|The Iron Knight|
|Publication date||October 25, 2011|
|Cliffnotes||Cliffnotes: The Iron Knight|
|Cover Gallery||Gallery: The Iron Knight|
| Preceded by|
The Iron Queen
| Followed by|
The Iron Knight is the fourth and last book in the original Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. It is taken from Ash's point of view after the events in The Iron Queen as he tries to "find his soul" to find and live with Meghan again in the Iron Realm.
It was released October 25th, 2011.
Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.
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.
Detailed Plot SummaryEdit
This page contains spoilers for the fourth book, The Iron Knight. It is advised not to read this page without reading the first three books.
The third book ends when in Ash's POV, when Ash and Puck have just set out to find Grimalkin. So the fourth book starts some time into their quest, as Ash and Puck have already looked almost everywhere for Grim. They are in the bone marsh, and head to the home of Babba Yaga, a powerful witch who Grimalkin is rumoured to keep company with. However, once they meet her, things start out on a bad foot, because Puck has already gotten on Babba Yaga's bad side. Ash introduces himself, and tells her that he is looking for Grim. She asks him why, and he tells her that he is on a quest to become mortal. She tells him that that is foolish, and that he doesn't know a thing about being mortal.
Grimalkin then appears. He has, of course, heard their entire conversation, and agrees to come along for a favour. They head off quickly, so that Babba Yaga does not come after them. They exit the marsh, and camp out for the night, where Ash has a dream in which a mysterious person shows him what the Nevernever would be like had Meghan failed to defeat Ferrum. As Ash wakes up, Grim tells them that he knows a Seer, who will let them know the way for Ash to gain a soul. The next day, they begin to travel, when they come across an Iron Faery in the Wyldwood. The faery is a knight, who tells them that there has been an attempt on Meghan's life, and that the people responsible have fled to to a nearby tower. Ash and Puck set off to defeat them, and find that they are Rowan's old Thornguards, having lost their purpose after his death. As they fight them, Ash starts to feel like he can relate to the Thornguards words. However, they kill them all.
After fighting side by side with Puck, Ash is reminded of their old friendship, and why it ended; the death of Ariella. After he is disrupted from his thoughts by Puck, he tells him that he will kill him. They find a cave to stay in, as it has started to rain. Ash and Grim start to get the feeling that they are being watched, and Puck and Ash argue again. They set off again, still feeling watched, and reach a lake. Grim says that they are are almost there, vague as usual, and tells them that the Ballybogs on the other side of the lake owe him a favor. They cross the lake, only to see that the Ballybog village has been destroyed. They hear their stalker coming closer, and decide to stand and fight it. Puck heads over to a hill, to get higher ground, and they find that it is a troll. Grim disappears, and they fight it. Once they think it has died, they start to relax, only to have Grim reappear and tell them it isn't dead yet! They fight again, and are losing, when their stalker hurtles out of the bushes and kills it. It's the Big Bad Wolf from winter's passage.
Wolf tells Ash that he has been sent by Mab, and Ash misunderstands him, thinking he has come to kill him. But the wolf reveals that he will help them on their quest, and they head off. After a bit of travel, they reach a strange, misty hollow. Grim says this is where he leaves, and that the seer will be through the hollow. Wolf says he will scout the perimeter, and Puck and Ash are left alone. They head into the hollow, and Ash hears his voice being called. He sees a ghostly figure and runs off, leaving Puck behind.
He reaches the centre of the hollow and sees, lying in the mud, a Wyvern skeleton. He realises that this is where Ariella died. Puck comes running through the brambles to find him, and Ash asks him if he knows where they are. Puck figures it out and Ash faces him, accusing him of Ariella's death, and tells him that he's going to kill him now. Puck tries to hold him off, but eventually gives up. After Ash accuses him again, Puck yells at him and blames him for taking Meghan away from him. Puck throws down his daggers and tells Ash to go ahead. Ash almost kills him, but ends up throwing his sword into the bushes. He stalks off after it, and kneels in the mud. Just then, the seer appears, revealing itself as Ariella, alive and whole. Puck and Ash return with Ariella to her camp, where she tells them what happened after her "death".
Puck and Ash talk, and decide that, ultimately, Ash's oath against Puck is over. The both relax a bit, but Ash tells Puck not to get to friendly, because he might still kill him. They return to Ariella, who now has Grim with her too, and tells them that Ash could gain a soul after the trials at the end of the world. They all start off to the End of the world, meeting up with the wolf as they leave. Eventually, they reach the river of dreams, which Ariella says will float them to the End of the World.
They find a raft and take off. After a stop, they reach the nightmare stretch. There, strange newt creatures, called Hobyahs, try to attack them from the shore. They are protected in the raft until an attack by Lampreys, who knock them out of the boat. Ash is dragged out of the river by the Wolf, but Puck and Ariella have been dragged away by the Hobyahs. Wolfand Ash head to the hobyah village, reuniting with Grim, and save Puck and Ariella from the hobyahs. However, Ash is spat on with Hobyah venom, and falls into a deep sleep. In his dreams, he finds Meghan, and they share a dream together. However, Ariella comes to get Ash, and Meghan thinks that Ash is with her now, leaving.
Ash awakens and talks to Ariella, and then they all continue on foot, since their raft is gone. Grimalkin says he knows of a ferry that travels up the river, but doesn't know where to find it. Ariella says she has seen them taking the ferry, and that they need to find the dock. Eventually, they reach Phaed. Which Grimalkin informs them is where the fey go to die. Here, they find a ferry dock, but no boat. A local fey tells them that the boat usually appears a day after there is need for it, and advises they spend the night. They do so, and Ash has disturbing dreams about his future.
The next day, they all wake to find the dying fey surrounding the inn they had slept at, stealing their glamour. They fight them off just in time to catch the ferry. Ash questions Ariella about his dream, and she tells him it could be his future. As the ferry travels, they find that they must go through the briars to reach The end of the World. They pass trough, but run into spider beasts along the way. Ash and Puck use their glamour combined to fight them off. Finally, they reach the temple that leads to the end of the world. There, they meet the guardian of the end of the world, who tells them to reach the end of the world, they must go through the Gauntlet in a limited amount of time, or be trapped there forever.
They run the gauntlet, facing fu dogs, fire, sphinxes, and mirror images, and reach the end just as the door is closing. But Wolf throws himself under the door, keeping it open for them. Once they reach the end of the world, The guardian tells Ash that there will be three trials, and that the first is at dawn. They are lead to their rooms, and Puck comes to talk to Ash. Ash tells Puck to watch out for Meghan if he doesn't make it, and Puck agrees. The first test hows Ash what its like to have a mortal body by making him fight beasts and lose. The next teaches what it is to feel remorse by making Ash regret his many mistakes. In the final, Ash is shown an approximation of how his life could be. At the end, the Guardian leaves him to ponder if he truly wants a soul, and with encouragement from Ariella, he says yes.
The next day, Ash, Puck, an Ariella arrive at the enrolment ceremony. The guardian than tells him that for him to earn a soul, some one must willingly die for him. He is shocked, and tries to refuse, just as Ariella says she'll do it. He begs her not to, but she steps up anyway, and the guardian gives him his soul, Ariella disappearing forever. The Guardian gives Ash a globe that he needs to smash, this will transport him to the mortal world, from where he can take a trod to the Wyldwood. First, however, Puck, Grim, and Ash return to Wolf, who is still stuck in the door. They free him, and Ash finds he can still use glamour. Wolf departs to the deepwyld, and the remaining three head to the mortal world.
They arrive in a city, and Grim says he knows a trod near them. They head off, Puck and Grim invisible, and start toward the trod. However, on the way, they are held up by mortal thugs, whom Ash and Puck fight off together. They reach the trod, located in a half-breed's pawn shop, and head into the Wyldwood, where Grim leaves them. Puck and Ash reach the Iron kingdom within two mortal days' time. Puck departs, leaving Ash on his own.
The book ends in Meghan's POV. She is doing her job as queen when Glitch leads a cloaked figure into her throne room. The figure is Ash, who explains what he's done, and they reunite.
Then, you get a glimpse of Grim, heading into a blooming hollow where a Wyvren skeleton lies. Saying hello to a cherry blossom tree that was once Ariella.