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The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael…
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The Iron Dragon's Daughter

by Michael Swanwick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: World of the Iron Dragon (Book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1553311,675 (3.77)43
A New York Times Notable Book: "Combining cyberpunk's grit with dystopic fantasy, this iconoclastic hybrid is a standout piece of storytelling" (Library Journal). Jane is trapped as a changeling in an industrialized Faerie ruled by aristocratic high elves and populated by ogres, dwarves, night-gaunts, and hags. She is the only human in a factory where underage forced labor builds cybernetic, magical dragons that are weaponized and sent off to war. When the damaged dragon Melanchthon tempts Jane with promises of freedom, the stage is set for a daring escape that will shake the foundations of existence.   Combining alchemy and technology, a coming-of-age story like no other, The Iron Dragon's Daughter takes place against a dystopic mindscape of dark challenges and class struggles that force Jane to make costly decisions at every turn.   A finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and the 1994 Locus Award, The Iron Dragon's Daughter a is one-of-a-kind melding of grimdark fantasy and cyberpunk grit from the Nebula Award-winning author of Stations of the Tide. It engages the reader in a nihilistic world in which nothing is as it seems and everything comes at a steep and often horrific price.… (more)
Recently added byscottyn73, Nasman, private library, benjamin_oc, leebill, revalkorn, mick745
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» See also 43 mentions

English (32)  Finnish (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Fantastic. There's a full review in me somewhere, and when I get around to really digesting this book, I'll probably write it. For now I'll say this: Unlike any fantasy novel I've ever read. ( )
  Ubiquitine | Nov 24, 2018 |
More like 4 1/2. The book meanders a little bit, but I really liked the protagonist and I loved the world-building. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
I enjoyed the beginning of this, although it confused me. I enjoyed the premise, and the dragon, and although the darkness and grimness of the setting had me on edge, I could appreciate the fact that it did so. If that makes sense. It wasn't my preferred type of setting – I like there to be just a little light somewhere, and I admit I do prefer to like a character or two in what I'm reading – but it was well done and fascinating.

I was confused because it's never explicitly stated where and/or when this book is set. There are elves and dragons and invisible boys, but one of the elves wears an Italian suit. I don't recall any of the characters mentioned being plain vanilla humans (although I think Jane was perceived as one?), but the young ones (those not enslaved in factories, at least) still have to go to school. And the teind is a thing, treated alarmingly like The Bachelorette. But, again, I could appreciate the craft, whether I enjoyed it or not.

It was when Jane, our heroine who allies herself with the title's iron dragon, gets out into the world and into school that the book took a sharp downward turn for me. It actually got darker and darker – the world that this is set in is a horrifying, dismal, dangerous, ugly place, and Jane – understandably not a sweet and wholesome girl to start with – adapts to the horror and darkness and danger in ways that made her more and more difficult to read about. A line which perfectly captured it was "For all that she’d had no great expectations for it, sex was turning out to be even more squalid, tawdry, and cynical than she had suspected it would." I gave up somewhere around the 50% point, I believe – I just couldn't push through. This is not due to the book – it's a case of "it's not you it's me". I just didn't enjoy it. My decision about rating a book I don't finish is always case by case. There are times I won't leave a rating. If the book is dreadful enough that I can't or just won't finish it, I'm not going to hesitate to express that in the rating: it's usually going to be a single star. If I fail to finish a book because it's simply not to my taste, it's usually two-starrer. I think I'm just going to leave this one starless – what I appreciated was very good. The rise and fall of the meryons was marvelous. I am sorry not to find out what happens. But I got out because I was beginning to feel soiled reading it.

A quote and an idea that I did love:
“So you’re saying … that I’m living a story in which I don’t get financial aid? Is that it?”
He shook his head. “It’s not you. The secretary is living a story in which she doesn’t give you financial aid. It’s a subtle distinction, but a crucial one. It gives you an out.”

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.
  Stewartry | Jul 19, 2017 |
The nadir of dark fantasy ( )
  ZoneSeek | Mar 3, 2017 |
Just read parts of
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Swanwickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Taylor, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallejo, DorianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The changeling's decision to steal a dragon and escape was born, though she did not know it then, the night the children met to plot the death of their supervisor.
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