Friday, January 28, 2011
Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa
Winter's Passage (Iron Fey, #1.5)
by Julie Kagawa
Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl...until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck--Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon--who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.
Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter--a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat....
Winter's Passage is a novella that takes place between the events of The Iron King and The Iron Daughter. In The Iron King, Meghan makes a deal to come to the Winter Court with Prince Ash (a foolish deal, as she is a member of the Summer Court, making the Winter Court a very dangerous place for her, on many levels). The Iron Daughter finds her already at the Winter Court, and about to find herself in a world of trouble.
This novella is the tale between the two, of how Meghan and Ash came to the Winter Court, and the dangers they faced on the way as they are stalked by one of the most formidable opponents in the Nevernever, the Wolf.
I talked in my reviews of each about how I wasn't a huge fan of the first book, but thought the second grew quite a bit; being between the two chronologically also meant that it was between the two in strength and style. Some of the pet peeves I had with The Iron King are still there in Winter's Passage, but it is a (small) step closer to the level of The Iron Daughter. I still rolled my eyes at some of the interactions between Meghan and Ash (and other characters), and the resolution was anticlimactic, to say the least. But Kagawa's strength of interesting world-building is there, and I did enjoy Meghan's introduction to the icy world of the Winter Court.
One thing that did keep cropping up in my mind, though, was the impression that this originally started as the beginning of book 2. As short as it is, there were times (near the beginning especially) that I felt it lagged, and that the story as a whole was just another adventure in line with all the rest, almost as if Kagawa had written straight through, from the ending of book 1, through the novella, and onto book 2 -- and that the novella didn't become a novella until a certain point in book 2 when it was deemed that the first bit was plodding and not necessary or strong enough, and was thus chopped., to get right into the action. And then the decision was made to call it a novella, because why waste all of those pages? I'm not saying this is what happened, because I really don't know, but it just didn't feel like it was something that was planned and set out to accomplish, or that it was even a needed addition -- just something to keep the buzz alive, you know?
All told, I think I may have been at a bit of a disadvantage in reading this, having already read The Iron Daughter -- I know she shows up safely to the Winter Court, because she's there. This meant that I couldn't take the danger too seriously in Winter's Passage, and this held me back a little bit from caring or worrying. Because of this -- and the feeling that maybe it was originally something left on the cutting room floor -- it made the novella feel a little like a throwaway: good for fans of the series who can't get enough, but just sort of meh, otherwise. I think a lot of people who really liked the first book, though, will find this a nice bridge between the two.
Read Winter's Passage for free here! (I'd get it now, if I were you; the link is supposed to go dead in April of this year, at which point it will stop being free...)