Em: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa – REVIEW

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: October 22nd, 2011
Harlequin Teen, 394 Pages
Sub-genre: Fantasy
Source: Advance Reader Copy
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: The 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.

This is the final book in the Iron Fey series and I have to say that it surpassed my expectations more than I can aptly describe in this review, but I am going to do my best.

First of all, the story is told from Ash’s point-of-view, while the other books were told from Meghan’s. Since Ash has such a personality that I would describe as aloof and pensive, it is really refreshing to get an opportunity to see everything through his eyes and to understand his thought-process. He is such a complicated character with a dark and twisted past, that actually has a few patches of warm light laced-in at some points.

The whole story revolves around Ash’s journey through a treacherous and mysterious, but fantastical land where nothing is as it seems. He is accompanied by the usual suspects, Grimalkin and Puck…but there are a few characters that have not been introduced yet in the series (or you may have heard of, but not met). I won’t spoil who they are…but lets just say that one of them is pretty big & bad! The banter between Puck & Ash is, as always, hilarious and witty…and a new pair of arch-nemeses is revealed between Grim & his furry enemy, who perpetuate the stereotype of cats ruling & dogs drooling. A lot of the dialogues are hilarious, but the adventure they embark upon is anything but.

Ash’s goal for his long journey is to become mortal. There are many trials he must go through and as they are warned “not everyone will survive”. The emotions that you see Ash experience are so real that it is so easy to get caught up in what he is feeling. It is too hard to explain the effect this book had on me…but I can basically sum it up like this:

*gasp!!* *sobbing* *happy dances* *giggling hysterically* *Noooooo!!!* *more crying* *biting of nails* and finally *happy crying* *squealing* *sighing*.

The ending is incredible. The characters are colorful and endearing. The plot is complex and engaging. The worlds that Kagawa creates are infinitely ancient and fantastical. This is a series that I would beg anyone to read because it can only be described as “Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass-meets-A Midsummer Night’s Dream-meets-Kagawa’s endless & creative imagination”. Instead of just two faery courts [Summer & Winter/ Seelie & Unseelie], there are now three with the addition of the Iron Kingdom. This is where science & technology meet the world of supernatural world of the fey.

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