Wednesday, April 13, 2011

36 of 111 The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (also don't judge a book by it's genre)

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, iron-bound 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 alone 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.

First, some thoughts about YA romances

As I've said before, I have a fear of second novels in YA series. I had to think about why this it and I came up with a couple of possible reasons. Mainly I think because a HEA (Happily Ever After) is difficult to have in a YA book since the characters are usually too young and/or inexperienced to get married etc, second books often create tension between the two characters that feels forced or unrealistic. this causes one or both characters to behave unrealistically or just really annoyingly. If the plot beyond the romance isn't interesting enough, it becomes uncomfortable to read. The example in my head is Nora in Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. In  Hush, Hush, the first in the series, Nora was likable and the plot was interesting, the romance with Patch was enjoyable because there was more to Nora than just an obsession with the new boy. In Crescendo, Nora was all over the place. She was so obsessed with Patch that it was embarrassing to read. There would be moments of good, then long stretches of ugh. I was writing the series off as I was reading it, but the ending made a great comeback and now I'm curious to read the next book, Silence when it is released late this year.

My two favorite YA series are The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine and The Madison Avery Books by Kim Harrison.
Kim Harrison is an excellent writer with The Hollows series and her Madison Avery books are an interesting alternative to many YA books out there. They focus on Madison's job/place in the universe more so than romance. I'm not sure that they are deep or thought-provoking, but they are a  nice way to pass the time.
The Morganville Vampires are one of the most consistently good YA series. Rachel Caine pushes Claire, the heroine through some pretty crazy situations. This is another series that doesn't place all the focus on Claire's love life. She has a boyfriend, Shane, as yes, she obsesses over him, but only in a normal teenage way. She's not stalkerish. Claire is also very smart and works for the Vampires who run Morganville. She has a complicated life that isn't getting any easier. I've enjoyed every book in this series and I'm curious to see where it will go. Each book is short, but they don't condescend or preach. If I was going to recommend any YA Vampire series, this would be it.

Now to Iron Daughter

Having just read Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning, the Fae in this series are so different it was a little jarring. Ash, the hero of The Iron Fey Series is an Unseelie prince, and it the Fever Series the Unseelie princes are pure selfish evil. The Unseelie are still dark, scary and cold in the Iron Fey books, and I liked seeing the Winter Court at the beginning of this book. I live in Canada, and where I live it's supposed to snow (again!) today and tomorrow. Since it's been Wintery since last September, I could (sadly) imagine all to easily living in the Winter Court.
I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the plot picked up where The Iron King left off, with the mystery of the Iron Fey deepening and Meghan and Ash's romance growing too. The romantic tension between these too was very real and the consequences of their falling in love severe. Meghan is likable if a little naive at times. All of the secondary characters are great. Ash, as a love interest is dark-angry-bad-boy-with-a-secret-beautiful-soul perfection. Puck is a nice mix of friend/something more. these also Grim, whose definitely up to more than we know, and Iron Horse, who makes a great return in this second book to become a thoroughly entertaining character (every thing he says is WRITTEN IN CAPITALS). I'm curious to see what happens next and will definitely be reading The Iron Queen soon and looking forward to The Iron Knight when it is released.
This is the kind of series that makes me continue to read YA. A good story is more than that genre it's labelled in.

4 out of 5

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