When we last left Meghan, Ash and Puck, Meghan had just become the Iron Queen, she had released Ash from his knighthood oath and Puck was his usual goofy self. In The Iron Knight we flip to the point of view of the Winter Prince, Ash who has been banished from the kingdom of Tir Na Nog by his mother, Queen Mab. He decides to take the journey to the End of the World to gain his soul so he can live with Meghan in the Iron Kindgom. Along for the ride are Ash's best frenemy and constant prankster, Puck and the ever enigmatic and disappearing cait saith, Grimalkin. They are joined by The Big Bad Wolf and a surprising blast from both Ash and Puck's past. They all must survive the trip the very scary, but not scarily named River of Dreams so Ash can try his luck at the testing grounds that will give him the ultimate prize of a soul--unless the trip and tests make him change his mind.
One of the things that I sometimes find frustrating in books written in the first person is not knowing what the other characters that are pivotal to the story are thinking or feeling. I'm a nosy person (when I'm reading a book) and I want to know the points of view of everybody. With this book we get to see what Ash is seeing, thinking, feeling, etc. and it is a nice change from knowing everything from Meghan's perspective (not that it was a bad perspective but, hey, change is good, right?).
I really loved this story and the fact that Ash, Puck and Grim set out on an adventure together. I really hated that Meghan wasn't involved. The addition of Ash's lost love, Arianna, wasn't quite the same as having Meghan there and having her show up in a few of Ash's dreams didn't quite fill the void that she left. After three novels and one short story (Summer's Crossing was from Puck's point of view--also a nice change) from Meghan's point of view it was a little strange not to have her as a major part of the story. However, while Meghan was sorely missed it was nice to have an adventure where Ash and Puck had to deal with each other, their history and what their friendship still meant to each of them. They had to rely upon each other (as well as Grim and The Big Bad Wolf) to make it to the testing grounds where Ash could try to obtain his soul. And, as for the test, I can see how the mentally challenging tests he had to overcome might be difficult for an immortal being, but the act of actually making it to the testing grounds seemed more strenuous physically than the tests Ash had to pass before gaining his soul.
My surprise in the type of tests notwithstanding this was a really good book and an excellent ending to the series. I'm so glad we got Ash's perspective and saw where he came from and what he ultimately became. I sensed his growth and change in the first three books but from Meghan's standpoint it was hard to see the internal struggles and feelings he was going through. Julie Kagawa created a great world and fun, amusing and exciting characters and I'm sorry that the series is over (at least I assume it is).
I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher for a fair and honest review. The Iron Knight will be available for purchase October 25, 2011 by HarlequinTeen.