Tuesday, July 11, 2017


It's time for Roiben's coronation to be made the offical king of the depraved Unseelie Court. Kaye, who is just getting used to her pixie state after being raised as a human, is having trouble fitting in to the court. During the celebration, Kaye drinks more faerie wine than she should and drunkenly declares her love for Roiben in fae tradition. It's customary for him to give her some sort of trial, an easy one if the love is returned, and she can't see or speak to him until the task is done. His task is for her to find a faerie who can lie, which is completely impossible. Shocked and reeling, Kaye returns to her home and goes into a shame spiral, resulting in telling her mother that she is a changeling. When trying to retrieve her human counterpart, Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court, attempts to ensare Kaye into her plan to take the Unseelie throne from Roiben. How can Kaye hope to beat the ancient queen of the faeries at her own game?

I seriously love this series so much. I have no idea why I waited so long to read it. It combines so many things that I love: dark faeries, realistic characters, twisty plots, unconventional romances, sword fights, and games of wit. While there is one fairly one dimensional villain, both sides of the conflict are largely in shades of grey where both do good and evil for different reasons. How they appear is not usually how they actually are and it has led to many surprising and turns in the series. This installment also merges the characters from Tithe with those from Valiant, but I felt they were underutilized considering an entie book was spent building up their characters. I especially loved returning to Kaye and Roiben and seeing that the events of Tithe didn't magically make all of their problems go away.

Kaye is still lost as a newfound pixie and Roiben still holds all his feelings inside without sharing all of himself with Kaye. Now that Kaye knows what she is, she no longer truly belongs to the faerie world or the human world. Faeries view her as ignorant, socially inept, and someone to play tricks on, as close to human as a fae can get. She sticks to the human world most of the time because she can at least glamour herself to fit in even though she knows she doesn't belong there anymore. As before, she's prone to drowning her sorrows in booze instead of facing them head-on. This paired with her eagerness to be accepted into fae society as Roiben's mate drove her to declare herself to Roiben.

Roiben also has a lot of baggage. He feels similar to Kaye about the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. While the depravity and cruelty of the Unseelie Court disgusts him, he has found that the Seelie Court isn't much better after being blind for so long, especially since he has seen his former Queen and former beloved Silarial's true colors. Kaye is his escape from all of it and he didn't want to endanger her by putting a big target on her forehead as someone to torture or kill to get to him. While his reasonings aren't terrible, he doesn't share anything with Kaye. leading to her spiral after he very publicly and soundly rejects her declaration.

Ironside is an amazing end to a strong series. I was on the edge of my seat for much of the end since I couldn't figure out how Roiben and Kaye would get out of their predicament. The clever thinking and faerie logic that leads the story in unexpected places is unparalleled. Holly Black is the queen of faerie stories as far as I'm concerned and I can't wait to read The Cruel Prince when it comes out. She always writes unexpected stories with engaging characters and I will read every book she writes, especially if it's in the fae world.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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