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Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

WARNING: If you haven't read books one through three of the Iron Fey series, then it would probably be a good idea to stay away from this review.

The Iron Knight
by Julie Kagawa

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Release Date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley + HarlequinTeen
Rating: Perfect Bed Partner
Related Reviews: The Iron King,
The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen
About the Book:
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.
"Oy, ice-boy! You sure you know where you're going?" I ignored Robin Goodfellow as we wove through the gray murk of the wyldwood, pushing farther into the soggy swamp known as the Bone Marsh...

I'm sorry to all non-readers of the series or previous books, but I couldn't not be spoilery for this book.

Let me just say that had she not written another book and cut it off after The Iron Queen, Julie Kagawa would've made me a very unhappy young woman. Possibly scarred me for life. And for those fans of the series, you probably already know why. But let me say it anyway. It wouldn't have been right, on any front, from any angle. It wasn't just that there would be no more Meghan and Ash--at least that we would've seen, but what about Meghan and her bestfriendship with Puck? Two of the most important people in her life unable to be with her forever? That's just sick and wrong. The Iron Queen made me cried, but had I not discovered that there was going to be a fourth book I would've BAWLED, MOURNED. Thankfully, my household was spared the drama.

The best part of this whole reading experience for this fourth installment was the unexpected. I had no idea what to look forward to. Sure, I knew Ash's overall goal, I knew that Puck and Grimalkin were bound to join in the, um, fun. But, what kind of perilous tests and troublesome decisions was Ash going to encounter? And would reading the ending of this story in Ash's POV satisfy me? was all I could think. It certainly gave me a jolt, being inside Ash's head instead of Meghan's. After a little while, though, I grew accustomed to him and I realized just how much goes on behind Ash's nearly unshakable barricades. It was absorbing, yes. But, do YOU find it appealing once you discover that your big, bad, brave hero has a vulnerable center? I was content in books one through three to know that it was there, to catch glimpses of Ash's very human reactions to certain things, but seeing him this way, in a whole new light, unguarded, well...  it shattered my very likable illusion that Ash is Mr. Tough Guy and nothing gets to him. AND I missed being inside Meghan's head, ESPECIALLY after her growth per The Iron Queen.

Despite my conflicted feelings on the change in POV, having Puck, and, eventually, Grimalkin there softened any lingering discontent. Puck... never changes. While I saw many newly uncovered facets to his character, and the deeper emotions he manages to conceal well and often, it was nice to see that my favorite prankster would hardly have a sudden shift in his all-too attractive, charming, and hilarious personality just because of a deadly, perilous mission that would bring his frenemy and his love together again. He provided ample comic relief, which was great for me when things got too serious or too tense. At the same time, it was nice learning about what really went down between he and Ash, seeing his own pain and shame. And even better, I could always expect humorous sarcasm from my favorite feline to-date. Grimalkin didn't change, either, even in the most dangerous, the scariest situations!

The additional characters introduced were... a definite surprise. One's inclusion was downright shocking, jaw-dropping. And the other, well, who can resist the allure of a very big, very bad... canine. Even more gratifying were the countless fights and tests in the book. Me and my never-satisfied love of battles were sated and content. There were so many kick-ass fight scenes, and the adventure did wonders for preventing boredom. Any abiding sadness or longings for Meghan to show up were easily, however temporarily, dispelled.

The tests, though the least bit amusing or entertaining, were... perfect. I felt like Ash NEEDED to see the things that were shown to him, needed to see what things would be like with a soul. These challenges made sense, were logical yet emotional and very necessary. They hurt, and oh, how they hurt for me, too. Seeing Ash suffer was no picnic. But I think it made Ash a better person, and gave him some closure and acceptance, and perhaps even a way to rid himself of any guilt that still clung to him. Any doubts were faced and resolved. Without these tests, things would've been too easy and had he returned to Meghan without enduring them, things would've eventually fallen apart. However painful, it was realistic. And I appreciated that, and Julie's insight.

It was all worth it in the end. For Ash, and for me. And this much-needed conclusion to the series did all of the following: served it's purpose well, entertained, delighted, and above all, SATISFIED. My unrest and my discontent dissipated with my reading this excellent finale, and I dream of what Julie Kagawa has in store for us fans, including the new Iron Fey series coming up starring Ethan, Meghan's younger brother! If this first series is any indication, I know how much I'm going to love Julie's future works. And I can't wait.

In the most totally inappropriate way you can imagine, PBP books are the books you want to do, they're so bloody brilliant... (My Rating System In-Depth)

"Hey, ice-boy, you okay? You've got your brooding face on again."
"I'm fine." 
"You're so full of crap." Puck lounged in the cradle of a tree, hands behind his head, one foot dangling in the air. "Lighten up already. We finally found the cat--which we should get a freaking medal for, the search for the Golden Fleece wasn't this hard--and you look like you're going to engage Mab in single combat first thing in the morning."
"I'm thinking. You should try it sometime."
"Ooh, witty." Puck snorted, pulled an apple out of his pocket, and bit into it. "Suit yourself, ice-boy. But you really should try to smile sometimes, or your face will freeze like that forever. Or so I've been told."

"Bad dreams?"
The tone of his voice wasn't exactly a question. I shrugged. "A nightmare. Nothing I can't handle."
"I would not be so sure of that, were I you."
I glanced up sharply, narrowing my eyes. "You know something," I accused, and Grimalkin yawned. "What aren't you telling me?"

"Prince...Ash?" He blinked several times, as if doubting his own eyes. "What...what are you doing here?" 
"I could ask you the same." I didn't approach the fallen warrior, standing several feet away with my sword at my side. "It's forbidden for your kind to be here. Why aren't you in the Iron Realm protecting the queen?"
"The queen." The knight's eyes widened, and he held a hand out. "You... you have to warn the queen--"

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UK said...

A review on this one, it is one of those books that is so good, that no matter what I type in this review, everything I say will fall short of giving this book the justice it deserves. So with that said The Iron Knight, was the perfect ending, to the perfect series, and if you havnt picked it up please do when it comes out..it will not disappoint.