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Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale
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In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben's coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can't see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn't exist: a faerie who can tell a lie. Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother's shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben's throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen? Holly Black spins a seductive tale at once achingly real and chillingly enchanted, set in a dangerous world where pleasure mingles with pain and nothing is exactly as it appears.

Customer Reviews:

  • Excellent book!
    Holly Black is an awesome writer. Couldn't put the book down -- easy read and loved the story. Anxiously awaiting her next book!...more info
  • this got published?
    I picked this up because I had heard about Holly Black's modern fairy tales. I spent the first 50 pages trying to figure out what this fairy world was all about and even by the end of the book I still wasn't sure. Transitions and scene descriptions are nearly non existent. I don't mind foul language if it is useful to the story but this was gratuitous and used only for shock value. Just throw some f bombs in to grab your attention. I didn't care about any of the characters and the amount of detail Miss Black spends on describing their attire is about as shallow as their personalities. These kids love purple plaid and grasshopper green and don't mind cigarette smoke. And when the grandmother offers them beers as nonchalantly as chocolate chip cookies, well then the hipness falls flat and I don't want to be in that world not even for a brief read. ...more info
  • Enticing and delectable read for all ages!
    I was sucked into this trilogy upon recommendation by several friends. I must admit, I was at first quite skeptical as to whether or not a teen faerie tale would appeal to me, but I decided to give the first book (Tithe) a shot anyway. After reading Tithe, I was hooked on the delectable world Black had created, and wanted to read further.

    Valiant, in some ways, was very disappointing to me at first. For the end of Tithe left some loose ends dangling precariously. I wanted to know, as many readers did I'm sure, what happened to Kaye and Roiben after that tale ended. Rather than picking up where Tithe left off, Valiant begins another story set in the same time and the same world. While mentioning some of the characters from the previous book, Valiant really is in many ways a stand-alone novel. Though Valiant doesn't really satisfy in terms of picking up Kaye and Roiben's story, it is quite an excellent read in and of itself. The lack of continuity between the books left me a tad skeptical to read the third. Nonetheless, the tales were both so downright intriguing that I had to read the third.

    With Ironside, Black does a wonderful job of telling another wonderful tale, bringing in several characters from both books, and tying up some loose ends. Kaye and Roiben are back and the tension between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts has grown. Kaye, being the punk changeling that she is (I mean that in a good way) has gotten herself into quite a mess that she's working on sorting out. Luis is working on keeping him and his brother safe in ironside after the events that took place in Valiant. The Seelie queen's true colors are shining through upon Roiben's coronation, in which he formally claimed the Unseelie throne. Overall Black's writing seems to have developed quite a bit between all three novels, and it really shows in this final book. The plot is, for lack of a better word, much tighter and very well-developed.

    On the whole, it's difficult to not fall in love with the world and characters Black has created in her "Modern Tales of Faerie," and it's hard to not find something or someone in these tales to relate to, no matter your age. I highly recommend the entire trilogy to any fans of fantasy literature, or anyone looking for a light-hearted romp through a fun and mystical adventure world. I'd love to see the characters come back in yet another tale in the future!...more info
  • Love this series!
    I loved this book. So far I have really loved all the books in this series. This books continues where the book Valiant left off. Roiben is set to become king of the Unseelie court. Roiben struggles with what will happen when he is crowned king and the uncomfortable treaty with the Seelie court is broken; he wonders if war is inevitable. Kaye struggles with her place with Roiben and the Unseelie court. She is also struggling with the knowledge that the baby human whose place she grew up in is still alive and Kaye feels that she needs to reunite her "mother" with her true daughter. Corny struggles with his fear of fairy and his grief over the death of his sister.

    This book is an easy read. The characters are all likable. A few new main characters are introduced. Luis is a great character and as likable and angsty as the rest of them. The book is fast paced and is a great book about faery. I have always loved urban fantasy, Charles De Lint being the first urban fantasy author I ever read. This book is a great addition to my collection. There are new fairies, action, duels, riddles, curses, you name it. I love how there is a little romance in the book but it is not overpowering; relationships are kept to simple hugging, kissing, and cuddling. There are too many fantasy book out there that get too physically in depth with the love thing, if you know what I mean (see Laurell Hamilton book review). This book leaves you with a happy pleasant feeling at the conclusion.

    That being said I am always surprised that these are considered young adult books. There is a lot of swearing and also more "adult" topics to deal with. For example Corny is gay and the Unseelie court revels in a number of horrific forms of torture and killing. None of these things are gone into in overly explicit detail but still. I would say that mid to upper teens would be okay with these books; they are not books that I would read to my 10 year old or younger.

    Still these books are fun and enjoyable. The author definitely has a love of fine literature and I enjoy all of the fine literature quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Black seems to pick these quotes with care so that they reveal and foreshadow the chapter to come. I love it!

    I hope there will be another book; although this book is wrapped up pretty nicely so who can say....more info
  • Her prose is like poetry
    This is a wonderful book. Black's prose is like poetry and her plotting is both tight and graceful. You really need to have read, at least, the first book to fully understand what is happening. But Tithe, Valiant and Ironside are wonderful books and you won't be disappointed....more info
  • Ironside
    It is a very nice book, shipped quickly and i'm very happy with amazon's service. ...more info
  • Wonderful dark fantasy book
    When I read the book for the first time, it absolutely blew me away. I loved the fact that it was a faery tale with a modern twist. However, I'm not going to dwell on the high points of the book here, as other reviewers have already done so eleganty. Still, there were a couple of things about the book that bothered me after I thought for a while, which I wanted to share with other potential buyers.

    With the vast majority of fantasy books, the "quest" that Kaye must fulfill is a MacGuffin. It had little relevancy to the actual story, and the whole point of including the quest was to get Kaye to do something on her own and not lean on Roiben's shoulder, the way I saw it. Kaye found she could lie as a faery by taking an amazing leap of logic and claimed: "I'm lying." With which Ruddles predictively replied, "Faeries can't lie." Kaye then pointed out that one of them must be lying, since their statements contradicted each other.

    "I'm lying" is a paradox. It is neither false nor true and contradicts itself. Therefore, Kaye did not actually find a faery that could lie. Of course, none of the characters in the book actually noticed this, and I don't think Black did, either. Even if we ignore this glaring plot hole, the way Kaye conveniently figured out how to sidestep the quest was deus ex machina at its finest. At the crucial moment, where Kaye must talk to Roiben before he gets himself killed in battle, a major personality inconsistency occurs and she finds a way to cheat the quest.

    What also made me want to rip my hair out was the stupidity that occured throughout the book whenever "the bargain" was mentioned. Basically, Silarial offered Roiben a way out of war between the courts by having him fight "her champion." Ooh, how vague. If he lost, he would forfeit his lands and his life. If he wins, she will leave the Unseelie Court unmolested for seven years. Why is it that Roiben and everyone else automatically assume that Silarial's champion is Talathain? The Bright Queen was portrayed as cunning the whole book, and Roiben should have known this better then anyone else. Did he really expect for a second that this would be a fair duel? Yet Silarial has everyone wrapped around her little finger for the majority of the novel. (except for the reader, a twelve year old girl. I figured out what would happen the moment Ethine first mentioned the bargain, as anyone with half a brain would have).

    Why Roiben sent Kaye on an impossible quest is still obscure to me. He said he would have to have a "heart of stone" to make her his consort, yet after Kaye completes the quest, he seems amused, of all things, and seems glad to have Kaye rule alongside him. Something smells like a plot hole.

    The last thing I want to touch upon here is Roiben's personality(s). I don't understand how he can be so self-loathing and heartless to everyone around him, even his own sister, and then suddenly open up to Kaye at the end of the novel. I understand that he loves Kaye, but it seemed too extreme, even at that.

    Despite these flaws, Ironside is a wonderful book, and I enjoyed it very much. Highly recommended. ...more info
  • A satisfying merging of two great story lines
    Wow! Holly Black strikes again! This was a really good book - perhaps not as great as Tithe or Valiant, but satisfying nonetheless. With Tithe, you're introduced to Black's faery world - rich, dark, and creepy as all hell (which, I suppose, is her point). I loved it, and Kay is a wonderful charater in and of herself. When I bought Valiant, I was expecting more of the same, but the book delivered an alternate view of the same world, contributing to the exceedingly multi-dimensional aspects of the gritty, urban existence Black so exactingly creates. So, having read about Kay and then about Val, I wasn't sure what I would be gettin with Ironside: one or the other? Getting both was very fun. The world of Ironside is, as a result of the first two books, extremely detailed and complex - as are the characters - and, once again, a wonderful place to read about. Black's faeries aren't gossamer or wispy, but that's what makes them so fabulous. Those who have read Tithe may feel a little let down by Roiben's distance: he is both cold and inaccessible in Ironside, especially when one yearns for his love like Kay does. While Ironside can get convoluted at times - the blending of the two storylines can result in some confusion, and no one should read Ironside without having at least read Tithe first, and preferably both Tithe and Valiant - the result is, overall, an extremely pleasing, dark, and tangible faery tale that I highly recommend....more info
  • A place where death, love, and magic intertwine
    In Ironside, the sequel to Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, world-weary Kaye, who's discovered that she's actually a pixie and not a human teen, pursues her love of Roibin, faerie king of the Unseelie court. Roibin, recently crowned king of the dark beings after seizing the throne by force, sends her on an impossible quest: find a faerie who can lie.

    Kaye is still struggling with her newfound magical nature as a pixie, while her friend Corny, still grieving over the death of his sister, falls hard for Luis, the human they enlist to help them negotiage with the faeries. Kaye is the only one to know Roibin's full name, giving her complete power over him. The only problem is that his former lover Silarial, queen of Seelie, also wants to use Roibin as a pawn to control both courts.

    Ironside contains much more graphic violence as the war between the faerie factions kicks into deadly high gear. The Seelie and Unseelie courts are locked in fierce battle, with high casualties on both sides, and Kaye may hold the key to preventing the death of those she loves.

    An enchanting sequel, Ironside gave a much deeper look at Roibin's horrific past and the physical and emotional scars he bears. As with Tithe, there is a great deal of swearing, drinking / drug use, and violence, so sensitive readers beware. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Kaye and Roibin....more info
  • Good .. but somthing was missing for me.
    I liked this book, I did but honestly I thought I would like it more. not that I didn't enjoy it, hard not to like Holly's work really. It's just that I felt it didn' carry quite the same weight as the other two. It's possible that because I liked Valiant so much that going back to Kaye's story interesting as it was, was like backsliding a little. Another reviewer pointed out that perhaps the reason Ironside is a slight let down is because we don't find out why Kaye was switched in the first place. I thought of that while I was reading, but I came to the conclusion some where along the way that there was no real reason that Kaye was switched, at least in the Kaye is secretly someone uber special, who's destiny will alter Faerie forever kind of way. I think it had more to do with the fact that Chibi-Kaye (I love that) was exotic looking and as such would have atracted the notice of the Fey, like an unusual piece of art, they wanted to collect her. Of course that doesn't reall account for why The Brite Queen wanted her looked after, but the books don't say that that is an unusual thing, or maybe I missed it. After all such a big thing is made of Pixies being low born it just doesn't make sense the the Seelie Gentry would single Kaye out. another thing is, I would have liked to know Kaye's true name, though I can see why Kaye herself woudn't want to know it.

    But mostly the thing I found odd was that Ironside seems to be an ending. If this is the end why write Valiant at all, yes there are cameos on all sides through the three books but it's still off. Unless Valiant's purpose was to introduce Luis and Dave, but if it was why have Val as the center of the story instead of Luis and Dave themselves. I don't know, Guess I'm hoping there will be more books. it would suck to have all these questions go unanswered. And because these are some seriously good reading....more info
  • Better Than The Other Two
    I keep getting these books as gifts, and they aren't terrible to read, but they're certainly not good.

    I don't believe Holly Black's characters. Her plotlines follow a cliche sort of already-done model.

    This book was better than books one and two, though, so I guess that's something....more info
  • Just as good as Tithe, only a little different feel to it
    I loved this book as much as I loved the first ( Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale ), even though this book was written quite a bit before Tithe (October 1, 2002) it was just as good a read. Although, it does seem a little less "dark" than Tithe had, even less so than Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie for that matter. For those of you who care, Ironside also has less swearing than Tithe ( it's still there, just not on every page ). I'm not going to say anything about the storyline because I'm actually really bad at doing that, but I will say that a few characters from Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie make an appearance here (including Luis, who moves up to be a main character for Ironside). Well i hope you enjoy this book as much as i did.
    oh also i want to put in (I only like buying books if the author is a nice person ) that i met Holly Black, and she IS a nice lady.
    ...more info
  • Sad this series is over...
    This book is even better than the first two. It ties Tithe and Valiant together, really making it feel like a series. I was excited we got to find out what happened to realKaye. While this was a nice wrap-up, I'm hoping there will be more... or maybe another series about these wonderful characters....more info
  • After the Bordertown era
    Punk fantasy with a heroine who has her own fears while trying to do the right thing for the ones she loves. A nice piece for those of us who fancy ourselves changelings. Less sex than the adventures of Merry Gentry....more info
  • A improved sequel: better characters and writing, still magical setting and human issues. Recommended
    A direct sequel to Tithe, Ironside picks up two months after Tithe left off. At Roiben's coronation as King of the Unseelie Court, Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, who in turn sends her on an impossible quest to prove her love to him. Meanwhile, Kaye decides to tell her mother that she is a changeling, and the Queen of the Seelie Court attacks Roiben, leading to a series of quests wherein Kaye must find her human double, find a way to save Roiben, and bring Roiben a faery that can lie before she can see or speak to him again. Continuing with the vibrant magical atmosphere and faery world of Tithe, Ironside is the work of a much more mature and accomplished author: the characters are more realistically flawed while still being sympathetic, and the writing style is skillful and polished. Meanwhile, the story is still otherworldy, emotional, and honestly confronts difficult subjects. This book is not perfect, but it is a magical and enjoyable read, and I do recommend it.

    I should note here that I have not read Valiant, which falls between Tithe and Ironside in the series. However, these two books do make sense without Valiant.

    After reading Tithe, I had high hopes for Ironside. I hoped that it would have the same intense and well-conceived since of magic, but that it would exhibit Black's increased experience as a writer, and have better characters and a more polished style. I'm glad to say that my hopes were fulfilled on all accounts: Ironside contains all of the good qualities from Tithe and avoids many of the pitfalls of that first novel. The characters return, and continue with many of respective flaws: they drink and shoplift, they have deadbeat parents, they are immature and over-emotional. Yet these flaws are more realistic and the characters have gained good qualities. They have GEDs, they have real problems behind their emotional complaints, and they have become affectionate and sometimes even thoughtful. These are now characters that, however unusual or even non-human they may be, the reader can identify with, and the text benefits for it. The text also benefits from an experienced and matured writing style: the plot flows at a smoother pace and the climax and conclusion are better crafted and more complete, the repetition of phrases and actions is largely absent, and the overall text reads smoother and exhibits better editing. This book is written by an experienced author, and it is a sympathetic, well-paced, skillful piece of work.

    Alongside these clear improvements, the magical and human aspects of Tithe remain in all of their glory. Black's faeries are vividly conceived and described, from the grotesque and violent Unseelie Court to the apple blossom-strewn Seelie Court. Even better: The Unseelie Court now has a sympathetic ruler, and the Seelie Queen is a villain, adding realistic complication and interest to the darks and lights of faery politics. Kaye's search for her human double explores new aspects of Black's faery life and culture, as does the journeys of the two human characters, one of which desires to be more than human, the other of which hates faeries. The multiple quests of the plot are a classic storytelling structure, and they create subtle but important character growth in all of the main characters. Black does not try to avoid mature subjects, but rather explores everything from homosexuality to love to death in a way that is respectful, honest, and still appropriate to a young adult audience (that is, there are no explicit sex scenes or exceptional gruesome deaths). Both magical and distinctly human, Ironside is at once enjoyable and avidly readable as well as meaningful and personally relevant.

    While Ironside is by no means a perfect book (the characters and plot points are cliche, the dark court remains pointlessly dark, and Kaye and her friends in their personalities and experiences are not entirely realistic or deeply explored; all in all, it is not the most skillful or most memorable text), it is a great improvement and an enjoyable read. I believe that it makes more sense and is more enjoyable if the reader has already read at least Tithe, so pick up that book first. But Ironside shows a true step forward in Black's work as an author as well as being magical, meaningful, honest, edgy, and an approachable and swift read. I was happy that I picked up this book, and I do recommend it....more info
  • Ironside, an excellent read
    I enjoyed this book evan more than the first. I had a hard time putting it down. Totally enjoyable....more info
  • loved it
    Black did a wonderful job combining the characters from the two previous faery novels into this one. In Ironside, Kaye attends the coronation of her beloved only to get tricked by some of the more devious faery into declaring herself to Roiben. Basically, what this means is that she will be given a task and if she completes it, she will become Roiben's consort for all time. Usually, if the person you declare yourself to loves you back, they assign an easy task, but if they did not love you, the task would be impossible. Unfortunately, Kaye's task seems to be one of the latter.

    On another bad note, when Kaye tells her mom the truth of her be a changeling, Ellen freaks and insist that Kaye returns her true child to her.

    To go even further down into misery, it seems that Corney is headed into a one-way street to self-distruct. Yeah, yeah, I know, it sounds totally depressing, but don't give up, because Kaye and Corney don't. You'll also love the reappearance of Luis--the altra smart brother from Valiant.

    You will not be able to put down the book as you read how Kaye and Corney work through their problems. I was even flipping forward through the book, because I just could not wait and see if things would work out....more info