The Iron Knight by Julie KagawaThe Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Knight

byJulie Kagawa

Paperback | October 25, 2011

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My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn'darkmyr Tallyn. I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her. My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl

To cold 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 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. And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Don't miss the first book in Julie Kagawa's highly anticipated new series, TALON, AVAILABLE OCTOBER 28, 2014
Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California on October 12, 1982. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked in bookstores and as a dog trainer. Her books include The Iron Fey series, The Iron Legends, The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series, and The Talon Saga.
Title:The Iron KnightFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 8.25 × 5.38 × 1.1 inPublished:October 25, 2011Publisher:HarlequinLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0373210361

ISBN - 13:9780373210367

Appropriate for ages: 14

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read I love how this series goes into depth with the characters, it really gives you an insight to the formation of each person.
Date published: 2017-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! I love Ash's character! This is a wonderfully written story, romantic and full of plot twists.
Date published: 2017-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my fav An adventure with ash, Puck and our lovely cat friend. SIGN ME UP! I absolutely loved this addition to the series. Not only did it tie up the loose ends from the last book, we got to see Puck and Ash as they would have been before Megan. Highly recommend
Date published: 2017-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Iron Knight I liked hearing it from his perspective. A great addition to the series.
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from enjoyable Perhaps my least favorite in the series but still an enjoyable read
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A page turner So while my favourite character in this series is Puck I absolutely loved this book. (Obviously cause more Puck!) But seriously this book was fantastic as it pushes Ash as a character and challenges him which is quite interesting to see. This book is amazing. It's actually heartbreaking in a good way but seriously very heartbreaking but in the best way possible
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Different A departure from the previous books but still enjoyable
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good It was a departure from the previous books but still enjoyable.
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book I liked this book because it gives you a new perspective on the story. Ash is trying to go through trials so he can be with Meghan in the Iron kingdom. Another good book in the series. Love the world of the Fey. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All The Ash! Fantastic way to end out the series with Ash going on his own adventure in an effort to find his way to Megan. I didn't really like the love triangle direction it took at times, but the story was nonetheless romantic, exciting, and character driven. And also super creepy at times. Really going to miss these characters!
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Iron Night Really good story and a great ending to the series.
Date published: 2014-09-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good! Really good but a little confused about the ending
Date published: 2014-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Iron Knight I am amazed at how Julie Kagawa can keep thus book series interesting for so long. I cried, I yelled, and I held my breath out if anticipation. This is a truly amazing book.
Date published: 2014-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Series Can't wait to read the next book...very captivating.
Date published: 2014-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Series I love this series. I highly recommend it.:-)
Date published: 2014-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phrancyne Because I am a Cat... loved every minute... <4
Date published: 2013-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So sad I dont want it to be done :(
Date published: 2013-07-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Best fant Fantasy series ever. Romance and action packed
Date published: 2013-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I'm so sad that this is the last of it. :,(
Date published: 2013-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Iron Knight What an amazing ending to a very creative series.
Date published: 2013-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love What a great series. Love the ending.
Date published: 2013-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The end It's always sad to see a great series come to an end but Julie did it well.
Date published: 2013-02-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 4 stars This is a very good series. I enjoyed it very much
Date published: 2013-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Iron Knight Now Has An Iron Soul First, I'd like to start off this review with a possible spoiler. BUT IT WILL ONLY BE IN THIS PARAGRAPH.... SOMETHING DRASTIC HAS HAPPENED IN THIS FINAL IRON FEY NOVEL... GRIMALKIN WAS WRONG. WHAT?! MIND. BLOWN. Erm. Anyways. After that embarrassing fan-girl moment, in all seriousness, this book was absolutely AMAZING. I will admit, however, that in the beginning I wasn't nearly as enthralled as I was during the third part of the book. But once I began reading the third part of this book, I was on an emotional roller-coaster that refused to stop until it came to a soft and fitting stop and the end of the book. I cried at so many parts during this book, I'm having a hard time myself believing it really happened. When I first started reading The Iron Knight, I was a little weary that we would just get another POV from Meghan... But we would be following Ash instead. But that wasn't the case AT ALL. Kagawa was very successful at giving Ash his own voice in this series, and I was amazed and enchanted by the change that occurred throughout the novel. Starting off as a cold, detached and flippant voice that we all know and love, Ashes voice evolved into a much more lovable and reachable character, all while still being himself. If that makes any sense. All in all, I really loved this book, probably more so than the Iron Queen and I if you're sitting there, reading this and debating if you should bother to go out and buy the book... Do it for Grim. Because their is nothing better than a cat. Ps; I loved the ending Kagawa gave Grim. Makes him all the more awesome in my eyes! You can find me @
Date published: 2012-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best one yet! Very satisfied with the end of the series, suspensfull to the end. Could not have asked for better!
Date published: 2012-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great end to the series The conclusion to the Iron Fey series left me both sad and satisfied. Sad, obviously because it's over and this amazing universe that I've loved reading is finished. Satisfied because I felt Julie Kagawa ended it in a way that could make fans of both the Ash/Meghan and the Puck/Meghan happy. Out of all the books in the series, this one is my favourite since I felt a connection to Ash throughout the entire series. It's a scary thought, to be bound to a promise you make. A threat said in a moment of anger means a lot more in the Faery world than it does in ours, as does a promise of devotion. Ash's journey to be able to stand at Meghan's side in the Iron kingdom, the trials he went through, and he lessons he learns were fantastic. As always, the relationship between Ash and Puck was my favourite part and held a lot of laugh out loud moments along with some moments were I held my breath as I turned the pages.
Date published: 2012-03-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh! This book just did not do it for me. The others were great but this one was lacking what the other books had. It starts off with Puck and Ash on a guest to find the end of the world so that Ash could become human and be with Queen Meghan in the Iron Kingdom. It lacked something. I don’t know what. Ash and Puck are joined by Grimalkin and the big bad Wolf. Ariella joins them as well. (I hope I didn’t spoil anything) Ash is so struck by the fact that she was alive this entire time. I felt his pain and all but at least he knew that he wanted Meghan and no longer was in love with Ariella. I kind of wished she put up more of a fight and didn’t give him up that easily, but that is just the way I wanted it. The way to the end of the world was dull. There was danger and excitement but I didn’t find myself eager to pick up the book. That’s why it took me so long to read. The majority of the book was the journey there. *Yawn* The one part I liked the most was when the Guardian made Ash experience all the soulless actions he had done in his past. He made women fall in love with him only to tear out there hearts. He killed innocent people just to amuse his queen and butchered civilians because others had beet their lives. That was probably the best part. The reunion with Meghan was alright. Other than that, it was okay. I would normally give it 3+ stars but I liked after when the book was done, the author wrote a little guide book in entering the Nevernever which was pretty funny and she also wrote Q/A’s and there were special guests who helped her answer the questions. Yup, that’s all. Done with the Nevernever.
Date published: 2012-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from omg that was the best well it is kinda sad to see that this is the last book out of them all i wish they could have gone on forever i loved them so much i was so upset at ash at the start of this book thinking he loved and wantred her more then meg but in the end it was nice to see the way he left toward us humans god this was such a great book 10 thubs up
Date published: 2011-11-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cheated Spoilers below… So here’s my complaint. I have loved this series since the first installment. What was my favourite part of the series? Megan and Ash…together…the interaction between the two characters and what would become of them. Megan is hardly in this series. It was great getting to know Ash in a different way but the final journey of the series, in my opinion, should have been taken by the two of them. This is not to say that I hated the book, I did like it but I did not love it. I felt cheated of the perfect ending for this particular series. It felt one sided. The story line with Ariella was predictable and as much as I liked her I think she should have shown more passion for finally getting to see the one she loved, or at the very least show some attitude towards Megan. As much as I enjoy seeing Ash show a little emotion, especially when it comes to Megan, I liked that he was the ICE Prince whose heart only melted for her. Looking at the up side of this book – Ash and Puck are always great to read about together and of course Grim is in the entire book and I love him, and the idea of the future that awaits Ash and Megan is heart warming. I would still recommend the series but I at the moment I sit disappointed.
Date published: 2011-11-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Satisfying ending Spoilers below I enjoyed Ash's POV but there were some negative parts to the book for me. First of all, Megan was barely in this book at all. Secondly, I wish Ariella wasn't brought back into the story. I really do like her (in fact I find her character more interesting than Megan) but I didn't like the purpose of her role in this book. I feel Ariella's character deserved more. Overall the ending was satisfying and this was a good series.
Date published: 2011-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfect end to the series What sets this book apart from others in the Iron Fey series is that it is told from Ash's point of view, not Meghan's. I was a little wary at first. I like when Meghan tells the story. Over the course of three novels we've really seen her grow as a person and I was worried that the Iron Knight just wouldn't have the same feel without her. Well all my worrying was for nothing. Julie Kagawa does an amazing job of shifting the viewpoint. It doesn't feel forced, it feels natural, like Ash has been telling his story the whole time. This story is incredibly well put together. Not only does it tie up all the lose ends of the previous books it also goes back and fills in some earlier details. In particular we get to find out more about Ariella, her relationship with Ash and their friendship with Puck. I don't know about the rest of you but I was always curious about Ariella and wondered if she was always going to be the elephant in the room, so to speak, for Ash and Meghan. All of those questions and more will be answered! This is also an incredible book for character development. The first three books are all about Meghan (as they should be) but this one really focuses on Ash, and to a lesser extent Puck. We really get to know them and their history and you're really able to connect with them on a more personal level. Whether your Team Puck or Team Ash doesn't matter so much in this book. You'll be cheering them on and easily fall in love with both of these amazing boys. Overall this is a beautifully written book and the perfect end to the series. As always Kagawa weaves together an incredible fantasy land, where magic and mystery exist side by side. The characters are lovable, creative and full of life. It's a bittersweet moment when a series you love comes to end so perfectly. You want it to keep going but you know it's right just the way it is. This and other reviews at Christa's Hooked on Books -
Date published: 2011-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Ending to a Fun Series Once again, I loved reading Julie Kagawa's writing, the vivid world she creates, the juicy descriptions, the tension, twists, friendships, romance and adventures. This installment is different, though, as it is told in the first person from Ash's point of view. I have to say, I found the shift interesting and enjoyed it, even if it took me a little while to get used to. Ash is so distant and reserved in much of the other books that it was nice to get to know him more intimately. Part of getting to know Ash better was getting into the rivalry and friendship between him and Puck. I love Puck - he is such a great character - and enjoyed seeing so much of him in the book and watching him and Ash play off of each other. Also, Grim was back (yeah!), along with some new characters. The Big Bad Wolf was one of the new additions and I loved him, he was a fantastic foil for Grim. But I also loved how he represented the old fairy tales and how creatures exist if stories are told about them. That is such a fun concept. The journey that Ash had to take to find the End of the World created a deeper, more interesting level to the book. There was so much adventure and watching this unlikely group work together and get along was so much fun. And then there was the whole exploration about what it means to be human versus being fey... This was a fantastic, can't put down read that will not disappoint all the Iron Fey fans out there.
Date published: 2011-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wondrous ending!! I'm sad, I am so sad. The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa was the perfect ending I was hoping to get in the Iron Fey series but, Oh Lord! Even with this gratifying ending I cannot help but feel nostalgic. My dear Meghan, Ash, Puck and Grimalkin, will now remain, forever, in those four wondrous books that I so fervently love. Now, they are in my shelf. Waiting for me to one day read them again, I certainly will. Ash really deserved a book for himself, and he got it! It was reinvigorating to see and experience the Nevernever through his eyes and, now, it is really hard to decide whether this final book is my favorite of the series. I will probably say yes, even if I should not compare them since we have switched from Meghan's perspective to Ash's. Still, everything that happened in The Iron Knight was more than another adventure. It was a quest for one of the greatest things a person can have, and I feel absolutely satisfied in how Julie Kagawa, flawlessly, achieve such an outstanding ending! Ash, Puck and Grimalkin start their journey to The End of the World, in which they meet with other lovely characters that that will help Ash to be successful in his quest. Again, Kagawa surprise me with many dangerous situation and beautiful and particular settings. Ash's destiny is pretty far after all, and we get to see many new places of the Nevernever. I love how Julie Kagawa kept always making, with every book, the Nevernever bigger, richer and more complex. Always more alive! The Iron Knight let us understand Ash so much better because we deal with his conscience and struggles. Oh Ash! Now I love you even more! I am also so delighted with this book. I love every single aspect of it and I specially love how some values and feelings that are so foreign to the Fae, in The Iron Knight, become of great importance for Ash and his friends. I loved how Julie Kagawa did it! Julie Kagawa put Ash through one (probably the most) intense experience of the Iron Fey series. She tortured our Ash and I cried for him during many pages. However, I do think it was necessary because not even Ash, the Knight in shinning armor of our dreams, is perfect. Yet, there are always second chances and redemption. Life goes on, and that's our chance to make things better. Julie Kagawa has written one of my favorite Faerie series and, I am sure, it will remain that way. How I wish I could go, with Ash, Meghan, Puck and Grimalkin into the Nevernever once again. But I guess, it is time now to let them rest; To let them be happy. After everything they have been through,I think they certainly deserve it ...I will miss them so much, but missing is remembering. And if there is one thing I am sure about is... that I will never forget them!
Date published: 2011-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Iron Fey Series Is An Absolute Must! The Iron Fey series wasn't one that I was sure I was going to enjoy. After receiving The Iron King for Christmas last year and diving into it, I found myself having several issues enjoying it. However, what surprised me far more than I expected was how quickly I became caught up on the Iron Fey world that Julie Kagawa created. After The Iron King I couldn't help diving into The Iron Daughter, then subsequently digging through The Iron Queen with an undying fervor for more drama, romance, and action. I was incredibly sad when I heard the The Iron Queen was the final novel, but imagine my surprise when I discovered that Julie was in the works for a fourth novel, The Iron Knight. I was ecstatic, overjoyed, rambunctious and terribly impatient. I needed to read the ending and I needed it now! The extra bonus, the sugary topping that sweetened the deal - Ash's long awaited POV. The Iron Fey Series Is An Absolute Must! Who couldn't fall in love with the wonderfully heroic and drop-dead gorgeous Winter Prince? I know I couldn't resist his charms. I was ecstatic that The Iron Knight would be told in Ash's POV, dying to read of his journey to be with Meghan. One thing I didn't expect, though, was to be introduced to an Ash I never knew before. He was far different than he was depicted in the previous novels, very emotional, and real. Ash was, undoubtedly, a very different person than he was before, dropping the cloak of mystery and un-attainability when stepping into his own story. The Winter Prince was no longer indestructible or cold - he was far more human and less Fae. A Conclusion of Epic Proportions! The twists and turns in The Iron Knight were beyond shocking and exciting, definitely ones I hadn't expected. With the return of our lovable Puck, Grimalkin, and an old character thought long gone, I was extremely happy and intrigued to see how they would help the story move forward and aid in Ash's pursuit for a happy ending with the girl he loves. Ash's journey in this installment was filled with great obstacles and struggles, I couldn't help but cross my fingers and hope for the absolute best. My heart was torn to bits from the relentless emotion Julie Kagwa tossed my way, and if I were to compare The Iron Knight with the others in regards to romance, I'd say that this one was significantly more romantic than the others. Would I have thought the cold winter prince would become the loving and heartwarming fey that he was now when I first started The Iron Knight - heck no, but that's the beauty of character growth. The Iron Knight is the official conclusion to Ash and Meghan's adventure in the world of Iron Fey, one filled with incredibly surprising twists, turns, action and drama. Iron Fey fans will find that Ash's POV will work it's way into their hearts as their favorite novel in the series. Haven't read the Iron Fey series yet? Uh....why not?! Did you know: Julie Kagawa is working on a spin-off series to the Iron Fey featuring an older Ethan, Meghan's younger brother, as the protagonist.
Date published: 2011-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply put... PURE PERFECTION! Story telling does not get any better than this... I am utterly struggling for the right words to adequately review the brilliance of The Iron Knight, and the series as a whole, and do it ANY justice, so please bear with me. How could Julie Kagawa meet the excellent story telling of The Iron Queen and her previous books in her series? While, from past experience, I had no doubt she could... I was still amazed that SHE DID... so expertly and so eloquently as only a master story teller can do. Going into this final installment in The Iron Fey, we knew that this was going to be Ash's story and it would be about his journey in finding his way back to Meghan. Meghan is now the Queen of the Iron realm -- a place where Ash, as a faery, cannot follow despite his vow to protect her as her knight. Ash's solution to be with her again is to become human... he admits to not fully understandng what it will require of him, but he's determined to do whatever it takes to keep his promise to her. As much as this was a story about Ash's pursuit of becoming human and ultimately returning to Meghan's side, it also became a very personal journey for him as well. Not only does he have to meet some very hard challenges head-on that involve strength, determination and skill, he also had to make some excrutiating choices, too. Is his love for Meghan strong enough to get him through this - that is also put to the test. The tests are next to impossible... no other has lived to tell about it. Ash's evolution from The Iron King to this last installment in The Iron Fey series is, in my opinion, one of the best character arcs I've ever read... and probably more so than Meghan's, which I thought was very impressive. We thought we finally broke through Ash's icey-facade in The Iron Queen, but what we find in The Iron Knight, is that there is many more layers that needed peeling away to get to the heart of this amazing character. And some of what we find at his core is not pretty, and difficult to reconcile with the Ash we all have loved in these books. Julie took a huge risk in humbling the icey-prince but it was so well done and purposeful. Ash's arduous and yet fantastical journey takes us to the edges of the Nevernever... to The River of Dreams and The Deep Wylde, and culminates at The End of the World and The Testing Grounds, all the while accompanied by Puck and Grimalkin and two VERY unlikely characters from Ash's past. During Ash's quest, Julie cleverly inserted some wonderfully romantic moments as well (remember... this is Ash's quest to returning to Meghan's side). And Julie knows how to write about love without it being corny or mushy... just natural, heart-melting and sigh-worthy. Puck also plays a pivotal role in Ash's journey - he does not just provide the comic relief and live to be the thorn in Ash's side. I have to say that he really shines in The Iron Knight. While I've always loved his lightheartedness and funny antics... we get to see a lot more of the REAL Puck, and I loved him for it. Some of the best scenes were between him and Ash. I really came to ADORE and appreciate Puck in this final book. Of course, Grimalkin is... well... Grimalkin. As always, he pops in when it's convenient for him and mysteriously vanishes when trouble is near. He never changes, there is no personal growth, but he plays one of the most enjoyable parts in this series. There were two surprising characters who join Ash in his quest and they were wonderful additions to the story and so very integral. I can't provide more description than that without providing some big spoilers, so you'll have to take my word for it till you can read for yourself. The Iron Knight reached beyond my expectations and Ash gave a whole new meaning to that old declaration of love, "I'll go to the ends of the earth for you." I couldn't ask for a more befitting ending either, where we briefly switch back to Meghan's perspective. And that very last page just hit it out of the park for me. Julie nailed it with that very last scene. It was understated just a bit... but so very perfect. So now my all-time favourite story has come to an end and I'm left with a mish-mash of incredibly content and sad emotions. Throughout The Iron Fey series, Julie took us to some very magical, fantastical, almost impossible to imagine places... all through some pretty wonderful story telling. Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for the privilege of reading this early. Now I won't have to wish the summer away afterall. Meghan, Ash, Puck, Grimalkin and a wonderful cast of supporting characters will forever live in my heart and never cease to exist. Most of all... thank you Julie for sharing your brilliant imagination with us.
Date published: 2011-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT!!!! I happen to be on a site that allowed me the honor of viewing and advanced e-copy of this book and I absolutely could not put it down. The final book in Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, Iron Knight follows the path of Ash, banished prince of the Unseelie Court as he embarks on a desperate quest to find a way to be with his lady love--Meghan Chase, Queen of the Iron Fey. Accompanied by the ever-sarcastic Robin Goodfellow and the even more sardonic talking cat Grimalkin, as well as two more very unexpected companions, we learn exactly how far one must go for love, and exactly what it means to be human.
Date published: 2011-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great ending to a great series! The Iron Knight is a fantastic ending to one of my favourite series. I loved the character Ash and this time we get the story from his point of view. At the end of The Iron Queen, Meghan and Ash we forced into separation as The Iron realm was toxic to the Winter Faery. Ash promised Meghan he would find a way to be together and The Iron Knight tells the story of Ash's quest to find a soul and hopefully happiness with Meghan. Julie Kagawa likes to push her characters and she makes sure Ash grows and learns from his long life in this story. By the end, we have a new understanding of Ash. The Iron Knight is a satisfying (if somewhat bittersweet) conclusion to a great series. (full review at
Date published: 2011-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cannot Wait :) I recently discovered the Iron Fey books only a couple months ago in April and I was immediately hooked. So far the first three books and the first novella of this series have been from the main character, Meghan's POV, but Julie Kagawa, the author, took a turn with the second novella, SUMMER'S CROSSING, by changing the POV to Puck, and with the final novel in the series, THE IRON KNIGHT, where it's from Ash's POV. I'm really looking forward to seeing what's inside Ash's mind because, as everyone must agree, he is a total mystery to us when it's from Meghan's POV. Can't wait for October and the IRON KNIGHT.
Date published: 2011-08-07

Read from the Book

"Oy, ice-boy! You sure you know where you're going?"I ignored Robin Goodfellow as we wove through the gray murk of the wyldwood, pushing farther into the soggy swamp known as the Bone Marsh. Mud sucked at my footsteps, and water dripped from twisted green trees so covered in moss they appeared sheathed in slime. Mist coiled around the exposed roots or pooled in sunken areas, hiding what lay beneath, and every so often there was a splash in the still waters farther out, reminding us that we were not alone. As its name suggested, bones were scattered throughout the marsh, jutting out of the mud, half-hidden in tangles of weeds or shimmering beneath the surface of the water, bleached and white. This was a dangerous part of the wyldwood, more so than most—not because of the catoblepas and the jabberwocks and other monsters that called the dark swamp their home, but because of the resident who lived somewhere deep within the marsh.The one we were going to see.Something flew past my head from behind, barely missing me, and spattered against a trunk a few feet away. Stopping beneath the tree, I turned and glared at my companion, silently daring him to do that again."Oh, hey, it lives!" Robin Goodfellow threw up his muddy hands in mock celebration. "I was afraid it had become a zombie or something." He crossed his arms and smirked at me, mud streaking his red hair and speckling his pointed face. "Did you hear me, ice-boy? I've been yelling at you for some time now.""Yes," I said, repressing a sigh. "I heard you. I think the jabberwocks on the other side of the swamp heard you.""Oh, good! Maybe if we fight a couple you'll start paying attention to me!" Puck matched my glare before gesturing around at the swamp. "This is crazy," he exclaimed. "How do we even know he's here? The Bone Marsh isn't exactly on my list of favorite vacation getaways, prince. You sure your contact knew what he was talking about? If this turns out to be another false lead I might turn that phouka into a pair of gloves.""I thought you wanted an adventure," I said, just to annoy him. Puck snorted."Oh sure, don't get me wrong. I'm all for tromping to all five corners of the Nevernever, getting chased by angry Summer Queens, sneaking into an ogre's basement, fighting giant spiders, playing hide-and-seek with a cranky dragon—good times." He shook his head, and his eyes gleamed, reliving fond memories. "But this is like the sixth place we've come to look for that wretched cat, and if he isn't here I'm almost afraid of where we're going next.""You don't have to be here," I told him. "Leave if you want. I'm not stopping you.""Nice try, prince." Puck crossed his arms and smiled. "But you're not getting rid of me that easily.""Then let's keep moving." It was getting dark, and his constant chattering was getting on my nerves. Joking aside, I did not want to attract the attention of a hungry jabberwock and have to fight it in the middle of the swamp."Oh, fine," Puck sighed, tromping along behind me. "But if he's not here, I refuse to go to the Spider Queen's palace with you, ice-boy. That's where I draw the line."My name, my full, True Name, is Ashallayn'darkmyr Tallyn, and I am the last son of the Unseelie Court.There were three of us at one time, all princes of Winter, myself and my brothers, Sage and Rowan. I never knew my sire, never cared to know him, nor did my siblings ever speak of him. I wasn't even positive we shared the same sire, but it didn't matter. In the Unseelie Court, Mab was the sole ruler, the one and only queen. Handsome fey and even wayward mortals she might take to her bed, but Mab shared her throne with no one.We were never close, my brothers and I. As princes of Winter, we grew up in a world of violence and dark politics. Our queen encouraged this, favoring the son who earned her good graces while punishing the others. We used each other, played vicious games against one another, but we were all loyal to our court and our queen. Or so I'd thought.There is a reason the Winter Court freezes out their emotions, why feelings are considered a weakness and a folly among the Unseelie fey. Emotion corrupts the senses, makes them weak, makes them disloyal to kith and court. Jealousy was a dark, dangerous passion that ate at my brother Rowan until he did the unthinkable and turned on his court, betraying us to our enemies. Sage, my eldest sibling, fell to Rowan's treachery, and he was only the first. In a bid for power, Rowan sided with our greatest enemies, the Iron fey, helping their king nearly destroy the Nevernever. I killed Rowan in the end, avenging Sage and the rest of my kin, but retribution cannot bring either of them back. It's only me now. I am the last, the only remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court.And I'm already dead to her.Rowan was not the only one to succumb to emotion and passion. My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl. A girl named Meghan Chase, the half-human daughter of our ancient rival, the Summer King. Fate brought us together, and despite everything I did to shield my emotions, despite the laws of our people and the war with the Iron fey and the threat of eternal banishment from my home, I still found myself falling for her. Our paths were woven together, our fates intertwined, and before the last battle I swore I would follow her to the end of the world, to protect her from all threats, including my own kin, and to die for her if called to do so. I became her knight, and would have gladly served this girl, this mortal who had captured my heart, until the last breath left my body.But Fate is a cruel mistress, and in the end, our paths were forced apart, as I'd feared they would be. Meghan became the Iron Queen, as was her destiny, and took the throne in the kingdom of the Iron fey. A place I could not follow, not as I am—a faery creature whose essence weakens and burns at the touch of iron. Meghan herself exiled me from the lands of the Iron fey, knowing that staying would kill me, knowing I would try anyway. But before I left, I swore an oath that I would find a way to return, that someday we would be together, and nothing would separate us again. Mab tried to convince me to return to the Winter Court—I was her only prince now, and it was my duty to come home—but I bluntly stated that I was no longer part of the Unseelie Court, that my service to her and Winter was at an end.There is nothing more terrible than a spurned faery queen, particularly if you defy her a second time. I escaped the Winter Court with my life intact, but just barely, and I won't be returning anytime soon. Regardless, I feel little regret at turning my back on my queen, my kith and my home. That part of my life is done. My loyalty—and my heart—belongs to another queen now.I promised I'd find a way for us to be together. I intend to keep that promise. Even if it means trekking through a sprawling, deadly marsh in search of a rumor. Even if it means putting up with my fiercest and most annoying rival, Robin Goodfellow, who—despite all his attempts to hide it—is in love with my queen as well. I don't know why I haven't killed him yet. Maybe because Puck is Meghan's closest friend, and she would mourn him terribly if he were gone (though I can't understand why). Or, maybe, deep down, I'm tired of being alone.In any case, it matters little. With every ruin we search, every dragon we slay, or every rumor we unearth, I'm one step closer to my goal. Even if it takes a hundred years, I will be with her in the end. Another piece of the puzzle lurks somewhere in this dreary swampland. The only difficulty lies in finding it.Thankfully, despite Puck's constant griping and complaining, the jabberwocks decided not to see what the racket was about and come stalking through the marsh to find us. That was just as well, because it took nearly the whole night to find what we were looking for.At the edge of a scummy pond stood a house, faded and gray like everything else. A picket fence made of bleached white bones surrounded it, naked skulls topping the posts, and a few scraggly chickens milled about in what passed as a yard. The hut was old and wooden, creaking faintly though there was no wind. The most unusual thing, however, wasn't the house itself, but what held it up. It stood on a pair of massive bird legs, gnarled and yellow, blunt talons digging into the mud. The legs were crouched low, as if sleeping, but every so often they shifted restlessly, causing the whole house to shudder and groan."We're heeeeere," Puck sang softly. "And can I say that the old gal hasn't gotten any less creepy than when I saw her last."I narrowed my eyes at him. "Just shut up and let me do the talking this time. It was bad enough when you insulted the centaur chief.""All I suggested was that we could've used a ride out of the meadow. I didn't mean from him"Sighing, I opened the bone gate and crossed the weed-choked yard, scattering chickens in front of me. Before we reached the steps, however, the door creaked open and an old woman emerged from the darkened interior. Tangled white hair framed a lined, wrinkled face, and sharp black eyes peered out at us, bright and gleaming. In one gnarled hand she held a basket, in the other a butcher knife, stained with the blood of many victims.I stopped at the foot of the stairs, wary and alert. Old as she appeared, the witch of this house was powerful and unpredictable. If Puck said something stupid or accidentally insulted her, it would be vastly annoying if we had to fight our way out."Well," the witch said, curling bloodless lips to smile at us. Crooked yellow teeth flashed in the light like jagged bits of bone. "What do we have here? Two handsome faery boys, come to visit a poor old woman. And if my eyes don't deceive me, that's Robin Goodfellow I see before me. The last I saw of you, you stole my broom and tied my house's legs so it fell over when we tried to catch you!"I repressed another sigh. This wasn't starting well. I should've known Puck had already done something to earn her wrath. But at the same time, I had to fight the urge to smile, to laugh at such a ridiculous thought, the house falling on its face in the mud because the Great Prankster had tied its feet together.I kept my expression neutral, as it was obvious the witch was not amused in the slightest. "What do you have to say for yourself, villain?" she continued, shaking her butcher knife at Puck, who ducked behind me in a pathetic attempt to hide, though I could hear him trying to muffle his laughter. "Do you know how long it took me to repair my home? And then you have the gall, the absolute gall, to leave my broom at the edge of the forest, just to prove you could take it. I've half a mind to stick you in the pot and feed you to my chickens!""I apologize for him," I said quickly, and those sharp black eyes suddenly turned on me. I held myself tall, unafraid but still polite, lest she lump me together with the buffoon at my back. "Excuse this intrusion, old mother," I continued formally. "I am Ash of the Unseelie Court. And I need your help, if you would hear me."The witch blinked. "Such manners. You were not raised in a barn like that one, I see." She stabbed her knife in Puck's direction, wrinkling her long nose. "And I know who you are, son of Mab. What would you have of me? Be quick about it.""We're looking for someone," I said. "He was rumored to be traveling through here, through the Bone Marsh. We thought you might know where he is.""Oh?" The witch cocked her head, giving me a scrutinizing look. "And what makes you think I know where this person is?""Not a person," I corrected. "A cat. A cait sith. In some tales he's known as Grimalkin. And in some tales he's been rumored to keep company with a powerful witch out in the swamps, whose house stands on chicken legs in a fence made of bones.""I see," said the witch, though her face and voice remained expressionless. "Well, I admire your tenacity, young prince. Grimalkin is not easy to find in the best of times. You must have come very far to seek him out." She peered closely at me, narrowing her eyes. "And this is not the first place you have searched. I can see it on your face. Why, I wonder? Why does he come so far? What is it that he desires so badly, to risk the ire of the Bone Witch? What is it you want, Ash of the Winter Court?""Would you believe the cat owes him money?" Puck's voice came from behind my shoulder, making me wince. The witch scowled at him.