As of late, this reader has become discouraged with YA novels. Either the characters are too one-dimensional, the writing is terrible, or the story itself leaves something to be desired.
Fortunately that is not the case for Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, and even more so for The Iron Knight, the final book in the series. Unlike the previous three novels (The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, and The Iron Queen respectively), The Iron Knight is Ash’s story. Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, must embark on a journey to the End-Of-The-Earth to earn his soul—a feat that will render him impervious to iron and reunite him with his love, Meghan, now queen of the Iron Realm. Accompanying him on this harrowing journey is Ash’s sworn nemesis, Puck, and Grimalkin: the faery cat that always seems to hold the answers. As expected, this quest is far more difficult, both mentally and physically, than either of the boys had ever imagined—Ash slowly realizes what having a soul really means, and the things he must sacrifice to earn one. Adding into the mix of already quirky characters, Kagawa reintroduces familiar characters into the story including a surprising appearance by a certain character that will leave readers devouring page after page until the very end.
Kagawa’s writing is in top form here. The story, as with her previous novels, is unique and hauntingly beautiful. Kagawa provides the perfect blend of description and action to paint the surreal, and sometimes frightening, world of Nevernever. Yet, the true winners of Kagawa’s epic novel are the characters. Every character, whether they are major or minor, has a distinct voice. Kagawa breathes such life into every character she creates that the reader can picture them perfectly in their head. They can hear Puck’s sarcastic comments; they can feel Ash’s icy stare; they can picture Grimalkin sauntering off in boredom. Breathing life into this many characters is not an easy feat, but Kagawa handles each voice wonderfully leaving the reader unable to forget any one character.
As a fan of novels in a series, this reader is always a bit apprehensive when a series finale is released. Either the ending is too tragic, or the novel ends where the character gets everything they want, does not sacrifice anything, and leaves the reading shaking their head. Kagawa does not disappoint in The Iron Knight. The story ends with a sense of finality and peace, which forces the reader to reflect on how the journey started and how the characters have grown so much in the end. Readers will laugh; they will certainly cry, and they will put down The Iron Knight with a tear in their eye and a smile on their face.
The Iron Knight will be released on October 25, 2011. For more information, please visit Julie Kagawa’s website. For further Iron Fey adventures, Winter’s Passage and Summer’s Crossing are available for download.