Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Early Review - The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey, Book 4) by Julie Kagawa (4/5 stars)

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: October 25th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0373210367
Stand Alone or Series: 4th book in the Iron Fey series
Source: eGalley though NetGalley.com
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the fourth book in The Iron Fey series by Kagawa. I got an eGalley of this book through NetGalley(dot)com. It was a great book, not as good as the previous series, but it wraps up things nicely. As far as I can find this book wraps up the Iron Fey series. Who knows what the future will hold though?

Ash will do anything to be able to stand by Meghan's side, but she has banished him from the Iron Realm so that he doesn't kill himself trying to stay there. Now Ash has a new quest, to find a way to become mortal. Helping him on his quest his is nemesis/best friend Puck, the ever-sarcastic Grimalkin, and even the Big Bad Wolf. Ash will have to travel to the end of the world and back again if he is to complete his quest.

While this was an excellent story it wasn't nearly as excellent as the first three books. The plot is very linear and having the story from Ash's point of view was okay, but not nearly as awesome as when it was from Meghan's point of view. Ash is a bit too moody and too whiny, there is a lot of humor lost with him as the narrator.

The true point of this book was to give us a more in depth look at the relationship between Puck and Ash and the history behind it. The other goal was to wrap up all of the crazy loose ends that were left from the from The Iron Queen.

Unlike the previous books that had multiple things going on, this story is very linear and quest based. Ash and Puck journey to the seer, then they fight, then they journey to point B, then they fight, then point C, then they fight, ect. etc. It was engaging enough and interesting enough, but not nearly as epic as the previous books. It kind of reminded me of a basic Dungeons and Dragons quest. The majority of the obstacles that Ash and company fight through on their quest are fairly familiar types of things from previous literature (glowing eyed Sphinxs, dooplegangers, etc). We meet a lot of interesting new Fey, but they are met in passing.

We do get to learn a ton about the history between Puck and Ash and about what happened with their former love, Arielle. It was nice to get the back story behind this and it really helped to lend understanding to Puck and Ash's characters. I loved that Grimalkin was in the story so much; the banter between him and the Big Bad Wolf kept things from getting too serious.

I did enjoy how Kagawa explores the theme of what it means to be human and what it means to have a soul as Ash searched for a way to become mortal. This was a large theme throughout the book and it is always an interesting one to read about.

This book does do an excellent job of wrapping things up. Although I have to admit I kind of enjoyed the open ending that Kagawa gave The Iron Queen, it was a unique way of ending the story that stayed true to the not-everything-ends-like-a-fairy-tale feeling that the story had. This wrap-up book seems more like something that was written to make her fans happy than anything else, as such it comes off as almost too good to be true.

Overall this was a good read. If you are a fan of the series you have to read it. I found the story generally engaging and loved some of the new fairies that we run in to. I didn't like Ash as a narrator all that much, he was too broody for me. The story was also much more linear than the previous books and had a bit of quest crawl feel to it. It also ended a little to happy, happy for me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it...it just didn't blow me away like her other books did. This book felt like something Kagawa wrote to placate her fans. Anyway, I am eager to see what she comes up with next. Immortal Rules, the first book in her new Blood of Eden series, is due out sometime in 2012.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- E-book Reading Challenge

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