Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.
To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight.
And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.
With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s
To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.
I felt tricked, worried, and deceived so many times while reading this book that I lost count. All the unexpected (but expected subconsciously) happened. It's hard writing this review because we don't want to give anything away! But, if we slip up oh well, it won't be any of the major things we promise. So let's start with the characters.
Ash (sigh)....the knight in shining armor, or in all black in this case. I loved getting to see into his mind. You don't really appreciate a main character until you see what they think and Julie has touch every main character in that way. We saw into Meghan's mind the first three books and a novella, Puck's mind in a novella (which is hardly enough), and Ash's mind in this book. See all their perspectives on the same subject forms a full picture and the picture itself is beautifully done. Now, back to Ash (sigh).
He is so determined, even when faced with the unthinkable his determination didn't change. I felt so bad for him throughout the entire book because it seemed like every time he took five steps forward he would be pushed back seven. The journey to the End of the World was dangerous and everyone with him had their lives risked many times (except that sly kitty Grim). Ash was put to the ultimate test all for a human soul and each trial that the Guardian gave him pushed him to the limit and past sanity. Reliving past experiences and going through the pain of losing love and having the ghost of his first love haunt him daily, fighting with the barely tamed Unseelie darkness living inside him, Ash's life was in a hell of its own. But, the thought of Meghan made everything he went through, every relived sin worth wild. His love for her never wavered, and even lead him to her through his dreams. I know Gomez is probably gagging right now over my undying love for Ash, but I can't help it. He is just so great and she can't deny that either.
So, every epic journey needs companions and who better to be involved with mischief than the unrelenting, sometimes pushy and annoying, Robin Goodfellow who prefers you call him Puck. The trusty Puck is back and is determined to make Ash's life even more complicated than it already is. Tempting powerful witches, attracting uncertain nastys, and being the fool of the troop, Puck is keeping the journey to the End of the World as fun as he can. But, even Puck is tested on the journey. He too has to relive the past with Ash, a past they shared and regret; the past that lead them to become each other's greatest enemy and ripped apart their friendship. He is also confronted with the untamed and wild ferocious side of himself that he doesn't want to become; the side that wishes to stick a dagger in the back of Ash and anyone that gets in his way. After this book and Summer's Crossing I have to say that Puck has grown on me (Gomez in background victory dancing). He is as awesome as Gomez has said and he would've been a great choice for Meghan if Ash wasn't in the picture. Sure he has his cons but his positives outweigh his negatives. But, this story doesn't just have Puck and Ash.
Grimalkin, our disappearing guiding cat is back and is even more cynical. Demanding a favor for his kitty knowledge (of course), Grim leads Ash and Puck to the Seer who can tell Ash where to find a soul so that he can be with Meghan. That sneaky cat knows it all and is constantly disappearing and reappearing on the journey, but he isn't the only talking animal with them. The Big Bad Wolf from Winter's Passage is with them by request from Queen Mab. The immortal hunter is on the journey for the story it will make, and by including himself on the journey and placing his mark on the tale he extends his life. I think that occasionally he regrets the decision because of a certain talking cat and his snide remarks and constant opinions on if he is a dog.
But, there's a twist in the story and a mystery character is introduced. The Seer, the one who has dictated everyone's lives since before Meghan was even born but knew it all had to happen for her to save the Nevernever. Every detail that lead up to Meghan's first arrival into the world of fey was because of the Seer. The visions and possible outcomes that he/she saw brought Ash closer and closer to his soul, but the Seer was a distraction that held him back as well. I don't want to say why the Seer is so important but I will say that without it the Nevernever would've fell to the Iron fey soon than later.
Julie, we want you to know that we appreciate every piece of work you have done for the Iron Fey series. Your books have been center to some of our biggest arguments and is one of our favorite series. Every book held a different reaction and caused different feelings, but never ceased to amaze us. Word is that your making a continuation of the Iron Fey series but from Ethan's perspective. We can't wait to see what you do with that story and we look forward to reading more of your work.
P.S. - I hope you speak more of a certain son of a certain queen and her consort :)