Title: The Iron Knight
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: The Iron Fey (Book 4)
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Format: Paperback, 400 Pages
ISBN-10: 0373210361 (Harlequin Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0373210367 (Harlequin Teen)
Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.
To cold, emotionless 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 solemn 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. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Quick & Dirty: This is a nice, fairly enjoyable tale that will keep you entertained. The narrator has a bit of a depressing tone and the struggles that the main characters go through doesn’t resonate with the reader.
Opening Sentence: “Oy, ice-boy! You sure you know where you’re going?”
The Iron Knight is the final installment in the groundbreaking Iron Fey series from Julie Kagawa. If you’ve remained a big fan of the series, then you will most likely fall in love with The Iron Knight. Ms. Kagawa artfully delivers twists and turns in vivid detail that leaves you breathless in one turn and enchanted in the next. I won’t argue that Ms. Kagawa is a talented writer. Her prose is simply beautiful and she skillfully crafts action scenes like an old pro. It’s hard to believe that she burst onto the writing scene just a year ago with the phenomenal The Iron King. Personally, I really enjoyed The Iron King and The Iron Daughter, but The Iron Queen began to show cracks in the storytelling and character development. Unfortunately, I also believe that these, among other issues, carry over into The Iron Knight.
The Iron Knight is told from Prince Ash’s point of view. Ash sets out on a quest to the End of the World to find his humanity. He’s determined to get the ever elusive soul and become human so that he can reunite with Meghan. Along for this adventure is the usual band of misfits: Puck and Grimalkin, with the addition of the Big Bad Wolf and someone else who shall remain nameless. I don’t want to give any spoilers away. As Ash travels through the treacherous Deep Wyld he learns a lot about himself and his companions. Ash has to complete a series of tests and trials to see if he’s worthy of all that he seeks. I can’t give too many details of the quest away without ruining the story, but in the end, I was a bit disappointed.
Much of my disappointment lies in Ash as a narrator and the once strong character that struggled to carry this story. Ash has always been my favorite and my choice for Meghan. All of the things that I loved about Ash are no longer present. His confidence, brashness and cockiness is replaced with endless introspection leading to him to wallow in self pity. In The Iron Queen, I felt as if he lost some of his edge, and that holds true for this story. So much of Ash’s identity is wrapped up in his “love” for Meghan. He simply can’t see past it and it’s actually quite pathetic. I imagine that the point of the story is supposed to be about what Ash is willing to sacrifice and the lengths that he will go through to find his way back to Meghan. I couldn’t help but feel like many elements of this part of the story were contrived.
One of the things that struck me as very cold and fleeting from The Iron Queen was a moment of intimacy between Ash and Meghan. In The Iron Knight, the hope of an all encompassing romance remains elusive. Their romance has been very sweet, touching and even romantic at times, but I’ve been waiting for that spark of a moment with the fated couple to leave me breathless and it never happened. In the beginning they exhibited such promise and desire for one another, but for some reason it falls flat.
For the most part, Ms. Kagawa does a good job working within the rules that she’s established for this fantastical world. The fey mythology in the series is pretty well established, as well as fey immortality. I was left with a few questions about the true impact of Ash’s decision to give up his magic and immortality.
Overall, The Iron Knight is good surface reading. It’s well written and the unique world remains captivating. It’s a bittersweet story of sacrifice, loss and love. While the plot isn’t complicated, it will keep you turning the pages. The characters are somewhat marred by lack of development and depth, but despite these setbacks, you will find yourself rooting for a happily-ever-after.
Movement rippled behind me. I spun, throwing myself to the side as the monstrous head of the other Wolf exploded from the frame and lunged at me. I felt its hot breath and heard the snap of its massive jaws inches from my head. Backing away, I drew my sword as it slid out of the mirror and into the hall, a monstrous creature with burning green eyes, drool hanging in ribbons from its teeth. It howled, making the mirrors tremble, and crouched to spring at me, and that’s when the real Wolf hit it from behind.
I leaped aside as the two giant wolves careened past, ripping and tearing at each other, vanishing down the side hallway. The smell of blood filled the air, the roars and snarls adding to the din of chaos. I turned to see Puck locked in battle with his twin and a second Robin Goodfellow stepping out of the mirror behind him, raising his blade.
The Iron Fey Series:
FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of The Iron Knight. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
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