Note: There are of necessity spoilers for Book One in this series, but none for this book, Book Two.
This is Book Two in the Iron Fey series. (See my review of Book One, The Iron King, here.) In the previous book, we were introduced to Meghan Chase, age 16, who discovered she is actually the half-fey daughter of Oberon, King of the Summer Faery Court. She also learned her BFF Robbie was actually Robin Goodfellow, or Puck, sent by Oberon to protect her. She stumbled upon these truths after the abduction of her little brother, Ethan, by a goblin. In the process of rescuing him and returning him home, she also managed to defeat Machina – The Iron King, and to fall in love with Prince Ash, son of Mab, Queen of the Winter Faery Court. Ash had made a contract with Meg to help her defeat The Iron King if she agreed to return with him to Mab’s Court. At the end of Book One, Ash came to Meg’s house to retrieve her. As Book Two starts, Mag is at Mab’s palace, waiting to be summoned.
At the Winter Court of Mab, Ash must pretend not to have any feelings for Meg, because it would be too dangerous for both of them to show such “weakness.” (He warned her he would have to do this, but she still is stunned and devastated by it, seeming not remember that Ash assured her it was only a necessary ploy.) Meg’s doubts lead her to think about taking up with Puck, who has always been in love with her.
Meanwhile, it is time for the yearly exchange of the Scepter of the Seasons, when Oberon’s Summer Court passes power to Mab’s Winter Court. At the ceremony, the scepter is stolen as a result of treachery and infiltration by the Iron Fey. Meg witnesses it, and tries to tell Mab who is responsible, but Mab doesn’t believe her. She blames the Summer Court, declaring war. Moreover, she blocks Meg’s ability to use glamour, or faery magic.
Meg is determined to get the scepter back and stop the war. She, Puck, the sardonic talking fey cat Grimalkin, and their new ally Ironhorse look for assistance from Leanansidhe, a muse of artists and musicians. Leanansidhe lives between fairyland and the human world. She was cast out of the Summer Court by Oberon’s wife, who became jealous of Leanansidhe’s power. Now Leanansidhe calls herself the Queen of the Exiles. She agrees to help, but matters get complicated. One of the Iron King’s lieutenants, appropriately named Virus, has taken over Ash’s mind, and has assigned him the job of killing Meg. Rescuing Ash is added to Meg’s list of impossible assignments….
Evaluation: Although the writing isn’t all that sophisticated, the world building is vivid and creative. Many of the characters are endearing, especially Grimalkin and Ironhorse. Meg is sometimes remarkably dumb, but she’s also incredibly loyal and crazily brave, making her quite likable.
Published by Harlequin Teen, 2010