Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
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.
Paperback, 1st Edition, 361 pages
Published October 26th 2011 by Harlequin TEEN (first published October 25th 2011)
Five Big Stars! This is an epic finale to an astounding series!
Ash does not break promises or retract on his oaths. Meghan after nearly dying, ordered him to leave the Iron Realm. She loved him too much to let the poisonous iron slowly kill him. For once, he will defy an order; he cannot let her go; he took an unbreakable oath to be her knight, protect her always or forfeit his life trying. He will endure anything that enables him to return to the side of the lady he loves. Even if it entails embarking on the most perilous journey yet: a trip to the End of the World to attain a mortal soul. With a soul he can survive in the Iron Kingdom and be with Meghan but it is a quest so treacherous no one has ever returned to tell the tale. To make matters worse he is saddled with the frivolous, prankster Puck. Hanging out with him is equivalent to having an irritating bug bite that festers under the skin and the more you scratch the worse it itches. His guide is the nonchalant, ever aloof Grimalkin. Even if he can tolerate his companions long enough to survive all the obstacles flung in his path to reach The End of the World, that is only the beginning. What remains are three harrowing and excruciating tasks that he must undergo to acquire a soul. Will he suffer through Puck's constant, annoying banter or will he finally make good on his promise to kill him? Can he complete his crusade and rescind his immortality and at last return to reside in the arms of the girl who holds his heart?
What I Liked:
- I am an avid admirer of Ms. Kagawa's incredibly, detailed world building. I thought I was impressed with the depiction of the Nevernever in her previous three books. The Iron Knight blows the doors off the others. Hands down no comparison. The dark, cruel scenery exposed on the sojourn is unlike anything encountered before. This time Ash and company float down the River of Dreams. Now, I know many of you are hearing the bars to Billy Joel's song...."In the middle of the night.....we are all carried along on the river of dreams......" The River of Dreams is not all pleasant and wonderful like the song. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2JWYoV9o...)It is a river that snakes around the Nevernever. It is fueled and fed by the dreams and nightmares of humanity. From its waters the first Fey walked into existence. The river is full of the good, bad, uglier and ugliest! Then, The End of the World is incredible, the gauntlet, the tasks, all painted with the striking detail of Ms. Kagawa's imagination. Thrown in are all the hideous creatures, creepy crawlers, snakes, scorpions, spiders and monsters that slither out to plague our heroes. Be prepared for anything and everything!
- I know many people missed Meghan's voice and it does take a few pages to adjust to Ash's point of view, but this book could only be told by Ash in order to fully appreciate and understand everything he goes through. He must finally settle his ongoing feud with Puck. Then face his darkest side and all the cruelty, regret, death and heartache that he dealt in his days as the Winter Prince. He has to learn exactly what it means to be mortal: the limitations of a human body, the decay and toll of aging and eventual death. Finally, he needs to come to terms with the lingering hold that Ariella still has on his heart, for her spirit has danced in between he and Meghan throughout the saga. All I can tell you is that it is a roller coaster ride of emotion and turmoil. It leaves you questioning his resolve and pondering over his final decision. His fortitude, determination and maturation are extraordinary and I had a front row seat to it all. I am still a resolute Puck fan, but Ash's trials leave little doubt that he is the right man for Meghan.
- The rest of the band of travelers are just as intriguing. A book in the Iron Fey series would not be complete without Puck and Grimalkin. Puck, provides the constant, flippant banter that you are accustomed to. It is evident throughout that he is a chronic thorn in the side to many of the inhabitants of the Nevernever. He is quick to lighten the mood and utters many lines that can only make you smile. I liked that in this tale I was able to uncover more of the history between the two, back in the days before the fighting. Puck also grows and changes a great deal too. I am hopeful that he is out there wild as the wind and somehow he will creep into future stories. Grimalkin, my favorite, is just the same. Even in the thick of trouble he remains apathetic and even pauses to groom his tail or paws. He always has the answer to a riddle and he is the best guide around. The Big Bad Wolf joins the group and I really grew to love this character. I laughed at his constant threats to eat Grimalkin, it seems the two have a history, perhaps we will see more of this pair at a later date.
- This book is action packed. If you are expecting another book filled with the tender romantic scenes that make your heart pitter patter then this novel may be a disappointment. The Iron Knight is instead one thrill after another. It is as if our travelers jump out of the frying pan and into the fire and then spend the entire time dancing from log to log to avoid the hot lick of the flames. You will be running, dodging, fighting and trying to catch your breath with the gang before the next onslaught. This is so much fun! Okay, for you romance lovers there might just be something for you too. Don't miss this one it truly is the best of the bunch.
Thus, with the fourth and final book the Iron Fey series draws to a close and we are left with four books that are a stunning, literary achievement. I felt a pang of sadness as I lingered over the last words, before I finally closed the pages and left my friends in the Nevernever. As much as I would love to see their story continue, I know there comes a point when the characters have earned a respite. As Ash and Meghan's story concludes, all I can say is thank you, Ms. Julie Kagawa. I extend to you my gratitude for penning this amazing story. With your words you ensure that the magic of the Nevernever will live on. I hope that Puck, Ash, Grimalkin, Meghan and the many others who have captured my imagination will continue to enthrall and delight readers for many generations to come. Hopefully, they will never make that final trip to the land of Phaed, the last stop for those who are forgotten. May there be an abundance of adventures left in the magic pen of Julie Kagawa so that we might all continue our travels into the world of the Nevernever.
"Being surrounded by beauty tends to dull your appreciation of it, especially if the beauty only hides the cruelty beneath."
"Wrestling in the mud just isn’t my cup of tea, unless it involves scantily clad—” He stopped as I shot him a look. “Right,” he muttered."
"The Wolf gave him a baleful stare. “You wouldn’t say that if you’d seen some of the fish in the Deep Wyld, Goodfellow. But more important, how will you ever reach the End of the World if I bite your head off?”
"He bared his fangs at me. “Be careful, boy. In some tales, the hero gets eaten by the monster after all .”
"Stairs.” He grimaced. “I swear there must be like some secret code. All mysterious ancient temples must have a minimum of at least seven thousand steps to the front door."
"I will always love you. I always have. Nothing will change that.” I squeezed her hand, then gently released it. “You’ll always be a part of me."
"Well , that was fun, though a bit on the clichéd side. Way too Temple of Doom for me. So, where are we now?”