So when I downloaded Julie Kagawa’s novella Winter’s Passage, I wasn’t real excited. I read a little background about the overall storyline: this novella takes place between two of Kagawa’s full-length novels that are part of the Iron Fey series. And then I began reading the novella. . .
. . .and immediately, I was hooked. In half-mortal/half-fairy Meghan Chase and the handsome yet icy Prince Ash, Kagawa has created attractive, interesting characters whose passion and interaction transcend the genre of their story. The adventures are fast-paced and yet easy to follow: I found myself picturing the settings for each scene and fascinated with the juxtaposition of so-called reality (aka the mortal world) and fantasy (the realm of fairies and other fey creatures).
The background of the story is not particularly original: unbeknownst to her, Meghan is the child of the fairy king Oberon (who will be familiar to some from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream) and a mortal mother. This makes her half-fairy, which explains much of the weirdness that has transpired in her life thus far. If this sounds familiar, you’re right: it’s roughly the same premise as that behind the hugely popular Percy Jackson series. But somehow Kagawa makes it all new.
Oberon is not the only character from Shakespeare’s famous play to make an appearance in the series. Prince Ash, who is both Meghan’s captor and her love interest, is the son of Queen Mab, ruler of the Winter Court (Oberon reigns in the Summer Court; as his daughter, Meghan is truly the complete opposite of Ash). And even Robin Goodfellow—or Puck, as he is sometimes known—is referenced as Meghan’s best friend and protector.
Kagawa deftly weaves the background of this part of the story into the novella. Apparently Meghan became aware of her unique heritage when her fully-mortal younger half-brother is kidnapped by a rival of King Oberon—the Iron King, who is part of a new breed of fey, created through technology. Meghan is forced to travel through dangerous new worlds and meet frightening creatures that she never knew existed out of the pages of fairy tales.
In the course of attempting to rescue her brother, Meghan meets and ultimately makes a bargain with Prince Ash, third son of Queen Mab, who has been tasked with capturing Meghan and bringing her to the Winter Court. If he helps her find her brother and return him to safety, Meghan will go willingly with Prince Ash. While on this journey, against all odds, the daughter of the Summer Court and the son of the Winter Court fall in love.
The novella begins at the point that Meghan surrenders herself to Prince Ash for the long and treacherous trip to the Winter Court. Of course, nothing goes smoothly, and their journey, chronicled in this short work, sets up the danger Meghan faces upon her fateful meeting with Queen Mab.
I savored each word in this story, and I’ve already ordered the first book in the Iron Fey series. While I still might not be a fan of all fantasy books, I was totally and completely enthralled with Kagawa’s characters and plot. Her writing is appealing, and her settings enticing.
Be prepared to be pulled into the fey!
Download your FREE copy of the Novella Here