Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: Ironside (The Modern Faerie Tales #3) by Holly Black

Synopsis (via Goodreads):
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?
My Thoughts: Oh, what a fabulous ending to this trilogy!  Fabulous!  And now I see how Valiant ties in with Kaye and Roiben's story and I'm a little giddy on the world that was created here.

I loved Roiben's progression through the books.  He's had to make himself hard and emotionless to survive the atrocities that Nicnevin forced him to commit.  He had to turn his heart to stone to keep from losing his mind.  Then he met Kaye and that all started to get stripped away.  He cares for her and he perceives that as a weakness.  Of course that's because weaknesses are exploited in the Unseelie Court.  So he pushes her away and walls himself off even though he longs for Kaye.  *sigh*  I LOVE IT!

Like I said, I loved the emotional journey Roiben had to go on.  He had to realize for himself that loving Kaye wasn't a bad thing and they were stronger together than apart.  Kaye, on the other hand, needed purpose.  She'd always been nomadic and flighty due to her mother's lifestyle but she lost even the sense of family she clung to when she found out she was a changeling.  She didn't have a true place in either the Unseelie Court or the Seelie Court and she felt cut off and cast out by both.  Throw in her mom's horror at finding out the child she'd raised wasn't her own and Kaye was left floundering.  Without Corny as an anchor, she would have had nothing.

So, Kaye had to find a purpose.  And she did.  I think that the fact that she didn't grow up in either court and was more human in her thoughts than most fae gave her an edge.  She doesn't think like them so she's able to think around them.

As far as the overall arc went, I loved it.  I always enjoy when the person who's perceived as the good guy (in this case Silarial) is just as twisted as those they claim to stand against.  Silarial is pretty much a sadistic nutjob, despite the spin she tries to put on her actions.

All in all, I was very pleased with how this series ended.  It was equal parts beautiful and terrible and I loved it all.

On a shallow note, I think the paperback cover with Kaye and Roiben is fantastic.  I love how she has her hands fisted into his jacket and just how pretty she looks in general.  Roiben's eyebrows freak me out a bit, but I can overlook that because graspy-clutching-hands!

Other reviews in this series:
Book 1: Tithe
Book 2: Valiant

More books by Holly Black

Read and reviewed for the YA Reading Challenge, the TBR Challenge, the Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge, and The Morbid Romantica Challenge.


  1. nice, site... many interesting things.
    just a random drive by blogging...

  2. i love faeries and the modern tale of faeries series. All around holly black just rocks!