Michael's Reviews > The Iron Dragon's Daughter

The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick
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's review
Jul 28, 2011

liked it

I started out liking this book. The story was intriguing and interesting. But somewhere along the way, Swanwick's literary magic took a few turns into the bizarre. A very dark novel that mixes elves and dwarves with politics and religion in a dark urban fantasy where machines are living breathing creatures including an iron dragon hell bent on destroying God (or the Goddess as portrayed in the novel). A heavy dose of nihilism mixed with alchemy and and magic could have made an excellent read. And does, for about 2/3rds of the story. But somewhere after Tiend (an evening of complete destruction and mayhem) the story loses steam. I found the ending to be disappointing and unsatisfying.

The Iron Dragon's Daughter was one of Swanwick's earlier works, so I'm going to be a bit forgiving here. I do like his writing style. The complexity of his writing may be off putting to some who like their fantasies and science fiction unencumbered by heavier language. I found that his words sung from the page, even if the plot at times seemed to veer into the bizarre.

I also enjoyed the development of the main character, Jane and her relationship to her iron dragon, Melanchthon. (Note: the name Melanchthon is also the name of the leader of the German reformation and a friend of Martin Luther, which should come as no surprise given what this character wanted to accomplish.) I just wish there more satisfying resolution between the two.

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