Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Review - The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)

"My name--my True Name--is Ashallayn' darkmyr Tallyn. I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her. My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl..."

To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase--a half human, half fey slip of a girl--smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end--a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan's side.

To survive in the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

(Cover and description are from Goodreads)

Amazon UK

I loved this book - I'm thrilled to have finally got to read it, and it was worth waiting for!

Julie Kagawa never ceases to amaze me. The first three Iron Fey books were so amazing that part of me feared that the fourth book - which is written from the perspective of Prince Ash, rather than Meghan - wouldn't live up to my expectations. And they were high: the ending of The Iron Queen was one of the most heart-wrenching I've ever read.

When Meghan became the Iron Queen, Ash was severed from her forever, as no traditional fey can survive in the Iron Kingdom. He swore an oath to find a way to join her, and bound by that promise, he embarks on a desperate journey to earn a human soul, to become mortal. But things are never simple in Faeryland. He is forced to join forces with Puck, his sworn enemy; the unpredictable Grimalkin; the Big Bad Wolf – and with someone he thought long dead. The quest takes him through the deadliest corners of Faery, from the River of Dreams to the tangled Briars, and finally to the End of the World. Forced to do battle with such horrifying creatures as the bloodthirsty Hobyahs and the sinister Forgotten, the group find that such enemies pale in comparison to the seemingly impossible challenges Ash must complete to gain humanity – and his greatest enemy of all could be himself.

Beautifully written as ever, The Iron Knight is a strong follow-up to Meghan’s journey to become the Iron Queen. We follow the exiled prince closely in his journey, learning more about the central characters and the history of Ash, Puck and Ariella. Terrifying, heartbreaking, both sad and uplifting, this is another emotional roller-coaster, as Ash faces temptation and loss as he is forced to choose between his past and his future – and his nature and that which he once despised. Can fey truly become human – and at what cost?

Wow, is all I have to say. Julie Kagawa has a gift for manipulating the emotions of her readers, and I was completely swept away. Ash's character is explored more in-depth over the course of the novel and he is far from the cliche ice-prince he once appeared to be. I found myself turning the pages feverishly, desperate to know whether Ash's love for Meghan would triumph over the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. And  this is coming from someone who's not generally a fan of romance! The series has a perfect ending here - and this is definitely one I'll be rereading.

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