Bestie Book Club
The action-packed fairy read your TBR list needs
Welcome back to our Bestie Book Club—
a community for book lovers from Girls' Life magazine.
If you're new here, hello and welcome, book lovers! Here's how this works: Each month we read, discuss and obsess over a new book. So if you haven't already signed up, be sure to follow us on Instagram, where you'll be able to find Bestie Book Club updates, special contests, giveaways, event invitations and more.
Here's a quick list of everything you'll find inside this post (and beyond). Just remember, *major spoilers* are ahead, so look for the spoiler ratings before you read!
There's something about winter that just makes us want to curl up next to the fire and get lost in a world full of quests, love triangles (who doesn't love love?) and fairy magic.
Plus, we're pretty sure we *all* qualify for a break-from-the-real-world hall pass at this point. Good news: The Iron Knight is that hall pass.
After The Iron Queen kept us at the edge of our seats until its super satisfying end, Meghan's story might seem like it's finished…but now it's Ash's turn.
That's right, we're finally in the head of our favorite (and totally swoon-worthy) ice prince and he's joined by fairy and furry companions alike (give a big welcome back to fan faves Puck and Grimalkin) for one last adventure in Nevernever.
So if you're looking for a fantastical land to escape to, The Iron Knight is a pretty good place to start. And after the drama and magic of The Iron King, The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen? How can we say no?
Peep our sneak peek below (warning: *major* spoilers ahead) and reunite with our fave bookish besties Ally, Chloe, Elina, Lexia and Monica (all in our Bestie Book Club) who share why they’re totally loving this magic winter read.
Psst: Want to skip the spoilers and just read our (low spoiler) Bestie Book Club reviews? Click HERE.
Spoiler level: High
Meghan has done it. She's finally defeated the false Iron King and taken her place as the Queen of the Iron Realm. And now it's time for Ash to take over the story.
Cut to Ash and Puck, who have looked almost everywhere for the cat Grimalkin. They're in the bone marsh, looking for Babba Yaga, the powerful witch Grim tends to keep company.
But things are off to a shaky start when it turns out Puck is already on Babba Yaga's bad side. But Ash is on a quest to become mortal—and only Grim can help. Why? Ash cannot be Fey *and* live with Meghan in the Iron Kingdom. To be with her, he must sacrifice being a faery.
Grim appears and, ofc, has heard the entire conversation. For a favor, he says he'll help Ash and Puck. Grim knows of a Seer who can help Ash find a way to gain a soul and become mortal.
As the group travels on, Ash is reminded of the old friendship he and Puck once shared—and its tragic end: the death of Ariella. But he's quickly pulled out of his thoughts when the group's feeling of being watched is more than just a gut feeling.
The Big Bad Wolf from Winter's Passage has been following them. He's been sent by Queen Mab, the winter queen—and he wants to help them on their quest.
At a strange, misty hollow, Grim leaves the group. Ash, Puck and Wolf are left to find the Seer in the mist. Ash hears his name being called, and chases after the ghostly figure he sees appear, leaving Puck behind.
Ash finds a Wyvern skeleton—and realizes he's in the place where his first love, Ariella, died. Even worse? Puck is rumored to have had a hand in her death. Puck finds Ash, then realizes where they are standing. Ash turns on Puck, blaming him for Ariella's death, and telling Puck he's going to kill him. They fight, and even though Puck tries to hold him off, it's no use and he eventually gives up.
In the midst of the fight, the Seer appears—it's Ariella, alive and well, as if nothing has happened. Back at camp, Ariella explains everything about her "death" and tells Ash he can gain a soul after completing the trials at the End of the World. The group takes off toward the River of Dreams, which Ariella says will take them straight to where they need to go.
After a treacherous trip down the river, filled with Hobyahs and nightmares, the group finally comes to Phaed, where Fey go to die. A local informs them the ferry appears at the dock the day after those who seek it arrive.
Finally, the long road has led the group to The End of the World, where the Guardian tells Ash he must pass through the Gauntlet—or they will be trapped forever.
The group must face Sphinxes, fire, Fu Dogs and other challenges as they run through the Gauntlet. Just as the door to the End of the World is closing, Wolf throws himself under the door to keep it open for the rest of the group and they pass through.
Ash has to complete three trials, the first of which is at dawn. In their rooms, Ash tells Puck to take care of Meghan if he doesn't make it. Puck agrees.
The first test is to show Ash what it's like to have a mortal body by losing in a fight with a beast. The next teaches what feeling remorse is by showing Ash his many mistakes. And the final test is to show Ash how great his life could be should he choose not to become mortal. The Guardian leaves Ash to decide whether or not he truly wants a soul. After encouragement from Ariella, Ash says yes. He wants a soul.
But there is one more test—and it's unimaginable. The Guardian tells Ash that the only way he can earn a soul is for someone to willingly die for him. Ash is shocked and he tries to refuse, but that's when Ariella says she is willing to do so. She won't listen as Ash begs her not to do it, and she dies to give Ash his soul, thereby disappearing forever.
The Guardian gives Ash the globe that, when smashed, will bring him to the mortal world. Before the group leaves, they find Wolf and help him escape the door he had been holding open. Here, Ash discovers he can still use his magical glamour. Wolf returns to Deepwyld, and Ash, Puck and Grim head to the mortal world.
They arrive in a mortal city, and Grim says he knows a trod—a place for them to return to the Nevernever—nearby. On the way, they are held up by mortal thugs, but Ash and Puck fight them off together. Finally reaching the trod, the group is able to return to the Wyldwood, where Grim takes his leave. Puck and Ash return to the Iron Kingdom, and then Puck departs, leaving the now-mortal Ash on his own.
We return to Meghan, ruling over the Iron Kingdom, when Glitch—an Iron faery—leads a cloaked figure to her throne room. It's Ash, who tells her he is mortal now, and that they can *finally* be together.
And back in the misty hollow, Grim returns to where the Wyvern skeleton lies. He says hello to a cherry blossom tree, in bloom. It is Ariella.
Spoiler level: Medium
Did our Bestie Book Club love The Iron Knight? Read on!
We *had* to chat about The Iron Knight with fellow readers who are just as obsessed as we are. Get to know #bookstagrammers Ally, Chloe, Elina, Lexia and Monica—and their fave parts of Ash's journey to become mortal. How did they feel about *finally* getting a glimpse into Ash's head? Which parts of his journey to The End of the World could they not get enough of? We’ve got the deets.
What lessons did you learn from The Iron Fey series? Love wins! The bond shared between the characters—how friendship ties us together and the actions we take for others—teach us that love always wins in the end.
What did you like about reading from Ash’s point of view? It was so fun because he was less expressive than Meghan in the last three books. We finally get to see how he thinks versus what he says.
Bookstagram pro tip? Take your pictures near a window for the best lighting. And if you have a pet, take a photo with them, too! Books and cute animals are always a win.
Would you want to live in the Summer Kingdom or the Winter Kingdom? I would probably pick the Winter Kingdom, because I love the cold weather aesthetic. Though in reality, the world of the Fey seems a little too chaotic for me.
What lessons did you learn from The Iron Fey series? Whenever I read a book about Fey, I'm *always* surprised by their words and worlds. In The Iron Knight, words really do have power—and that the past might not always be what it seems.
What did you like about reading from Ash's point of view? I loved reading from Ash's point of view! It felt so different from Meghan's. I think it is because he is older—and you can see how he feels about past situations that he has been in, even the ones he regrets.
Which character did you most relate to? Ash. He would go to the ends of the world for the person he loves—and I would do the same for the people I love.
Who would you recommend The Iron Knight to? I would say anyone who loves their books full of magic and intrigue (and romance ofc!).
What lessons did you learn from The Iron Fey series? True love takes time, commitment and sacrifice. Ash and Meghan's relationship requires all of these things but, in the end, it totally pays off.
Which character did you most relate to? Ash! Like him, once I put my mind to something, I won't stop until it's done.
Would you want to live in the Summer Kingdom or the Winter Kingdom? I would love, love, love to live in the Winter Kingdom—especially because I could have winter glamour.
How would you describe The Iron Knight in five words? I would say The Iron Knight is adventurous, exciting, fascinating, profound and thrilling.
What was your *fave* part of The Iron Knight? I loved reading the banter between Ash and Puck. I love "enemies to friends" stories so much! Their squabbling was hilarious—and Grim only made it better.
Which character did you most relate to? Puck! I love adding a lot of humor into everyday life, just like him. He’s always encouraging Ash to lighten up. I feel like that’s something I do, too.
Bookstagram pro tip? Don’t be afraid to change or try new things. It’s always fun to mix up your editing, photo style or post types. Be yourself, no matter what!
So you've read the book and you're ready to talk all things The Iron Knight? Wondering *exactly* how the Bestie Book Club works and what it means to be a member? There are so many ways you can get involved—whether it's solo, on social media or with your whole squad. Here's a quick list...
+ SOLO. Take your personal reading game to the next level using the themes of love, friendship and family as a guide for your own journaling and personal reflection. If you love to read, it could be fun to start a special book diary where you keep track of all your favorite novels—and the personal musings they inspired.
+ ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Share your thoughts on The Iron Knight using the hashtag #glbestiebookclub on Twitter and Instagram. (Just remember: You have to have a public account for us to be able to see and respond to your posts!)
+ WITH YOUR SQUAD. Host an IRL (or Zoom) book club party. And be sure to tag us in your snaps so we can share them.