Title: The Iron Knight
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Iron Fey, #4
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Date Published: October 25th, 2011
Source: eARC via Netgalley
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…
The Iron Knight is a tough book to review without revealing any spoilers. So I’m going to do the best that I can, and any spoilers I can’t resist talking about will be behind spoiler tags, as usual.
Ahh! I have such mixed feelings about this book…
I have to say that per usual Kagawa style, this book was packed full of crazy imagination, unique creatures, and lots of adventure that is vividly described and easy to jump right into. The way Kagawa sets up her visuals makes it so easy to picture everything right in front of you as if you were watching it as a movie. That is probably my absolute favorite thing about these books.
But my mixed feelings come from the emotions that this book brought about in me while reading. Anytime a book can stir emotions inside you is a good thing I think. Whether it be good or bad emotions, if a book makes you feel, then that says a lot about the story, characters, and the writing in general.
However, this book made me feel absolutely miserable at times. The atmosphere is so cold and empty without Meghan along on the adventure. As I’m sure you’re already aware of if you’ve read the first three books, this book is about Ash and his mission to find a way to be with Meghan again in the Iron Realm. As a Winter fey, he cannot enter her Realm without slowly and miserably dying, so he has to find a way to be with her.
Because of her absence and the mission Ash is on, I got such a cold and lonely feeling from this book. I think it was meant to be that way, but it can be hard to feel like that for the majority of the book.
There are a couple other things regarding how it made me feel and the whys, but they’re big spoilers so no clicky if you haven’t read it already!
The feelings Ash struggles with regarding Ariella’s return left a very sour and icky feeling inside me. I go into most Young Adult novels expecting and semi-prepared for a love triangle of some sort. But this one kind of blindsided me and after so much had already happened between Ash and Meghan it just made me feel sick to think of Ariella swooping back into the picture.
I can completely sympathize and understand that those feelings for Ariella would come rushing back, and Ash didn’t even kiss her so it’s not like he “cheated” on Meghan. But he kept thinking that he had to continue this mission simply because of his oath to Meghan, “despite his feelings” (Ash’s words). What does that even mean? That if he had a choice and no oath that he would’ve ditched Meghan for Ariella? I found this to be really hard to swallow and so pretty much right after Ariella showed up, I had a sour feeling in my stomach during the rest of the book. This sort of ruined my mood for a lot of it along the way.
In addition to the Ariella issue, I found it really sad that he had to turn human in order to be with Meghan. Although I’m happy that they’re together in the end, after the last trial I almost wanted him to walk away. This is the main reason why I never understand human/immortal relationships in stories. The Iron Knight took the realities of such a relationship far into the future and it really made me wanting Ash to just give up his pursuits and move on. I can’t imagine being on either end of a relationship where one person ages, and the other does not. It was really very sad to watch and we weren’t even given a for sure if that particular future Ash got a glimpse of came true or not. Perhaps it did, but perhaps not, and that makes me feel all blah! I don’t want that future for Ash and I really wish we could’ve received an epilogue some time down the line where we’re shown that he didn’t actually age because he’s not completely mortal but not completely fey either. I need closure on that issue!
I will hand it to Kagawa in one regard though. She did not create some stupid loophole where he could enter the Iron Realm still as a Winter fey. Although I probably would’ve liked it if he could’ve stayed fey, I think it would’ve ruined some of the dynamics of the world if there was a loophole there.
As far as loopholes go though, I have to wonder about the whole soul issue in general. Many-a-times in this book we were told that Ash couldn’t have a soul and remain immortal because a soul is what makes you mortal. If this is the case, then did Meghan lose her soul when she turned full fey? Not liking that idea at all!
Now back to some good things..
I liked Puck a lot more in this book than the previous books and I have a bit more of a soft spot for him now. He added some much needed comic relief to an emotionally heavy book, so that was good.
I also absolutely loved the adventure and places that we got to visit with Ash and the gang. I’m continually amazed at how Kagawa can paint such a vivid picture.
So overall this was an interesting ending to the series. I don’t know if I’d call it happy, but it wasn’t sad either. Although any book that makes you feel is good, I didn’t like some of the feelings this one stirred in me so I had to lower my rating a bit. I was hoping the series would go out on more of a lighter note, but this was a very emotionally heavy book if you’re attached to the characters (especially Ash).
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