I have been looking forward to this book ever since I finished Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, and Holly Black most definitely does not disappoint. IRONSIDE picks up soon after the events in Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale and Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, and takes the reader on another breathless journey into the amazing and deadly world of Faerie.
Things have been uneasy ever since Roiben assumed the throne of the Unseelie Court, and with the threat of war in the air and Roiben’s coronation drawing near, everyone is on edge. Changeling Kaye Fierch knows that she loves Roiben, but she feels increasingly unwelcome and out of place in the Unseelie Court. So the night of the coronation, determined to prove herself to Roiben and the rest of the court, she makes a formal declaration and pledges herself to him as his consort. However, faerie custom demands that a quest be undertaken before anyone can sit as the Lord’s consort, and Roiben grants Kaye an impossible task: to find a fairy who can tell an untruth. Now she is forbidden from seeing or speaking to him until she completes something she knows cannot be done.
Kaye doesn’t know where to go, because she has been feeling uncomfortable at home as well, knowing that she stole a human child’s life. In a moment of desperation, she tells her mother the truth: that she is a changeling that was switched with Ellen’s real daughter, the real Kaye, and she vows to retrieve her from the Seelie Court and return her to Ellen. She feels that this, at least, is something she can do, even if there’s no way she can complete Roiben’s quest.
But with all the tension between the courts there is nowhere safe, and in venturing into the Seelie Court to find her human counterpart, Kaye puts herself within reach of Lady Silarial. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she’s willing to do anything, including using Kaye, to get it. Once again Kaye finds herself in the middle of Faerie politics, but this time Roiben’s not there to save her, and she may not have a way out.
In my personal experience it is rare that a sequel ever lives up to the first book, but IRONSIDE does just that. Full of court rivalry, deception and betrayal, sword fights and murder, faerie curses, new romances, and even characters from Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, IRONSIDE is another wonderful foray into the dark, gritty world of Faerie and will not leave readers disappointed. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you pound your pillow in frustration and clap your hands in delight. My one and only complaint is that this is the last book set in this amazing world.
Reviewed by: Andie Z.
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I was sucked into this trilogy upon recommendation by several friends. I must admit, I was at first quite skeptical as to whether or not a teen faerie tale would appeal to me, but I decided to give the first book (Tithe) a shot anyway. After reading Tithe, I was hooked on the delectable world Black had created, and wanted to read further.
Valiant, in some ways, was very disappointing to me at first. For the end of Tithe left some loose ends dangling precariously. I wanted to know, as many readers did I’m sure, what happened to Kaye and Roiben after that tale ended. Rather than picking up where Tithe left off, Valiant begins another story set in the same time and the same world. While mentioning some of the characters from the previous book, Valiant really is in many ways a stand-alone novel. Though Valiant doesn’t really satisfy in terms of picking up Kaye and Roiben’s story, it is quite an excellent read in and of itself. The lack of continuity between the books left me a tad skeptical to read the third. Nonetheless, the tales were both so downright intriguing that I had to read the third.
With Ironside, Black does a wonderful job of telling another wonderful tale, bringing in several characters from both books, and tying up some loose ends. Kaye and Roiben are back and the tension between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts has grown. Kaye, being the punk changeling that she is (I mean that in a good way) has gotten herself into quite a mess that she’s working on sorting out. Luis is working on keeping him and his brother safe in ironside after the events that took place in Valiant. The Seelie queen’s true colors are shining through upon Roiben’s coronation, in which he formally claimed the Unseelie throne. Overall Black’s writing seems to have developed quite a bit between all three novels, and it really shows in this final book. The plot is, for lack of a better word, much tighter and very well-developed.
On the whole, it’s difficult to not fall in love with the world and characters Black has created in her “Modern Tales of Faerie,” and it’s hard to not find something or someone in these tales to relate to, no matter your age. I highly recommend the entire trilogy to any fans of fantasy literature, or anyone looking for a light-hearted romp through a fun and mystical adventure world. I’d love to see the characters come back in yet another tale in the future!
I liked this book, I did but honestly I thought I would like it more. not that I didn’t enjoy it, hard not to like Holly’s work really. It’s just that I felt it didn’ carry quite the same weight as the other two. It’s possible that because I liked Valiant so much that going back to Kaye’s story interesting as it was, was like backsliding a little. Another reviewer pointed out that perhaps the reason Ironside is a slight let down is because we don’t find out why Kaye was switched in the first place. I thought of that while I was reading, but I came to the conclusion some where along the way that there was no real reason that Kaye was switched, at least in the Kaye is secretly someone uber special, who’s destiny will alter Faerie forever kind of way. I think it had more to do with the fact that Chibi-Kaye (I love that) was exotic looking and as such would have atracted the notice of the Fey, like an unusual piece of art, they wanted to collect her. Of course that doesn’t reall account for why The Brite Queen wanted her looked after, but the books don’t say that that is an unusual thing, or maybe I missed it. After all such a big thing is made of Pixies being low born it just doesn’t make sense the the Seelie Gentry would single Kaye out. another thing is, I would have liked to know Kaye’s true name, though I can see why Kaye herself woudn’t want to know it.
But mostly the thing I found odd was that Ironside seems to be an ending. If this is the end why write Valiant at all, yes there are cameos on all sides through the three books but it’s still off. Unless Valiant’s purpose was to introduce Luis and Dave, but if it was why have Val as the center of the story instead of Luis and Dave themselves. I don’t know, Guess I’m hoping there will be more books. it would suck to have all these questions go unanswered. And because these are some seriously good reading.