Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Iron Knight: Book 4 in the Iron Fey Series, by Julie Kagawa

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HarlequinTEEN, ISBN 9780373210367, October 2011

Ash, prince of the UnSeelie Court, has a major problem on his hands. He has sworn an oath to find a way to return to Meghan Chase and stand by her side as her knight and protector. But Meghan is now Queen of the Iron Fey, and Ash, one of the older, more familiar fey, cannot touch or even bear the near presence of iron.

So he's off on a quest, in defiance of his mother Queen Mab, and all common sense and good judgment, to find the Testing Grounds and earn a soul. He'll be giving up his fey powers and his immortality, but he'll be able to return to Meghan. Since violating his vow will cause his very being to unravel and dissolve, he figures it's worth the risk.
He's not alone on this quest. His sometime-friend, sometime-nemesis, Robin Goodfellow, whom you may know as Puck, sticks by his side even though it's questionable how long they can tolerate each other with trying to kill each other. When they visit the Bone Queen looking for the next bit of information they need, the grey cat Grimalkin, an ancient and magical creature in his own right, joins them. Then the Big Bad Wolf turns up, sent, he says, by Queen Mab, who may not want Ash to make this quest, but also doesn't want him to get killed along the way.

Or, maybe the Wolf just wants to be included in Ash's story, to make sure he's not forgotten and can continue to exist.

Along the way, they acquire one more companion, and we find out both why Ash of the Winter Court and Puck of the Summer Court are friends, and why they've become enemies. They make their way down the River of Dreams, encountering all the wonders and horrors of the Deep Wyld. As they reach the Temple that guards the gateway to the End of the World, they embark on the final set of challenges, from which they are warned at the beginning, not all of them will emerge alive.

This is an excellent high fantasy, with faery characters who feel both real and appropriately strange. Magic doesn't solve all their problems, can't do everything, and creates problems of its own. The characters are forced to grow in order to survive.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

See the book trailer: