The Iron Knight Book 4 of The Iron Fey Series
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publish Date: October 2011
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.
This is the finale. Or at least this is the end of this arc. Even knowing that, expectations for it were variable. Especially considering several factors, the primary being this is Ash. This isn’t Meghan. There isn’t a precedence set for what to expect from him. This could make him and even more loveable character or this could break the illusion we’ve created for him, and we’ll detest him when it’s done. Considering this, this is a frightening book. Will it be everything imagined or will it ruin the character we’ve come to love?
This is an extraordinary, gorgeous story. Ash is EVERYTHING I expected him to be. He is everything imagined. Being able to see things from his perspective to see his thoughts provides a deeper understanding of him. He is on the surface the cold calculating Ice Prince we’ve seen in the other books. However under the surface he struggles with that façade. He’s not as cold as he makes everyone believe he is; it’s just an act, to protect himself from the cruel life in Tir A Nog. I want to cuddle him (as if he’d allow it ^_~) and curse Mab for her cruelty.
Ash’s journey is hard. What he needs to do, what he needs to sacrifice for Meghan is hard. There are several trials, and I held my breath several times thinking he may just walk away. That it might not be so worth it.
Ash’s struggle within himself is a torment in itself. He conflicted between the past and the present and as the story progresses even more conflicted with who he is. Will Meghan still love him when all is said and done? Especially when he begins to see himself as others perceive him. Who would love a murdering, cruel prince when he’s found he doesn’t love that part of himself either? These conflicts reveal a part of Ash that we’ve never seen before. This emotional rollercoaster of doubt and love and determination, this very humane rollercoaster makes him even more loveable. He’s trying. He’s trying as hard as he can. Is it enough?
There are several twists and turns that are unexpected throughout the plot. Puck’s antics are normal (and hysterical), and Grim’s sarcasm and whit just as comforting as all the other books. The new addition to their party was mind blowing. The fighting between Ash and Puck crescendo and then… well… It’s good the way it turned out.
As a reader this book took me through a gambit of emotions. I laughed and cried. I frustrated with Ash, and felt for him at the same time. When all the barriers he placed were stripped away and we got to see the real him I wanted to hold him while he grieved. This book is a wonderful plethora of emotions that will claw into anyone’s heart and stay there long after the last page is read.
Will I read this series again? Most definitely. Will it make me cry again? Absolutely. Ms. Kagawa has made an incredible series, incredible characters, and an incredible story. There’s nothing about the Iron Fey that isn’t worth the read. This is definitely a series that will remain in my heart forever.