Prince Ash of the Winter Court is on a quest - he intends to gain a human soul and thus be able to reside in the Iron Kingdom with his half-human love, Megan Chase, the Iron Queen. As a fairy, he cannot be in the Iron Kingdom without becoming deathly ill, so he begins a journey to the End of the World to fulfill his promise to find a way to be with her. No one has ever come back from the End of the World however, and Ash is going to need some assistance. His traveling companions are quite a surprising and eclectic group, but they each have a reason for joining Ash's travels and hoping for his success.
The Iron Knight
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 304 pages
Publish Date: October 25, 2011
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.
I absolutely loved the Iron King trilogy (my 5-star review of The Iron Queen here) and I was looking forward to Ash's story - I have been Team Ash from the first book. That being said, The Iron Knight fell a bit flat for me. Don't get me wrong - the writing was fabulous; Ms. Kagawa's imagination never ceases to amaze me.
We don't see much of Megan in this book, which makes sense since it's Ash's book, but I missed her. We do get a big surprise in the form of a character from Ash's past. I really didn't like her, though, and spent the whole book yelling at Ash to quit mooning over her. Even though she redeemed herself near the end of the story, I still don't like her. (I think that might make me a bad person, lol). Ash was also very moody around Puck. I figured since their feud was over they'd be chums or whatever but no, he treated Puck pretty badly. Upon retrospect, Ash has always been moody, so I don't know why this surprised me.
There were several aspects to the story that I did love: The back and forth between The Big Bad Wolf and Grimalkin left me wanting more. I'm pretty sure there's a good backstory there; I'd love to know what it is. That would probably involve knowing what, exactly, Grimalkin is, so we'll probably never know...
The River of Dreams and the town of Phaed, where names are forgotten, were fascinating and creepy. I am still continually amazed at the depth of Ms. Kagawa's creativity - the creatures that her characters encounter and the trials they go through are beautifully written and vivid.
I think, for me, the problem was that The Iron Knight was the story of Ash Finding His Way To Megan, not Ash And Megan's Happily Ever After With Adventures Together. So the issue is with me, the reader, not Ms. Kagawa, the writer.
Would I still recommend this series? ABSOLUTELY. This is a series you don't want to miss.
This book was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.