Saturday, June 09, 2007

Book Review: ironside

ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale

by Holly Black

As Roiben's coronation as King of the Unseelie Court approaches, Kaye is uncertain where she stands. She doesn't feel like she completely belongs in either world, faerie or human, and she's not certain where she stands with Roiben. The Unseelie Court sees her as a liability and an inconvenience, and they tolerate her only for the sake of their new King. Goaded by some of the Unseelie Court, Kaye publicly declares her love for Roiben and he gives her an impossible quest to prove her love: find a faerie who can tell an untruth. If she succeeds, Kaye will be his consort and sit by his side; if she fails she can never see him again.

While Kaye seeks for something that doesn't exist, she and Corny, who is conflicted after his experience in Faerie, along with Luis from Valiant, are drawn into the impending war between the Seelie and Unseelie courts. The devious Silarial, Queen of the Seelie Court, is determined to rule both courts and will stop at nothing to triumph over Roiben.

Like Tithe and Valiant, ironside is a dark and compelling book. Even if I hadn't been reading it for the 48-hour book challenge, I probably would have read it straight through; it's a hard book to put down. Black is brilliant at showing how the faeries can be both horrifying and seductive, often at the same time. But where Tithe conveyed the horrors of the monsters of Faerie, this book is more about the monster within. It's also a great twist that the Queen of the Seelie, or Bright Court, is devious and cruel, while the King of the Unseelie, or Night Court, is a compassionate faerie who struggles to "be like ice" as is required of the Unseelie King.

ironside is definitely my favorite of the series. Holly Black is a gifted writer and I hope that she continues to write YA fantasy.

323 pages

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