Let me start by saying that I really loved the first book, The Iron King. I loved Meghan as a character, I loved Ash, and I thought Puck was suspicious in book one. But book two pretty much turned all of my previous notions upside down!
The Iron Daughter begins with Meghan in the Winter Court, as part of her bargain with Ash in book 1. Ash and Meghan did seem to fall for each other in the first book, but Ash was always extremely up front about the fact that they can’t be together. Book two begins pretty much the same way, with Ash telling her that once they get to the court, he cannot be nice to her and has to obey his Queen’s orders, no matter what. This was one of the reasons I liked Ash so much in book 1. He was always honest and up front. And I don’t know how much clearer he could have been, but apparently Meghan lost some brain cells in between book 1 and 2 because she was a complete and utter idiot from the start. She sees Ash for the first time in the court and he’s totally rude to her, which didn’t come as a surprise to me at all because he’s only been warning her about this moment since he met her. But Meghan gets extremely upset and starts thinking that he lured her to the Winter Court under false pretenses and only pretended to love her back and blah blah blah. I have never wanted to slap a character so much! It would have been different if Meghan had always been a stupid girl, but because I liked her so much in the first book, I was completely appalled that she was so dumb in the beginning of book two. Even though the story improved from this beginning, it aggravated me so much. I just don’t understand how Meghan could have interpreted Ash’s feelings in any other way. He was so clear about it.
I could probably rant about Meghan in the beginning of the book some more, but the plot does move on and the rest of the book was pretty great. Puck makes a much needed come back and I started to like him a lot more because he was so refreshing. In book one, I thought Puck was aligned with the Summer Court in the same way that Ash was with the Winter Court, but was less honest about being able to put Meghan first and and I disliked him for this. In this book, I changed my opinion. Puck was such a mischievous character, I think he was honest about putting Meghan first in many situations, while also putting the King of the Summer Court first in others. I think because of who he is, he is able to straddle the line a little differently and was never dishonest about that. I suppose I trusted him a bit more in this book, possibly because he was present for most of the plot. I started to root for him, too, because Ash was getting a little too mopey for me. Maybe I just thought Puck handled not being with Meghan a lot better than Ash was handling it. Ash was just getting on my nerves.
This book was still much more than the silly love triangle between Meghan, Puck, and Ash, though. It was full of action and drama as the the rise of a new Iron King becomes apparent to Meghan, while the Summer and Winter Courts blame each other and begin a war. Old characters from the first book make a reappearance and new, interesting characters are introduced. I liked the new Iron King angle and loved the addition of a previous enemy being an ally in this book. When faced with a real problem, Meghan takes more control and thinks more logically than normal, making her much more likeable again as the story continued.
The ending was extremely heart wrenching and I have a feeling it’s one of those endings you’ll either love or hate. I think I hated it. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, regardless. I have a feeling things didn’t quite end as they seemed. At least I hope so.
As with everything else by Julie Kagawa, this book was well written and descriptive. I am only giving it 3 stars because Meghan got on my nerves. =)