Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: young-adult, supernatural/fae
Series: The Iron Fey #4
Pages: 386  (NetGalley uncorrected ARC)
Published: October 25th 2011
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 5/5

Tagline: Soulless, banished
           but never forgotten

Without a doubt my absolute favorite of these four books, The Iron Knight was a fantastic finale to a series I've come to love. Though it was strange initially for me to not read Meghan's internal thoughts and concerns, the switch to Ash's POV for the final volume was a brilliant decision; one that allows the reader to once again see the Nevernever in a completely different light. It's a bold, fresh take on a well-loved and familiar world. It certainly helps that Ash was my favorite character (with the possible exception of Grimalkin), but the transition between the two differing viewpoints/characters was smooth and handled well. In this fourth novel, Ash is faced with the impossibility of being with his love in a realm poisonous to his very being. Determined fey that he is, Ash sets out in The Iron Knight to find a way to his love.

I have stated in previous reviews that I was tremendously impressed with the character arc Meghan had over the three books centering on her. I have to admit I was even more impressed with the depth, and care with which Ash has emerged from a shallow, silent killer into a real, conscientious being. Ash's own personal evolution takes place over a much shorter time than Meghan's (though he started to defrost in The Iron Queen) but it is rich, believably filled with pain and hope. Through Ash and his struggles, Julie Kagawa openly explores what it means to be human. Is it loving another beyond caring for oneself? Is it expressing regret and atoning for the wrongs committed? Ash must face questions unknowable with hard answers and repercussions if he is to be with his Queen in the Iron Realm. The once unassailable Winter Prince is revealed as human after all (forgive the saying). His moments of weakness, remorse, sorrow and joy are all spelled out in ways unseen in previous novels. This lowering of the wall of Ash's solitude makes him a far more real character.

This is a series that has improved with each successive novel. Each time the plot grew more complete, the atmosphere more enveloping and compelling, the characters more vivid. This is no exception: even the dialogue between frenemies Ash and Puck is at the best its been. There's a perfect balance of humor to level out the emotional and platonic tension. The interplay between both, without Meghan referring, is also an exposition minefield. Finally, more details on life before Meghan emerge: the reader can see the former closeness between the two fey, as well as the latent hostility. Even the mysterious figure of Ariella does not remain nearly as much of a cypher as she was before this book. The pacing was also top-notch, with a firm nod to a more creepy feel than the previous books; the numerous, varied adventures the band stumbles through were diverting and kept the pages moving at a steady pace. Kagawa's great talent for storytelling, along with the easy, smooth flow of the novel creates a story and world the reader is reluctant to put down.

Though missing several players from earlier stories, and adding a few completely (read: JAW-DROPPING) additions, the Iron Knight is not to be missed. Ending a well-loved story/series with delicacy and care is a hard accomplishment. Thankfully, Julie Kagawa can be grouped with J.K. Rowling as authors who were true to their characters, their world, and their fans. This book gets a very well done from me, along with the melancholy knowledge that I will never again have an Iron Fey novel before me. I highly recommend this series.


  1. I didn't want to read too much of the review for spoiler reasons, but isn't it nice when the last book of the series is totally worth it?

  2. it's pretty spoiler free, but understood :D

    And yes! I was so relieved how by it was handled.

  3. Great post! Great review!
    Thanks, Jessie!

  4. I really need to get knuckled down and read this series. I have only read one of the novella, but it looks so good :)

  5. thanks, Lion! I think I'm finally getting the hang of all this!
    And, Alex, I agree! It would've taken me longer to get to the series, but I won the first three in a giveaway! Then NetGalley had the Iron Knight so I was off and reading :)

  6. Hi :) I found your blog through Awesome YA Bookclub group on Goodreads! I'm a new follower, happy reading!

    Book Addict

  7. I've wanted to read these books forever but they're always out at the library. Guess will have to bite the bullet and buy them!

  8. I'm reading The Iron Queen right now and I love it. I can't wait to read this The Iron King! Thanks for this great review:)

  9. I have the first two books of the series sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read...I keep hearing such wonderful things about the series in general I guess it's time to finally start the series.

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