Ironside by Holly Black: A Book Review

#3 of the Modern Faerie Tale trilogy

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Blurb: 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?

Thank goodness we are back to following the story of Kaye and Roiben. I still don’t really understand why the 2nd book of this Trilogy was even needed. I honestly feel that you could skip the 2nd book if there was just an extra introduction for Luis and Dave in Ironside. Especially the fact that the 2nd book was from the view of Val who isn’t even in this story… but enough about Valiant, this review is about Ironside.

Ironside is the conclusion to the Modern Faerie Tales series in which Roiben, now King of the Unseelie Court, is at war with Silarial, the Queen of the Seelie Court, and Kaye is sent on what seems an impossible quest by Roiben in a (really bad) attempt to keep her safe.

The development of Corny, who is Kaye’s best friend, in this book is fantastic. In the first book (Tithe), I saw him as kind of a weakling, with no goals in life and over all… kind of pathetic. In this book, he became more confident, more bad-ass and much less of a wet lettuce. I also enjoyed the relationship build up between Corny and Luis, though again, in Valiant, I honestly thought Luis was straight.

Reading Tithe (book 1), I needed Roiben on every page, in Valiant (book 2) I definitely needed Roiben (and Kaye) on every page, but with Ironside, I realised that I didn’t mind that Roiben wasn’t always in the picture, I was still enjoying the story – the adventure of Kaye, Corny and Luis on an impossible quest.

This book wasn’t as dark as the others and I think I missed that in places but overall it was a fantastic conclusion to a story. I think what I enjoy about this series by Holly Black, is that it is dark and a lot of unexpected things happen. I was hoping, and this is why I have given it 4.5 out of 5 stars, that the ending of this book wouldn’t have been so ‘happy ever after’ and that the ‘good guys’ might not have got nearly everything they wanted.

Valiant by Holly Black : A Book Review

#2 of A Modern Faerie Tale trilogy

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

When seventeen-year-old Valerie Russell runs away to New York City, she’s trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city’s labyrinthine subway system.

But there’s something eerily beguiling about Val’s new friends. Impulsive Lolli talks of monsters in the subway tunnels they call home and of a powder that makes shadows dance around her. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures no one else can see. And then there’s Luis’s brother, Dave, who makes the mistake of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who has goat hooves instead of feet.

When a bewildered Val allows Lotti to talk her into tracking down the hidden lair of the creature for whom Luis and Dave have been working, Val finds herself bound into service by a troll named Ravus. He is as hideous as he is honourable, and as Val grows to know him, she finds herself torn between affection for him – and fear of what her new friends are becoming because of him.

****I just want to warn you that this review contains a lot of spoilers.****

Eurgh, what even… I don’t… I’m confused! I seriously stopped three times to check this was the correct book. It follows completely different characters than the first book. I just wanted to continue with Roiben and Kaye’s story but I ended up with over 300 pages of filler!

According to the Blurb, our main character Val, is

‘trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her’

Now what could be so bad to use the phrase ‘utterly betrayed’? That must be pretty bad right? She finds her boyfriend cheating on her with her own mother. Now, yeah that is pretty bad but I think the blurb is definitely over the top in that sense.

Val changes her identity by literally shaving her head. That’s it. After a rough night sleeping at the train station, Vale goes to a coffee shop where she ends up meeting Lolli and Dave. They stole a kitten from a pet shop and this is how they get talking to Val.

Lolli and Dave are two junkies, they go dumpster diving and they sleep in the tunnels. They aren’t really characters you get attached to, you wouldn’t want to become their friends…well I wouldn’t anyway. They do drugs, they steal. Lolli even throws the kitten under a train because it is annoying her! This really made me mad and I just thought it was unnecessary to put that in the book. I already disliked her and now I hated her so I was hoping for karma to come and bite her in the ass further in to the book but I was left highly disappointed but yet still super upset about the kitten.

During the story Val ends up saving the life of a Troll (half Troll, half Human) called Ravus and as repayment she asks for him to teach her how to use a sword (strange request really after all she could have asked for). Her sword skills are needed later on in the book but she could have literally asked for anything so I just found it really odd. There was no real reason behind it apart from that the author needed her to learn sword skills so she could write the ending how she wanted it. The relationship between Val and Ravus blossoms apparently enough for them to fall in love. I think this part of the story fell short, there wasn’t enough growth for me and it just seemed to come out of nowhere.

Finally, at the end of the book, Roiben from Tithe (the 1st book of the trilogy) comes in to the mix but again, I was left disappointed with how the story got to this point.

This book is very dark which I usually like ( it covers drugs and addiction, forced sex, animal cruelty and death). But for me the animal cruelty was just too far. Even if it is just one sentence in the book.

After reading this back, I realise that I seem to have slated the book yet I’ve still given 2.5 stars. The thing is, it kept me turning the pages, it did keep me interested and I read it very quickly so it couldn’t have been that bad. I just don’t see the point in the book and I’m hoping that the next and final book in the trilogy will make me realise why this book is so important to the storyline.

I’m hoping for the 3rd book to bring this trilogy back up to the star rating I believe it deserves.

Tithe by Holly Black : A Book Review

#1 of A Modern Faerie Tale trilogy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Blurb: Kaye used to see Faeries.

They’re still there. But Kaye is not a child anymore. Now sixteen, she’s dragged into the thick of their dangerous, frightened world. A realm where black horses dwell beneath the sea, desperate to drown you… where the sinister Thistlewitch divines dark futures… and where beautiful Faerie knights are driven to perform acts of brutal depravity for the love of their uncaring queens.

There Kaye finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could end in her death…

Hm, how do I start this review? How about, WOW! This is the first ‘Faerie’ (why is it spelt like that and not like fairy?) book I have ever read. I’m used to cute, tiny fairies like those from that film ‘Fairytale: A true story’, not dark, evil, and in Roiben’s case, sexy fairies! What is going on here?

When I read the prologue, I didn’t think I would enjoy this book. A hell of a lot happened in just a few pages, it seemed rushed but I decided I would give the book a chance. I am so glad I did. I bloody loved it!

The female lead, Kaye, she isn’t your ‘normal’ female protagonist that you find in so many other books – she isn’t an average looking (yet all the guys find them totally irresistible), clumsy, boring white girl. She’s also one of those characters who you love or you hate and I know for some people, after reading other reviews about this book, that if they don’t like the female lead then they don’t enjoy the book. Well, I found her to be more REAL than a lot of other female leads I’ve read about. She doesn’t always do what she should have done, but, and not to get all philosophical on you all, but nobody is perfect and that reality really shines through Kaye’s character.
At one point in the book, spoiler alert coming up, Kaye is asked by her faerie friends to keep her glamour on until she is needed for the Tithe. You’d expect her to do this but she didn’t, she was selfish and wanted to see herself without a glamour on. I actually gasped out loud at this part and asked her ‘what are you doing?!’ like I was actually going to get an answer back (I then see my boyfriend looking up psych wards for me).

On to the male lead, Roiben. Oh, Roiben… *drools*. Ummm, sorry about that. Well Roiben is dark, he is evil, he is everything you wouldn’t want in a man unless you are in to the Legolas look and the (insert psychopaths name here) personality. Ok, I’m definitely in to the Legolas look so maybe that wasn’t the best way to deter you from falling for Roiben, but you will…trust me. Now, one thing I usually hate about about books where the male lead is kinda evil, is that they always become soppy, loving sissy’s but I didn’t seem to get that with Roiben, he still ended up being bad-ass but kinda romantic too in not such an obvious way.

Now I don’t really want to say too much more as I have rambled on, but I think I don’t want to spoil the book. I just really think you should read it and let me know what you think!
I will just add though that I love how dark the book is and with this being my 1st fairy book, I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Trilogy but I am also disappointed that all other fairy books are ruined for me as I just know none will ever be as good as this one (until proven otherwise).

Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews : A Book Review

(#4 of the Edge Series)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Blurb: The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale – and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has been filled with nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. But when Richard mar is brought to her for treatment, Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.

Richard is a swordsman without peer, the future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan – and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe our slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. SO when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, he and Charlotte may not survive…

This is the fourth book and also the last book of the Edge series and I’m actually sad that it has ended. Richard is related to Kalder (from Fate’s Edge, #3) and Cerise (Bayou Moon, #2) and I love how all the character’s and books are connected.

Charlotte is a new character, never introduced in the previous books. She is a blueblood, the first blueblood female lead in this series. I really enjoyed this change and thought that the author still managed to give her such a personality, somebody I would want to be friends with.

Richard is trying to bring the slavers down. You find out why he is so against these slavers in the story and it really touches your soul, so much so that you become invested in the story and genuinely want them to succeed. Tragic circumstances leads Charlotte to rescuing Richard from the slavers but to do this she has to use her powers to kill instead of heal. Every time she does this, it brings her closer to the dark side of the magic, the side that she will never be able to come back from.

The story brings Richard and Charlotte together as lovers as they journey on this adventure together. Richard needs Charlotte’s killing powers to succeed but at the same time knows that Charlotte can’t give in to the dark side and wants to protect her making the journey even more difficult for them both.

Jack and George make a long appearance yet again with absolutely cracking character development on both parts. This book is dark and tests the minds of all of the characters throughout the story.

Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews : A Book Review

(#3 of the Edge Series)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Blurb: The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy rale – and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Born into a family of con men, Audrey Callahan left behind her life in the Edge for an unmagical existence in the Broken. Audrey is determined to stay on the straight and narrow, but when her brother gets into hot water, she takes on one last heist and finds herself matching wits with a jack-of-all-trades.

Kaldar Mar is a gambler, a lawyer, a thief, and a spy with some unusual talents that guarantee him lucrative work. His latest assignment has him tracking down a stolen item, and Kaldar doesn’t expect much of a challenge – until Audrey turns up to give him a run for his money.

But When the missing object falls into the hands of a lethal criminal, Kaldar realizes that in order to finish the job and survive, he’s going to need Audrey’s help…

Another fantastic book in the Edge Series! I loved how the characters were introduced separately and how they then come together.

Kalder was introduced in Bayou Moon as Cerise’s cousin and I wanted more, so again, I was delighted to find that he was the male lead in this book.
Forget what I said in my previous review about being in love with William – I am absolutely in love with Kaldar. Yes, he is the typical bad boy that you would NOT take home to your parents but he is funny, naughty and charming all at the same time. In love with a fictional character, how is that possible? That must be the talent of Ilona Andrews.

Look at this for a description of Kaldar, this had me giggling so much:

He was probably conning his mother out of her milk the moment he could grin. He’d charm the clothes off a virgin in twenty minutes. And if the poor fool took him home, he’d drink her dad under the table and beguile her mother…In the morning her dad would be sick with alcohol poisoning, the good silver would be missing together with the family car, and in a month, both the former virgin and her mother would be expecting…

Audrey, the female lead, is yet again a badass that takes no shit from anybody. She is hilarious and gives Kaldar a run for his money when it comes to charm, sarcasm and thieving.

In the first book (On the Edge, Rose’s brothers George and Jack had a little place in my heart so I really missed them in book two (Bayou Moon). In this book however, they were pretty much front and centre in the adventure working alongside Audrey and Kaldar.

I would say this book wasn’t as DARK as the last two but it does have its moment. It’s not every day you have your friends head thrown at you by the enemy who has just killed said friend, the enemy you are escaping from with two children in tow.

I’ll be reading the last book of the series now, I’ll be sad to finish it but I hope it is as good as the rest.

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews : A Book Review

(#2 of The Edge Series)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Blurb: The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale – and the Weird, where bluebood aristocrats rule, changlings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the aweird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge – and Cerise’s life. William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead to cross paths, sparks fly – but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed… and survive.

Again, such a fantastic book by Ilona Andrews. I loved how dark it was. I loved Cerise’s and William’s relationship and the fact that it wasn’t instant love but built up throughout the book. William was my favourite Character from the previous book in this series, so having him as the male lead made me really excited to read this book.

As previously stated in my review for another book by Ilona Andrews, each character is described so well it is like I knew them in real life, it made me become attached to the characters.

The reason I did not give 5 stars is because of the ending. It is still a great ending but William goes on a quest to retrieve Cerise’s father. This is explained and completed within just a few pages which I didn’t think was deserved. I would have loved to have read the full story of William rescuing Cerise’s father and I think the author would have the ability to make this a full length book, but for some reason decided not to.
The epilogue was fantastic and has set the scene for the next book in the series. Thank god I have this on my bookshelf as I do not have the patience to wait.

On The Edge by Ilona Andrews : A Book Review

(#1 of the Edge Series)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Blurb: Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.

Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power).

But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them—or they’ll devour the Edge and everyone in it.

I would class this as one of my first, if not my first ever Urban Fantasy read. It did not disappoint and has opened up a whole new genre I didn’t even realise existed. I find this book hard to fault. I love the characters, the storyline, and the romance as it isn’t too soppy.

Rose is a strong female lead who doesn’t need a man to look after her. She lives with her brothers, George and Jack (ages 10 and 8) who are so adorable and you can’t help but become attached to them.
As for the male lead, Declan, I found it hard to like him at first but I believe this was intended by Ilona Andrews as Rose doesn’t trust him one bit when he turns up. Rose also meets a guy called William (who I liked more than Declan) and I couldn’t help but love him. I was hoping for the two of them to get together but excitedly found out that William is the male lead in the next book of this series.

You can tell the authors have talent just from their descriptive powers alone. I could picture everything and found myself being a part of the book – in the Edge, the Broken and the Weird, helping Rose and Declan defeat Casshorn and his hounds.

The book was darker than I thought it was going to be which may have made me like it even more.

Please let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought about it. If you haven’t, do you want to?

  1. Hi Liz Me again (without spelling my own name wrong 🤦‍♀️) Thank you for taking the time to read and…

  2. Thank you for taking the time to read and support authors, myself included. Hope 2022 holds the best for you!

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