The Iron Knight is the 4th book in The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa. (not including the two short stories that were released between books, which are very much worth reading.)
If you haven't read the first three books, The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, and The Iron Queen, you may want to read these first before you read my review of the 4th book.
In fact, if you love faery lore, forbidden love, love triangles, and plenty of action/adventures with amazing writing, read this series.
Last we left Meghan, she had become the Queen of the Iron Realm in the NeverNever. There was just one problem, the love of her life, a winter fey, could not survive in the iron realm as iron is deadly to most fey. At the end of the last book, Ash swore his fealty to Meghan as his queen, taking the vows as her Knight and vowing to find a way to be with her.
This is Ash's story. He embarks on a journey past the end of the world to become mortal and win a soul so he can return to his beloved Meghan. His companions are Puck, Grimalkin, the Great Wolf, and a surprise companion that shakes him to the core, making him wonder what future he wants, and if he wants to continue on this journey.
The journey is anything but easy. He faces a number of challenges with his companions before he even reaches the Guardian and the required trials for becoming mortal. When he makes it to the Guardian, he is put through a series of trials to see if he is fit to become mortal and what it really means to have a soul. It turns out Ash really knows nothing about being a mortal. He gets a glimpse into a future where he is without magic, and ages while those he loves stay the same. Once again he must ask himself if the things he must give up are worth being with the one he loves. And can he handle re-visiting all of his past sins when he gets a first taste of what it's like to have a conscience? Can he ever live with all the evil things he did as the Winter Prince, son of Queen Mab?
And there is one more thing. If he decides to go through with it, one of his companions must willingly give up their life for him. Even if one of them was willing to make that sacrifice, would Ash ever allow them to? But what about Meghan? She has been busy ruling the Iron Realm. Without knowing about Ash's quest, and having heard no word from him in quite some time, is there any guarantee that she has not moved on to someone else in his absence?
This is a fitting conclusion to one of my favorite series ever written. It's no wonder I traded many hours of sleep and potential quality time with my family to read this. Kids? What kids?
Even though this appears to be a conclusion, I would love for the story of these characters to continue. This fourth book is in response to the fans and their feedback. Who's to say we can't encourage the author to write more? Where's the petition for a 5th book? I'll gladly sign it!
As if this book isn't wonderful enough, at the end (after the acknowledgments) the author gives us a hilarious "Survival Guide To The NeverNever" full of helpful tips from what to wear, what to pack, what food to bring, weapons you'll need, how to interact with the fey, and your best chances at avoiding sudden death should you find yourself in the NeverNever. Cause you just never know...
The Iron Fey is available for pre-order with a release date of October 25, 2011.