The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
"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."- summary from Amazon
I did it- I fulfilled my reading goal for November, which was to read the final three books of the Iron Fey series in preparation for this post! I was a bit worried about making it (I only had three days to get through Iron Knight), but Kagawa's world and characters are just so compelling that the books can be hard to put down.
I can tell you I've made a change through this reading. After finishing The Iron King, I was firmly on Team Puck and didn't know why anyone liked Ash, aside from the fact that he was hot. Starting The Iron Daughter, I was a bit bored because the first part mainly takes place in the Winter Court with Meghan pining after Ash. It wasn't until Puck came in that I really got into the story (the first part of Daughter is pretty much joke-free), but going through the books and seeing Ash open up more, especially in Iron Knight since it's told from his perspective, I can see why people would go for him. I am still Team Puck completely, but I have a better understanding now. Plus, since Meghan isn't with him, he can be mine. :)
Anyway, Kagawa really knows how to end a series and I'm very glad that the story was continued because I could not imagine it ending with Iron Queen. Learning more about Ash through him being the narrator really helped and the obstacles he goes through to be with Meghan are extremely dangerous and harrowing, which makes the reader really want to root for him. Some of the obstacles, mainly the ones in the Testing Grounds, are more introspective in a way and I like how Kagawa wrote the trials Ash had to go through to become human. But the part before the Testing Grounds (i.e. the gauntlet) really made me want to play Tomb Raider because it reminded me a bit of it, mainly in the beginning.
I loved spending time with these characters again and even though I love Meghan, I was a bit glad that she took a backseat in this book because it gave the reader a chance to learn more about Ash, Puck, and their past together (which includes a BIG SURPRISE that I can't reveal because it's a spoiler). Grimalkin also seems to have an expanded role here too, which I loved because Grimalkin is totally awesome.
Overall, an amazing conclusion to a fantastic, original series and I cannot wait to read more from Kagawa! The book also includes a survival guide to the Nevernever, an interview with Julie (along with comments from Puck and Ash), discussion questions, and a small excerpt from Julie's next book The Immortal Rules, which is the beginning of the Blood of Eden series (all in all, a total of 20 pages of extras- how cool!).
and here's a QnA with Julie Kagawa!
Meghan and Ash’s journey has come to a close, but it’s not the end of The Iron Fey series. In 2012 there will be a new series starring Ethan Chase, Meghan’s little brother, when he is older.
2) What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m a video game geek, so you’ll usually find me on the 360, PS3, or PC in the evenings. (Skyrim needs to come out sooooooon. And Assassin’s Creed Revelations. And Mass Effect 3, and Borderlands 2…the list is endless.) But I also enjoy reading, painting, movies, and gardening. I also take classes in Wing Tzun and Kali, or as Neo puts it: “I know Kung Fu.”
3) What book are you reading now?
I just finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (AMAZING). And I’m starting Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I know, I know, I’m late. But given how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games, I can’t wait for the movie to come out!
4) Where did you come up with the idea for the Iron Fey series?
Faeries, the old, ancient fey, not the glittery winged sprites, have always fascinated me. But I wanted to write a book that was different than other faery books. So I began thinking: what are the fey afraid of? The answer, in most ancient mythos, is iron. Faeries can't stand the touch of iron and steel. So, what if there was a new type of fey that had evolved with progress over the years? What if they weren't only immune to iron, their existence was slowly poisoning and corrupting the lands of the traditional fey? And I realized we already have "monsters" in machines: gremlins, bugs, viruses, ect. And from that thought, the Iron fey were born.
FTC: Received final copy from Media Muscle. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.