: by The Flooze (last edited May 20, 2011 10:31PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

The Flooze There was eyeliner? I wasn't aware anyone ever moved their eyes away from his crotch...

Heh heh.

Ugh. No introspection, no growth, and no real connect with the character because we don't get to know here! That gets me through maybe one book, but after that you have to show me how the person is affected by events. Why should I care about a chick who is all flash and no substance? Grrrr.

Makes me even more hopeful you'll like Kate Daniels! Because she's kick-ass AND thinky!
::fingers crossed::


Iced Snowberries I agree with your whole review! Great job at verbalizing my feelings :P


The Flooze Thank you! :)


Den ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Yeehah! Most accurate review of The Iron Daughter ever =)
I am curious about The Iron Knight too... but I'm afraid it would be just 400 pages of Ash angsting over Meghan :X


The Flooze Thanks! :)

Ugh. I'm afraid of the same thing. Since the short, Summer's Crossing, is focused on the boys (and FREE) maybe that will give us a clue what we're in for?


message 14: by collie (new) - added it

collie I just ranted pretty much everything you said on the phone to a friend of mine about half an hour ago. I'm so very glad to see that I'm not alone in my frustration with these books, and the genre in general.


Den ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "Thanks! :)

Ugh. I'm afraid of the same thing. Since the short, Summer's Crossing, is focused on the boys (and FREE) maybe that will give us a clue what we're in for?"


Haven't you read Summer's Crossing? I read it and, eh, while there was no Meghan in it (which was definitely a good point) I wasn't that impressed with it. The language was simple and repetitive, and Puck looked much more stupid than he really is. Kagawa apparently didn't put much effort in writing it. The Leanansidhe mission was the best thing about it, but I felt it could have been better developed. So, I don't know, but if Summer's Crossing can be a clue, The Iron Knight would be bearable, with some nice adventures. However, it is well known that Ash is much angstier than Puck.


message 16: by Vanyel (new)

Vanyel Kane WATCH LABYRINTH!! I can't believe you haven't seen it! David Bowie's package is a character unto itself. He's got a whole bowl of fruit down there.

Oh yes Bowie is worth staying for in that film. Gorgeous man.

Sadly I was worried about this series going in this dumb direction I think I may borrow it from the library


message 17: by Cat (new) - rated it 1 star

Cat I'm halfway through this book and Meg hitting my nerves in exactly all the spots you mentioned in this review. I get so irritated when for a full chapter all she does is complain and whimper in a corner. It's absolutely ridiculous and I want to punch her in the face.


message 18: by Cat (new) - rated it 1 star

Cat *Meg is


The Flooze So frustrating. Especially since there are some good ideas in the series!


Sandy This review was nothing short of awesome. You've summed up my thoughts EXACTLY.


The Flooze Thanks! It's always nice to find out I'm not alone! :)


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