Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Winter's Passage (Iron Fey #1.5) by Julie Kagawa

There isn’t really a plot to summarise of this story – this is Meghan’s travel from her home to Tir Na Nog to fulfil the contract she made with Ash.

This novella is a nice bridge book.

It doesn’t exist to advancer the plot per se. Nor really to develop the characters. Puck, Meghan and Ash are the same people in this book as they were in the last book. You don’t need to read this book.

But it does elegantly take you from the end of The Iron King to the beginning of The Iron Daughter without having to slow down the beginning of the next book with unnecessary travel or having a huge jarring leap from one scene to the next. It’s a bridge book

Along the way it helps fill in a few of the gaps – checking on Puck where he rested in his tree, a little revisit with Grimalkin just to add to his omnipresent mystery. And it added a little depth and texture to Ash and Meghan’s relationship. Since that relationship was pretty fastforwarded in the last book, I appreciate some attempt to flesh it out into something more meaningful, even if it is awfully fast.

It also reiterates a theme that will be important in the next book – how emotion is a weakness in the Unseelie court, how Mab and Ash’s brothers are Not Nice People and how Ash doesn’t look forward to coming home and they need to carefully hide their relationship or, better yet, call the whole thing off and recognise it as doomed to failure.

This message is important for the next book when Meghan IGNORES IT ENTIRELY!

We also get heavily reminded that Ash is the supreme Prince of emo moping, Lord of pouting, Grand Duke of the Sulk and Knight of the Order of Passive Aggressive Silent Treatment. It’s not endearing. Which also adds layers of insecurity and “waaaah he doesn’t really love me” to Meghan. It’s important to get these fixes now so you are not completely smacked with it in the next book

Romance does not bring out the best of either of these characters.

A far better element is more examination of the Nevernever, a truly great examination of Tir Na Nog, the Unseelie realm and some of the uber creepy denizens of the land. Throw in Wolf, which is just truly epic and an awesome concept and this book is redeemed from the romantic trainwreck rumbling away between the main characters. Just the extra flare and sparkle it adds to Tir Na Nog makes it a worthy read.

It’s quick easy read, with some decent excitement and a fun development of the world – a shame that there’s a headache worthy romance ruining it. It’s a good novella and serves a decent purpose and doesn’t feel stuffed in – it works, but if you missed it you wouldn’t be missing too much.