Ironside (Modern Faerie Tales #3) by Holly Black
Publication: April 24th, 2007
Genre: YA Fantasy
In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing — her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.
Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth — that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen? Holly Black spins a seductive tale at once achingly real and chillingly enchanted, set in a dangerous world where pleasure mingles with pain and nothing is exactly as it appears.
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Ironside picks up two months after Tithe left off. Roiben is officially having his coronation to become King of the Unseelie Court. Kaye is there and hears some other fae making fun oh her. When she becomes drunk on faerie wine she declares herself to Roiben (which he did not want her to do because of reasons later learned). He sends Kaye on an impossible quest (find a faerie who lies) that she must complete before she is allowed to see or speak to him again. As if that is not enough of a crazy mess for Kaye she tells her mother that her real daughter is in Seelie land and that she is a changeling. The Queen of the Seelie Court attacks Roiben and Corny gets a curse put on him that he feels is sort of a blessing because he can disintegrate anything he touches including fae (some of whom he hates). The end to this trilogy is just as magical as the other two and blends fantasy with characters that are real, raw, and flawed. It has a nice flow and I loved the ending of it all. The conclusion to the series was very satisfying.
We have the return of the characters from books one and two and they continue with their real and raw flaws. They still drink and shoplift, they have crappy parents, they are immature and pretty over-emotional. But it is very realistic and they have redeeming qualities. These are strange and some are non-human but you can identify with them a lot. Roiben still has a sense of wanting to protect Kaye and will even make her think he doesn’t love her. Kaye is still fun and fierce. Corny is sarcastic and learning some feelings he has for Louis (from book two). I love them all a lot and they were so fun to read about again.
The story is intense and weaves a beautiful blend of magic and reality. The plot and characters are fleshed out incredibly well. I really love Holly Black’s writing and how whimsical it all feels. I get drawn into the world of these books.
“You are the only thing I have that is neither duty nor obligation, the only thing I chose for myself. The only thing I want. ”
“She knew what it felt like to tremble like that before touching someone — desire so acute that it became despair.”
“Whatever you love, that is your weakness.”
“The more powerful you become, the more others will find ways to master you. They’ll do it through those you love and those you hate. They will find the bit and the bridle that fits your mouth and will make you yield.”
“They say that nameless things change constantly -that names fix them in place like pins. But without a name, a thing isn’t quite real either.”
“Corny nodded, but when he moved to put the key in the ignition, Luis’s hand stopped him. When he turned, their mouths met. “I’m sorry… that I’ve been,” Luis said in between kisses,”distracted… by everything. Is it morbid… that I’m talking…?” Corny murmured something that he hoped sounded like agreement as Luis’s fingers dug into his hips, pushing him up so they could crush their bodies closer together.”
“He had known only two rulers, both great and neither good. He did not know how to be any kind of King nor how to win, other than to be even more ruthless than they.”