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 side.
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. (from Goodreads)
So I'm debating or not whether I'm glad to have read this. On the one hand, I really prefer The Iron Queen's ending to this one. But on the other hand, this book really improved my thoughts on the Iron Fey world and on Julie Kagawa's writing. I think, because of this, I'll read the spinoff trilogy starring Ethan Chase, Meghan's brother. I'll start off with the bad, then get to the good.
I don't know if all fey (or half fey) except for Puck are like this, but Ash was really, really mopey in this book. Meghan turned on the waterworks in every chapter of the books she narrated, it seemed. And even though Ash never cried, he moped around and thought a lot about Ariella and Meghan and lost loves. I really think I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been from Puck's view, but maybe he'd have been moping around, too, lamenting the fact that Meghan wanted Ash, not him.
The tests. I don't know what was so bad about them, but those were not 'impossible.' And just a head's up, Kagawa, making your MC live through all his worst mistakes is not a good way to get your readers to like him. Especially when one of those mistakes was making a girl fall in love with him just so he could break her heart. (Highlight to view spoiler)
The best part of the book, of course, was Puck. He was the one that kept the book from being a mopefest. And when Ash was being particularly mopey and blaming Puck for Ariella's death, telling him that he'd never felt loss like Ash had, Puck put Ash in his place. As you can tell, I'm Team Puck.
The other great part was the worldbuilding. Seriously. The River of Dreams reminded me a lot of the River Styx. The Phaed, where creatures forgot who they were and their existence. Those parts were significantly creepy to distract me from the mopefest that was the narrator.
Really a 3.5.