A Rogue Librarian's Reading List











{July 12, 2010}   Ironside by Holly Black

Plot: When Roiben is crowned king of the Unseilie court, the changeling Kaye declares her love for him. She is heartbroken when in response he sends her on an impossible quest to find a faerie who can lie. Her mother’s reaction to the revelation that Kaye is not human is even worse. Rejected by two of the most important figures in her life, Kaye doesn’t know where she belongs anymore. So she goes on a quest to find the girl she had been switched with and to heal her best friend Corny of his curse. Meanwhile war is brewing between the Seilie and Unseilie courts and Kaye may be the only one who can protect Roiben’s new crown.

One of my favorite things about this story is the friendship between Corny and Kaye; they are so comfortable together, so loving without asking anything in return. Men and women so rarely have close friendships in fiction (unless it is a prelude to romance) and as someone who has many male friends, I’ve always felt that was lacking. The other thing that I love is the fact that, like in a proper fairy tale, Kaye wins the day not through strength of arms but through her cunning. She is above else a very clever girl and this is what saves her and all who are close to her.

For those of you who read Valiant (I read it after Ironside by mistake, look for the review of that one on my site too), Luis is back and he plays an important role in the story. The interesting romance in this one is not the one between Roiben and Kaye (though I was very satisfied with its resolution), it is between Luis and Corny. It was somewhat awkward at first but very sweet.

Despite all the pain and drama, the book is actually quite funny. Many of the characters are quite quirky, even stoic Roiben; several scenes had me chuckling quietly on the bus such as when Roiben received a rug made of rat tails from a very proud hobgoblin. And fans of Ellen Kushner, such as myself, will smile at the reference to her novel Swordspoint (which you should all go read next).

A great read. Find out more about Holly Black at her website here.

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