Eugenie Markham has started coming to terms with being the daughter of the legendary faerie Storm King, and is even getting used to ruling her own faerie kingdom, the Thorn Land. She's not entirely keen with the amount of time she has to spend there, as it cuts into her day job of being a shaman who banishes ghosts, spirits, faeries that have crossed over to the human world and so forth, as that's what pays her bills in the human world. Her roommate is starting to get annoyed with her, as is her assistant, who spend more time sniping at each other over the phone when Eugenie's not there to take her calls in person. She's enjoying her relationship with Dorian, King of the Oak Land, rather a lot, but they both find it a bit wearying that warriors keep showing up pretending to have killed Eugenie.
Most of all, Eugenie want to make peace with Queen Katrice of a rival land (who is naturally pissed because of the events at the end of Thorn Queen. Dorian and Eugenie's forces are tied up in what looks to be a long, gruelling and time-consuming struggle, and every day, more innocents die. When a seeress comes to Eugenie and tells her about the legendary Iron Crown, which is so difficult to get hold of that simply winning it is enough to terrify other Faerie rulers, she sees a way in which to end the conflict without further bloodshed. But because the crown is hidden in an area suffused with iron, Dorian won't be able to go with her, and she has to take her ex-boyfriend Kiyo as help instead.
I enjoyed the first two books in the series, but in this one, Eugenie made some decisions that annoyed the heck out of me. She acted like an irrational, spoiled teenager, not the mature and fairly reasonable woman she's shown herself to be in the past. She does a complete turn around on decisions she made in previous books, and makes a pretty rash and stupid decision, in my book. That said decision will have wide reaching consequences in later books is inevitable.
I like Dorian, and he doesn't pretend to be anything other than he is. I think Eugenie treats him appallingly in this book and that he's far too good for her. I hope he doesn't regret his decision towards the end of the book. I'm also hoping that after Kiyo's actions towards the end of this book, he's out of the picture for good. It would of course have been wonderful if Eugenie could be a strong and capable woman who manages on her own, without the support of a man at all, but as love triangles seem to be a staple of paranormal fantasy, I doubt that's going to happen any time soon.
This book was a bit of a let down, but I know from experience that Richelle Mead's series occasionally have ups and downs, and they tend to end up being mostly enjoyable, so I'll give the next book a chance and hope she makes it all better again then.