November 1, 2012

Review: Ironside, by Holly Black

Author: Holly Black
Title: Ironside
Series: Modern Faerytales (#3)
ISBN: 9781847380630
Publisher: Simon Pulse (April 24th 2007)

Buy your copy: Paperback | Kindle | Hardcover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

...the time has come for Roiben's conronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing - her love for Roiben. But when Kaye drunkenly declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest to find 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 when Kaye returns to the faerie courts, a battle of wits and weapons is being waged over Roiben's throne, and she soon finds herself at the center of it all.” GoodReads’ blurb

I read an loved the first book in this series, Tithe, and all the reasons still apply in Ironside (you can find my review of Tithe here, by the way). This sequel also addressed all the issues I hoped it’d address... I’m just not too happy about the answers it gives.

Kaye is feeling out of touch with Roiben, so she does something extremely stupid during his coronation (but I can’t really fault her for it... I might have been equally tricked in her circumstances) and he, long-suffering knight that he is, does the best thing he can think of to save her from herself:

Roiben sends her off in an impossible quest that she must solve if she wants to ever see him again.


So, the book focuses more in Kaye and her relationship to the human world—to Ironside—than it does in her relationship with Roiben, because odds are that one has gone to waste. But then, things start clicking into place and Kaye starts getting funny ideas, and suddenly it’s obvious that the one who needs saving is Roiben.

I will be honest: I loved that twist! Especially because while the plot uncovered by Kaye is huge and complex and it takes her nearly the whole book to figure it out, it’s also really well orchestrated: I made every discovery along Kaye, and I didn’t feel like she was being dumb or finding out stuff by divine inspiration in the right moments.

So, how can she help Roiben if she can’t ever see him again? Not unless she completes her quest... Finding a fairy who can tell a lie.

Not spoiling that, but I loved the ending!  

Perhaps the one part I didn’t love quite so much is the romance aspect. Things seemed all perfect in the previous book, but by the time this one is over, Roiben and Kaye have a relationship that is much more real—wherein they’re equals, instead of a Fairy King and an infatuated changeling girl. Because it’s much more real, Happily Ever After is much harder to come by, and it almost never comes with all the letters in neon pink: it might work or it might not, but either way it takes work and compromise and trust.  Do they have those points in common? Do they have the commitment?

I should have liked the book better for being so realistic. Call me a hopeless romantic every now and then—more so if handsome faery knights are involved.


  1. I really loved this series. It totally made me fall in love with all things fae. I'm glad you've enjoyed it as well.

    1. Agreed. Then again, I'm pretty infamous for my fae obsession so... it was a pretty sure hit! :)

  2. Ah! Thank you so much for reminding me of Tithe. That book was one of my favorites when I was younger, and I even wrote to Holly Black (gasp! A snail mail fan letter) and received a really sweet response back. I'd be very interested to read this.


    1. Hahaha! Nothing wrong with fan letters. I love them, and these days I send a lot of fan tweets! :) If you loved Tithe, I think you should really read this one; it's a very good companion!

  3. OOhhh, its been two years since Ive read Tithe! and wow I almost forgot that it was in a series. Im looking forward in reading this book. I enjoyed Tithe so much. aww Ron, youre not alone with being hopeless romantic, trust me! Glad you enjoyed this anyhow Ron, great review. x

    1. It's a bit of a weird series, since book 2 isn't really part of it (but part of the cast from book 2 makes an appearance in book 3...)

      I hope you'll enjoy this one! :)