Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Knight
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #4
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Published: November 2011
Source: Publisher for review
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.

I've always loved reading books with male narrators. Men are fascinating creatures and it's a breath of fresh air to step away from the usual swooning female leads - not that Meghan ever swooned. With Kagawa's decision to allow us into Ash's mind, we're finally able to understand a whole lot more about his behaviour and his past. Maybe we can finally unravel the puzzle that is Prince Ash?

If it's even possible, I fell even more in love with Ash after reading The Iron Knight. He was never fully open with Meghan and always had some sort of secret locked away in his heart. It was magnificent to see, first hand, how he lives his life and what he goes through every day. He torments himself in his mind and has many vulnerabilities, unbeknownst to others. Despite how much he thinks otherwise, Ash has a beautiful soul, and he proves it during his dangerous journey to the ends of the earth. Meghan is now the Queen of the Iron Realm, a place Ash can't step foot into as a faery. His love for her is so strong that he's willing to give up his entire being. He's going to become a human. If you ever wondered about the extent of his feelings for Meghan, he'll leave nothing to question after this book!

The perfect Iron Fey book would have Ash, Puck and Grimalkin in the same scene. The Iron Knight is filled with these. Three vastly different personalities clash and the characters play off each other in such entertaining ways, whether it be humorous or dangerous. Ash has yet to follow through with his promise to kill Puck and he has plenty of opportunities throughout the book. I loved spending time with these characters for the very last time. Away from the petty quarrels in their Courts, they're bare to our scrutiny and faced with many situations of life and death. They discover what's important to them and what they're willing to sacrifice for friendship and love. My heart? Spasming.

At times, this book was slow, but only because a lot of the story was happening in Ash's mind. The action doesn't really begin until the gang reaches the mysterious Testing Grounds, a place no one's ever come back out of before, but it's all very worth it. The Iron Knight is truly an epic journey, fueled by Ash's strength, determination and loyalty to Meghan. To become human, he's tested in the most vicious ways - few of them physically - that we worry about whether his state of mind will ever recover. Will he be able to cope with being human? Will his love for Meghan withstand the test of time and torture? Is he strong enough to handle any obstacle that's thrown at him? Although cruel, Ash is forced to examine who he really is and everything just gets mindblowingly personal.

As always, there are twists and shocks that change what we've believed for so long. The majority of the book is heartbreaking and will make you feel the most anxious you've ever felt. You scream for the characters to just HOLD ON for a while because it will have to get better eventually. This series has taken me to hell and back, and my heart ached when I turned the final page. I experienced this series in one continuous week of reading and I don't know what I would've done, had I been forced to wait between books like most fans. The ending of The Iron Knight was one of the best moments of the series and, again, my heart ballooned. You know that sickly happy feeling you sometimes get? Oh dear. I need to sit down.

Guys...are we excited about The Lost Prince? I know I am!! I can't wait to see what Ethan's like, now that he's all gorgeous grown up. 

Find Julie on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy The Iron Knight from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

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