top of page

REVIEW: Ironside by Holly Black

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

This book is a direct sequel to the first book Tithe, meaning that we get to see our favourite characters, Kaye and Roiben together. But of course something must go wrong, after all, they are fae.

The time has come for Roiben’s coronation to be the Unseelie King. Kaye declares her love for Roiben whilst drunk of Faerie wine. But In order to keep Kaye safe, Roiben gives her an impossible task; she cannot speak or see him without before finding a faerie that can tell a lie. This is impossible and both of them know it.

Miserable, she returns to the human world and tells her mother that she is a changeling. She was replaced with the real Kaye Fierch after birth. Her mother is shocked and so to try and help her mother adjust, she goes to the seelie court to get her counterpart. But she needs protection now that she does not have Roiben. Silarial offers her protection to and from the court but she has to make a deal with him. Luis, a character introduced in Valiant, is arranged to lead them to the seelie court.

The seelie queen tempts Kaye with her counterpart but she must give up Roiben’s true name. She gives a fake name and then escapes with Ethine, Roiben’s sister, as a hostage. They return to the mortal world to find that Kate, her counterpart is in her bedroom. All three of them talk and Kaye realises that her mother still accepts her as a daughter. Oblivious to the situation, Kaye and Kate’s grandmother just thinks that her daughter had a child without her knowing about it.

Ethine is given back to the seelie court in exchange for Luis’ brother, Dave, who was also introduced in the previous book, Valiant but finds that his brother has already been killed and the fae just return his body instead. Kaye realises that it’s Ethine that he will have to duel with but in order to do that, she claims that she can lie which in itself is a lie. She later reveals that lie could also mean lying on the ground. Words itself are what the fae play with. They are tricksters in tales and so no wonder Holly Black used this word play to suit her own needs. Anyway, back to the story, Roiben glad of the warning goes ahead with the duel and beats Ethine. Roiben gives her a chance to declare her successor but Silarial and Roiben get into an argument over semantics. This in turn gives Ethine a chance to kill Silarial declaring her no longer Queen. She is Silarials heir though but decides to abdicate giving it to Roiben instead. As such, he rules both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts and both will remain peaceful as long as he holds the place of King.

Kaye and Kate decide that they can help each other adjust to their new worlds. Kate with the human world and Kaye with Faerie. Kaye reveals to Roiben though that she wants to spend half her time in Faerie and half in the mortal realm and that she is going to open a coffee shop with Corny and Luis who are now together.

This book was a perfect ending to the trilogy. It gave us back our favourite characters and even ones from Valiant. This gave me such joy. Holly Black’s writing is still honestly astounding. She writes the fae with everything she has got. Giving them just the slightest amount of trickery but making them appear to be such magical creatures. Her writing is honestly one of a kind and she is truly the Queen of Fae. I will continue reading any book that she brings out to do with the Fae because clearly she is a master at writing them.

4 out 5 stars.

Recent Posts
bottom of page