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The Iron Knight
by Julie Kagawa


Book Four in The Iron Fey series. Click here to read reviews of earlier books in the series. This review may contain spoilers for previous books in the series.

Meghan Chase is now the Iron Queen, a powerful ruler of the newest faery court. But her elevation in rank has come at terrible cost; her beloved Winter prince, Ash of the Unseelie, cannot join her in the Iron Kingdom, as simply breathing its air will quickly kill him. Meghan has sent him away, but Ash is determined to return to her side. He begins a quest to the end of the Nevernever to do the impossible: Ash seeks to earn a soul and become human. No faery has ever successfully completed the transformation, but Ash will give everything he’s got  his strength, his magic, even his immortality  if it means he can be reunited with Meghan.

I have never been a fan of Ash, and when I realized that this entire book was narrated by him I was Very Concerned. Where was Meghan, and why wasn’t she doing her job by telling the story? But since Ash had been sent away from Meghan at the end of the last book, it’s impossible for her to know what he’s doing, and it turns out that Ash isn’t such a bad storyteller. Over the course of the book, he really grew on me. I mean, I still think he has about as much personality as a turnip, but in this book we finally learn why he spends so much time as a walking pile of sulk. His relationships with Puck and Ariella are explored in greater detail, which I enjoyed  throughout the books, it’s been obvious that Puck is quite attached to Ash but we’ve never been sure exactly what Ash felt in return.

The beginning of the quest is full of action, but it felt like it took a while to get going. Fight some evil fey, Puck says/ does something stupid and Grimalkin smirks. The adventure doesn’t really take off until they finally make it to the End of the World, and the trials necessary for Ash to gain a soul begin. I think that the strongest writing in the entire series is found here. At one point, Ash sees what his future will be like with Meghan when he has lost his immortality. While he ages at the normal human rate, she remains eternally young and beautiful. As he sits, now a middle-aged man with a limp and greying hair, watching her dance with Puck, the full impact of what he has given up and what his ultimate fate will be hits him, and it was the first time I felt any sort of emotion for Ash.

Although Puck comes off as incredibly annoying at times, we also see a lot of development of his character, too. He’s become so adept at aping human emotions and characteristics that it’s shocking to encounter his true faery self, an ancient, wild and extremely inhuman creature. He also has a darker side that suffers from loss and grief, but thankfully Puck doesn’t let his regret morph into epic sulks. That must be why I still like him more than Ash!

Ultimately, Ash’s final transformation isn’t exactly what anyone expected. I thought it was a cop-out on Kagawa’s part  the vision Ash experiences during his trials was so poignant and emotional that his actual fate felt weak and cheap by comparison. But everything ties together into a satisfying, neat ending.


3.5 out of 5 stars

To read more about The Iron Knight, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.



Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Fashionista Piranha on vacation until June 9th…
2011: Fashionista Piranha on hiatus for a while...
2010: Discussion Question: Do You Have to Like the Characters?
2009: Contest #8: Diggin' Up New Reading

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