Ironside (Modern Tale of Faerie Series #3)

Ironside (Modern Tale of Faerie Series #3)

by Holly Black

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Overview

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?

Holly Black spins a seductive tale at once achingly real and chillingly enchanted, set in a dangerous world where pleasure mingles with pain and nothing is exactly as it appears.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689868214
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: 07/08/2008
Series: Modern Faerie Tales Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 195,941
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), the Modern Faerie Tales series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Darkest Part of the Forest, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), and the Folk of the Air series. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of both an Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. She lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. Visit her at BlackHolly.com.

Read an Excerpt

Ironside

A Modern Faery's Tale
By Holly Black

Margaret K. McElderry

Copyright © 2007 Holly Black
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780689868207

Chapter One

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape -- the loneliness of it -- the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it -- the whole story doesn't show.

-- ANDREW WYETH

Human girls cry when they're sad and laugh when they're happy. They have a single fixed shape rather than shifting with their whims like windblown smoke. They have their very own parents, whom they love. They don't go around stealing other girls' mothers. At least that's what Kaye thought human girls were like. She wouldn't really know. After all, she wasn't human.

Fingering the hole on the left side of her fishnets, Kaye poked at the green skin underneath as she considered herself in the mirror.

"Your rat wants to come," Lutie-loo said. Kaye turned toward the lidded fish tank, where the doll-size faery had her thin, pale fingers pressed against the outside of the glass. Inside, Kaye's brown rat, Armageddon, sniffed the air. Isaac was curled in a white ball in the far corner. "He likes coronations."

"Can you really understand what he's saying?" Kaye asked, pulling an olive skirt over her head and wriggling it onto her hips.

"He's just a rat," Lutie said, turning toward Kaye. One of her moth wings dusted the side ofthe cage with pale powder. "Anyone can talk rat."

"Well, I can't. Do I look monochromatic in this?"

Lutie nodded. "I like it."

Kaye heard her grandmother's voice calling from downstairs. "Where are you? I made you a sandwich!"

"Be there in a second!" Kaye shouted back.

Lutie kissed the glass wall of the cage. "Well, can the rat come or not?"

"I guess. Sure. I mean, if you can get him to not run away." Kaye laced up one thick-soled black boot and limped around the room looking for its mate. Only two months ago her bedroom had featured a child's bed and a bookshelf of ancient, unblinking dolls. Now the old bed was in pieces in the attic, the dolls were dressed in punk-rock finery, and above the mattress on the floor Kaye had painted a mural where a headboard might have been. It was half finished -- a tree with deep, intricate roots and gilded bark. Although she'd thought it would, the decorating still hadn't made the room feel like hers.

When he'd seen the mural, Roiben had remarked that she could glamour the room into looking any way she wanted, but a magical veneer -- no matter how lovely -- still didn't seem real to her. Or maybe it seemed too real, too much a reminder of why she didn't belong in the room at all.

Shoving her foot into the other boot, she tugged on her jacket. Leaving her hair green, she let magic slide over her skin, coloring and plumping it. There was a slight prickling as the glamour restored her familiar human face.

She looked at herself a moment longer before pocketing Armageddon, scratching behind the ears of Isaac, and walking toward the door. Lutie followed, flying on moth wings, keeping out of sight as Kaye jogged down the stairs.

"Was that your mother on the phone before?" Kaye's grandmother asked. "I heard it ring." She stood at the kitchen counter, pouring hot grease into a tin can. Two peanut butter and bacon sandwiches sat on chipped plates; Kaye could see the brown meat curling past the edges of the white bread.

Kaye bit into her sandwich, glad that the peanut butter glued her mouth shut.

"I left her a message about the holidays, but can she bother to call me back? Oh no, she's much too busy to talk to me. You'll have to ask her tomorrow night, although why she can't come down here to see you instead of insisting you go visit her at that squalid apartment in the city, I will never know. It must really gall her that you've decided to stay here instead of following her around like a little shadow."

Kaye chewed, nodding along with her grandmother's complaints. In the mirror beside the back door, she could see, beneath the glamour, a girl with leaf green skin, black eyes without a drop of white in them, and wings as thin as plastic wrap. A monster standing beside a nice old lady, eating food intended for another child. A child stolen away by faeries.

Brood parasites. That's what cuckoos were called when they dropped their eggs in other birds' nests. Parasitic bees, too, leaving their spawn in foreign hives; Kaye had read about them in one of the moldering encyclopedias on the landing. Brood parasites didn't bother raising their own babies. They left them to be raised by others -- birds that tried not to notice when their offspring grew huge and hungry, bees that ignored that their progeny did not collect pollen, mothers and grandmothers who didn't know the word "changeling."

"I have to go," Kaye said suddenly.

"Have you thought more about school?"

"Gram, I got my GED," Kaye said. "You saw it. I did it. I'm done."

Her grandmother sighed and looked toward the fridge, where the letter was still tacked with a magnet. "There's always community college. Imagine that -- starting college before the rest of your class even graduates."

"I'll go see if Corny is outside yet." Kaye started toward the door. "Thanks for the sandwich."

The old woman shook her head. "It's too cold out there. Stand on the porch. He should know better than to ask a young girl to wait outside in the snow. I swear, that boy has no manners at all."

Kaye felt the whoosh of air as Lutie flew past her back. Her grandmother didn't even look up. "Okay, Gram. Bye, Gram."

"Stay warm."

Kaye nodded and used the sleeve of her coat to turn the knob of the door so that she could avoid touching the iron. Even the smell of it burned her nose when she got close. Walking through the porch, she used the same trick on the screen door and stepped out into the snow. The trees on the lawn were encased in ice. Hail from that morning had stuck to whatever it had touched, freezing into solid sparkling skins that covered branches and flashed against the dull gray sky. The slightest breeze sent the limbs jangling against one another.

Corny wasn't coming, but her grandmother didn't need to know that. It wasn't lying. After all, faeries couldn't lie. They only bent the truth so far that it snapped on its own.

Above the doorway, a swag of thorn wrapped in green marked the house as watched over by the Unseelie Court. A gift from Roiben. Each time Kaye looked at the branches, she hoped that being protected by the Unseelie Court included being protected from the Unseelie Court.

She turned away, walking past a ranch house with aluminum siding hanging off in patches. The woman who lived there raised Italian ducks that ate all the grass seed anyone in the neighborhood planted. Kaye thought of the ducks and smiled. A trash can rolled in the street, bumping up against plastic bins of beer bottles set out for recycling. Kaye crossed over the parking lot of a boarded-up bowling alley, where a sofa rested near the curb, cushions hard with frost.

Plastic Santas glowed on lawns beside dried grapevine reindeer wrapped with fiber-optic lights. A twenty-four-hour convenience store piped screechy carols that carried through the quiet streets. A robotic elf with rosy cheeks waved endlessly next to several snowman windsocks fluttering like ghosts. Kaye passed a manger missing its baby Jesus. She wondered if kids had stolen him or if the family had just taken him in for the night.

Halfway to the cemetery, she stopped at a pay phone outside a pizza place, put in quarters, and punched in Corny's cell number. He picked it up after the first ring.

"Hey," Kaye said. "Did you decide about the coronation? I'm on my way to see Roiben before it starts."

"I don't think I can go," Corny said. "I'm glad you called, though -- I have to tell you something. I was driving past one of those storage places. You know the kind with the billboards that have quotes on them like 'Support Our Troops' or 'What Is Missing in C-H-blank-blank-C-H? U-R.'"

"Yeah," Kaye said, puzzled.

"Well, this one said 'Life Is Like Licking Honey from a Thorn.' What the fuck is that?"

"Weird."

"No shit, it's weird. What is it supposed to mean?"

"Nothing. Just don't dwell on it," Kaye said.

"Oh, right. Don't dwell. That's me. I'm so good at not dwelling. It's my skill set. If I was going to take one of those tests to see what job I was best suited for, I would rate a perfect ten for 'not dwelling on shit.' And what job do you think that would qualify me for exactly?"

"Storage unit manager," Kaye said. "You'd be the one to put up those sayings."

"Ouch. Right between the legs." She could hear the smile in his voice.

"So, you're really not coming tonight? You seemed so sure it was a good idea for you to face your fears and all that."

There was a long silence on the other end of the line. Just as she would have spoken, he said, "The problem with facing my fears is that they're my fears. Not to mention that a fear of megalomaniacal, amoral fiends is hard to rationalize away." He laughed, a brittle, strange cackle. "Just once I'd like them to finally give up their secrets -- tell me how to really protect myself. How to be safe."

Kaye thought of Nephamael, the last King of the Unseelie Court, choking on iron, and Corny stabbing him again and again.

"I don't think it's that simple," Kaye said. "I mean, it's almost impossible to protect yourself from people, forget faeries."

"Yeah, I guess. I'll see you tomorrow," Corny said.

"Okay." She heard him hang up the phone.

Kaye walked on, drawing her coat more tightly around her. She stepped into the cemetery and started up the snowy hill, muddy and grooved by the sleds that had gone over it. Her gaze strayed to where she knew Janet was buried, although from where Kaye stood, the polished granite stones looked the same with their plastic garlands and wet red bows. She didn't need to see the grave for her steps to slow, weighed down by the memory like sodden clothes must have weighed down Janet's drowning body.

She wondered what happened when the baby cuckoo realized it wasn't like its brothers and sisters. Maybe it wondered where it had come from or what it was. Maybe it just pretended nothing was wrong and kept on gulping down worms. Whatever that bird felt, though, it wasn't enough to keep it from pushing the other chicks out of the nest.

Cornelius Stone closed his cell phone against his chest and stood still for a moment, waiting for the regret to ebb. He wanted to go to the coronation, wanted to dance with the terrible and beautiful creatures of the Unseelie Court, wanted to gorge on faerie fruit and wake up on a hillside, scourged and sated. He bit his cheek until he tasted blood, but the yearning only rose with the pain.

He sat down in the library aisle on carpeting so new it had a clean, chemical smell that was probably evaporating formaldehyde. Opening the first of the books, he looked at woodcuts and turn-of-the-century line art. He saw pictures of ponies with flippers that looked nothing like the kelpie that had murdered his sister. He flipped to a ring of tiny cherubic faeries with red cheeks and pointy ears dancing in a circle. Pixies, he read. None of them resembled Kaye in the least.

He tore each page carefully out of the binding. They were bullshit.

The next book was no better.

As he started ripping apart the third, an elderly man looked down the aisle.

"You shouldn't be doing that," he said. He was holding a fat hardback western in one hand and squinted at Corny as though, even with his glasses, he couldn't see him very clearly.

"I work here," Corny lied.

The man looked at Corny's scuffed biker jacket and his shaggy almost-a-mullet hair. "Your job is to rip apart perfectly good books?"

Corny shrugged. "National security."

The guy walked away muttering. Corny shoved the rest of the books into his backpack and walked out the doors. Disinformation was worse than no information at all. Alarms clanged behind him, but he didn't worry. He'd been to other libraries. The alarms didn't do anything but make a pretty sound, like a church bell from the future.

He started in the direction of the coronation hill. No, he wasn't going to party with Kaye and her prince-of-darkness boyfriend, but that didn't mean he had to stay home. None of those books could help with what he had planned, but he'd expected that. If he wanted answers, he was just going to have to go right to the source.

The servants didn't like to let Kaye into the Palace of Termites. She could tell by the way they looked at her, as though she were only the scuff of her shoes, the dirt under her fingernails, the stench of coffee and cigarettes that clung to her clothes. They spoke grudgingly, eyes never meeting hers, and they led her through passageways as though their feet were made of lead.

Here was the place to which she ought to belong, but instead the grim and fabulous court, the cold halls, and the ferocious denizens made her uneasy. It was all very lovely, but she felt self-conscious and awkward against such a backdrop. And if she did not belong here and she didn't belong with Ellen, then she couldn't think of any place left to belong.

It had been nearly two months since Roiben had assumed the title of Unseelie King, but a formal coronation could only occur on the darkest day of winter. After tonight he would be the true Lord of the Night Court, and with the title would come the resumption of the endless war with the Seelie fey. Two evenings past he'd woken Kaye by climbing a tree, tapping against her bedroom window, and drawing her out to sit on the frozen lawn. "Stay Ironside for a time after I'm crowned," he'd told her. "Lest you be dragged into more danger." When she'd tried to ask him for how long or how bad he thought it was going to get, he'd kissed her quiet. He'd seemed restless, but wouldn't say why. Whatever the reason, his restlessness had been infectious.

She followed the shuffling feet of a hunchbacked steward to the doors of Roiben's chambers.

"He will be with you soon," the steward said, pushing open the heavy door and stepping inside. He lit several fat candles along the floor before retreating silently. A tufted tail dragged behind him.

Roiben's rooms were largely unfurnished, the walls an expanse of smooth stone broken up by stacks of books and a bed covered in a brocade throw. There were a few other things, farther inside -- a jade bowl of washing water, a wardrobe, a stand with his armor. The chamber was formal, austere, and forbidding.

Kaye dropped her coat onto the end of the bed and sat down beside it. She tried to imagine living here, with him, and failed. The idea of putting a poster on the wall was absurd.

Reaching over, she pulled a bracelet from one of the pockets of her coat, cupping it in her hand. A thin braid of her own green hair, wrapped in silver wire. She'd hoped to surprise him before the ceremony started, hoped that even if she couldn't see him for a while, he'd keep it with him, like storybook knights wore their ladies' tokens when they rode into battle. Lutie and Armageddon had even gone ahead to the hall so that she'd have a moment alone in which to present it.

Next to the grandeur of the room, though, her gift now seemed ugly and homemade. Not worthy of a King.

There was a sound like the clatter of hooves in the hall and Kaye stood, pushing the bracelet back into the pocket of her coat, but it was only another glowering servant, this one bringing a glass of spiced wine as thick and red as blood.

Kaye took the glass and sipped at it politely, then set it down on the floor as the servant left. She flipped through a few books in the flickering candlelight -- military strategy, Peasepod's Ballads, an Emma Bull paperback she'd loaned him -- and waited some more. Taking another sip of wine, she stretched out at the end of the bed, wrapping the brocade cloth around her.

She woke suddenly, a hand on her arm and Roiben's impassive face above her. Silvery hair tickled her cheek.

Embarrassed, she sat up, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. She had slept restlessly, and the coverlet was half on the floor, soaking up spilled wine and melted candle wax. She didn't even remember closing her eyes.

A scarlet-clad servant bearing a long cloak with black opal clasps stood in the center of the room. Roiben's chamberlain, Ruddles, was near the door, his mouth overfull of teeth in a way that made him seem as though he wore an unpleasant grin.

Roiben frowned. "No one told me you were here."

She wasn't sure if that meant that he wished someone had or that he would have preferred her not to be there at all. Kaye slung her coat over her arm and stood up, her cheeks hot with shame. "I should go."

He stayed seated on the wreckage of his bed. The scabbard on his hip touched the floor. "No." He gestured to the servant and Ruddles. "Leave us."

With shallow bows, they departed.

Kaye remained standing. "It's late. Your thing is going to start soon."

"Kaye, you have no idea what time it is." He stood and reached for her arm. "You've been asleep."

She stepped back, clasping her hands together, pressing her nails into her palm to keep calm.

He sighed. "Stay. Let me beg your forgiveness for whatever it is I've done."

"Stop it." She shook her head, talking faster than she was thinking. "They don't want you to be with me, do they?"

His mouth curved into a bitter smile. "I am forbidden nothing."

"No one wants me here. They don't want me near you. Why?"

He looked startled, ran a hand through silver hair. "Because I'm gentry and you're...not," he finished awkwardly.

"I'm low class," she said dully, turning her back to him. "Nothing new there."

Roiben's boots tapped against the stone as he walked behind her and pulled her against his chest. His head rested in the crook of her neck, and she felt his breath as he spoke, his lips moving against her skin. "I have my own thoughts on the subject. I care nothing for anyone else's."

For a moment, she relaxed into his touch. He was warm and his voice was very soft. It would be easy to crawl back under the coverlet and stay. Just stay.

But Kaye turned in his arms instead. "What's the big deal about you slumming?"

He snorted, one of his hands lingering on her hip. He was no longer looking at her; his stare focused on the cold stone floor, the same gray as his eyes. "It is a weakness. My affection for you."

She opened her mouth to ask another question, and closed it again, realizing he'd answered more than she'd asked. Perhaps that was the reason that the servants didn't like her, perhaps it was the reason that courtiers sneered at her, but it was also what he believed. She could see it in his face.

"I really should go," she said, pulling away. She was relieved to find that her voice didn't catch. "I'll see you out there. Break a leg."

He released her from the cradle of his arms. "You cannot stand on the dais during the ceremony nor walk in the procession. I do not want you to be taken for part of my court. Above all, you must not swear fealty. Promise me, Kaye."

"So, I'm supposed to act like I don't know you?" The door was only a few steps across the floor, but she was conscious of each one. "Like you don't have any weaknesses?"

"No, of course not," he said, too quickly. "You are the only thing I have that is neither duty nor obligation, the only thing I chose for myself." He paused. "The only thing I want."

She let a small teasing smile creep onto her face. "Really?"

He snorted, shaking his head. "You think I'm being absurd, don't you?"

"I think you're trying to be nice," said Kaye. "Which is pretty absurd."

He walked to her and kissed her smiling mouth. She forgot about his sullen servants and the coronation and the bracelet she hadn't given him. She forgot about anything but the press of his lips.

Copyright © 2007 by Holly Black



Continues...


Excerpted from Ironside by Holly Black Copyright © 2007 by Holly Black. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Guide for TITHE, VALIANT, and IRONSIDE
By Holly Black
ABOUT THE BOOKS
Holly Black's first Young Adult novel, the urban fantasy/faerie tale Tithe, focuses on a sixteen-year-old girl named Kaye who is actually a pixie, only at first she doesn't know it. Kaye starts to piece together the strange story of her real identity when she and her mother return to the New Jersey town where she grew up, and Kaye comes in contact with the faeries she used to play with as a child and a wounded knight, Roiben, who will change her life forever. Black's second book, Valiant, picks up where Tithe leaves off, but follows a different girl — a human named Val — who catches her boyfriend and her mother in a compromising position and runs away from home. In New York City, Val hooks up with a strange group of homeless teens and joins them in living in an abandoned subway station. It's not long before Val learns that these teens are not like anyone she's ever met — they work as couriers for a troll and come in contact with faeries on a regular basis. Ironside, Black's third book, returns readers to Kaye's story, beginning two months after the ending of Tithe. Roiben is about to take the throne of the Unseelie Court and there will undoubtedly be a war, but then Kaye makes a foolish declaration and is sent on an impossible quest. Luis and Dave from Valiant become an integral part of the story as Kaye is forced to visit Silarial, the Seelie queen, to try to save Roiben and herself.
DISCUSSION TOPICS
How does Tithe compare with other fairy tale books you've read in the past? Did you like the modern setting?
If you were Kaye, what gift would you have given to the kelpie if the broken carousel horse had not been available?
What other orders would you have asked Rath Roiben Rye to carry out if you suddenly knew his full name? (Don't forget his skill of turning leaves into money!)
For New Jersey and New York readers: Name all of the real locations that were mentioned in the three books — for example: Allaire State Park, Café des Artistes, etc.
If you were able to choose, would you want to be a part of the Seelie court, the Unseelie court, the solitary fey, or the human world? Why?
At the end of Tithe, what do you imagine happened to Roiben and Kaye? Before you read the sequel, how did you feel about the ending of Tithe? Would you have ended the book differently?
Were you excited to see cameos by some of the characters from Tithe in Valiant?
Who is your favorite character from Valiant? Why? What qualities does this character possess that make him/her most interesting to you?
If Valiant was made into a movie, what current film or TV stars would you cast as Val, Lolli, Dave, Luis, Ravus and the others?
Put yourself in Lolli's shoes — tell the story of Valiant from her point of view. What do you think happened to Lolli at the end of the book?
What did you think of the use of the faerie drug "Never" in the story? Did you think that the book showed enough of the downside of using drugs? If Dave had never taken the drug, how do you think his story would change? What about Lolli? Val?
We know that Kaye got her GED during the two months between the end of Tithe and the beginning of Ironside. What else do you think happened during this interim? How did Kaye cope with the loss of Janet, her mom moving away, her relationship with Roiben, etc.?
Ironside obviously takes place in December — what are the clues that tell you what time of year it is?
If you were cursed like Corny, would you immediately get to the ocean to cure yourself or would you attempt to touch someone or something? Whom or what?
Do you think it was a mistake for Kaye to have the young human brought back to Ellen? Do you think the girl will grow up to be a normal person?
If you were in Kaye's position with no need for college and the ability to create a new life for yourself, what would you do? What do you think of Kaye's coffee shop plans and her idea of dividing her time between it and Roiben?
Which adventurous duo do you think had a more challenging or exciting task: Val and Luis going after Mabry for Ravus's heart or Kaye and Corny traveling to the Seelie Court to strike a deal with Silarial?
Should there be additional books in this series? How would the story continue? Which character besides Kaye or Val would you like to see explored in another book?
Were any of the quotes at the beginning of each chapter familiar to you? Choose a few of your favorites and discuss how they relate to what happened in the story at that point.
RESEARCH AND ACTIVITIES
Create a Tithe board game that follows Kaye's travels between the Seelie and Unseelie courts and the human world. Playing pieces can represent something about each character — Kaye's purple cat suit, Roiben's long white hair, Corny's beat-up car, etc. Use obstacles like iron, thorns, ogres, and the Unseelie queen. Make minor characters part of the game (Janet, Kenny, Ellen) by detouring major players to save them from the kelpie. Be creative!
Make a clay sculpture, a painting, a drawing, or other piece of art of your favorite character from any of the books. What do you think they would actually look like?
Make an Unseelie feast! Re-create dishes that Kaye sees when she sneaks into the Unseelie court, then invent your own interesting recipes.
Write a spell for creating a glamour, then read it aloud to the group. Describe the new look you have created.
Choose your favorite scene and act it out in front of the group. If several people wish to be involved, choose a scene that features many characters. Make your performance as simple or as elaborate as you choose by adding costumes and props or just reading dialogue aloud from the book.
Assuming that Kaye's grandmother lives in Long Branch, New Jersey, get an atlas and map out the route that Kaye and Corny (and later, Luis) took during the course of their travels in Ironside.
Design your own sword — either patterned after the glass one Ravus used to teach Val how to fight or one of your own creation. Draw a detailed picture of your design.

Introduction

A Reading Guide for TITHE, VALIANT, and IRONSIDE

By Holly Black

ABOUT THE BOOKS

Holly Black's first Young Adult novel, the urban fantasy/faerie tale Tithe, focuses on a sixteen-year-old girl named Kaye who is actually a pixie, only at first she doesn't know it. Kaye starts to piece together the strange story of her real identity when she and her mother return to the New Jersey town where she grew up, and Kaye comes in contact with the faeries she used to play with as a child and a wounded knight, Roiben, who will change her life forever. Black's second book, Valiant, picks up where Tithe leaves off, but follows a different girl — a human named Val — who catches her boyfriend and her mother in a compromising position and runs away from home. In New York City, Val hooks up with a strange group of homeless teens and joins them in living in an abandoned subway station. It's not long before Val learns that these teens are not like anyone she's ever met — they work as couriers for a troll and come in contact with faeries on a regular basis. Ironside, Black's third book, returns readers to Kaye's story, beginning two months after the ending of Tithe. Roiben is about to take the throne of the Unseelie Court and there will undoubtedly be a war, but then Kaye makes a foolish declaration and is sent on an impossible quest. Luis and Dave from Valiant become an integral part of the story as Kaye is forced to visit Silarial, the Seelie queen, to try to save Roiben and herself.

DISCUSSION TOPICS

How does Tithe compare with other fairy tale books you've read in the past? Did you like the modernsetting?

If you were Kaye, what gift would you have given to the kelpie if the broken carousel horse had not been available?

What other orders would you have asked Rath Roiben Rye to carry out if you suddenly knew his full name? (Don't forget his skill of turning leaves into money!)

For New Jersey and New York readers: Name all of the real locations that were mentioned in the three books — for example: Allaire State Park, Caf - des Artistes, etc.

If you were able to choose, would you want to be a part of the Seelie court, the Unseelie court, the solitary fey, or the human world? Why?

At the end of Tithe, what do you imagine happened to Roiben and Kaye? Before you read the sequel, how did you feel about the ending of Tithe? Would you have ended the book differently?

Were you excited to see cameos by some of the characters from Tithe in Valiant?

Who is your favorite character from Valiant? Why? What qualities does this character possess that make him/her most interesting to you?

If Valiant was made into a movie, what current film or TV stars would you cast as Val, Lolli, Dave, Luis, Ravus and the others?

Put yourself in Lolli's shoes — tell the story of Valiant from her point of view. What do you think happened to Lolli at the end of the book?

What did you think of the use of the faerie drug "Never" in the story? Did you think that the book showed enough of the downside of using drugs? If Dave had never taken the drug, how do you think his story would change? What about Lolli? Val?

We know that Kaye got her GED during the two months between the end of Tithe and the beginning of Ironside. What else do you think happened during this interim? How did Kaye cope with the loss of Janet, her mom moving away, her relationship with Roiben, etc.?

Ironside obviously takes place in December — what are the clues that tell you what time of year it is?

If you were cursed like Corny, would you immediately get to the ocean to cure yourself or would you attempt to touch someone or something? Whom or what?

Do you think it was a mistake for Kaye to have the young human brought back to Ellen? Do you think the girl will grow up to be a normal person?

If you were in Kaye's position with no need for college and the ability to create a new life for yourself, what would you do? What do you think of Kaye's coffee shop plans and her idea of dividing her time between it and Roiben?

Which adventurous duo do you think had a more challenging or exciting task: Val and Luis going after Mabry for Ravus's heart or Kaye and Corny traveling to the Seelie Court to strike a deal with Silarial?

Should there be additional books in this series? How would the story continue? Which character besides Kaye or Val would you like to see explored in another book?

Were any of the quotes at the beginning of each chapter familiar to you? Choose a few of your favorites and discuss how they relate to what happened in the story at that point.

RESEARCH AND ACTIVITIES

Create a Tithe board game that follows Kaye's travels between the Seelie and Unseelie courts and the human world. Playing pieces can represent something about each character — Kaye's purple cat suit, Roiben's long white hair, Corny's beat-up car, etc. Use obstacles like iron, thorns, ogres, and the Unseelie queen. Make minor characters part of the game (Janet, Kenny, Ellen) by detouring major players to save them from the kelpie. Be creative!

Make a clay sculpture, a painting, a drawing, or other piece of art of your favorite character from any of the books. What do you think they would actually look like?

Make an Unseelie feast! Re-create dishes that Kaye sees when she sneaks into the Unseelie court, then invent your own interesting recipes.

Write a spell for creating a glamour, then read it aloud to the group. Describe the new look you have created.

Choose your favorite scene and act it out in front of the group. If several people wish to be involved, choose a scene that features many characters. Make your performance as simple or as elaborate as you choose by adding costumes and props or just reading dialogue aloud from the book.

Assuming that Kaye's grandmother lives in Long Branch, New Jersey, get an atlas and map out the route that Kaye and Corny (and later, Luis) took during the course of their travels in Ironside.

Design your own sword — either patterned after the glass one Ravus used to teach Val how to fight or one of your own creation. Draw a detailed picture of your design.

Holly Black is the bestselling author of the Spiderwick series. Her first book, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, was an ALA Top Ten Book for Teens, received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, and has been translated into twelve languages. Her second teen novel, Valiant, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a Locus Magazine Recommended Read, and a recipient of the Andre Norton Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her third teen novel, Ironside, the sequel to Tithe, was a New York Times bestseller. Her new novel, White Cat, is coming Summer 2010. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Visit Holly at www.blackholly.com.

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Ironside (Modern Tale of Faerie Series #3) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 282 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
I have been looking forward to this book ever since I finished TITHE, and Holly Black most definitely does not disappoint. IRONSIDE picks up soon after the events in TITHE and VALIANT, and takes the reader on another breathless journey into the amazing and deadly world of Faerie.

Things have been uneasy ever since Roiben assumed the throne of the Unseelie Court, and with the threat of war in the air and Roiben's coronation drawing near, everyone is on edge. Changeling Kaye Fierch knows that she loves Roiben, but she feels increasingly unwelcome and out of place in the Unseelie Court. So the night of the coronation, determined to prove herself to Roiben and the rest of the court, she makes a formal declaration and pledges herself to him as his consort. However, faerie custom demands that a quest be undertaken before anyone can sit as the Lord's consort, and Roiben grants Kaye an impossible task: to find a fairy who can tell an untruth. Now she is forbidden from seeing or speaking to him until she completes something she knows cannot be done.

Kaye doesn't know where to go, because she has been feeling uncomfortable at home as well, knowing that she stole a human child's life. In a moment of desperation, she tells her mother the truth: that she is a changeling that was switched with Ellen's real daughter, the real Kaye, and she vows to retrieve her from the Seelie Court and return her to Ellen. She feels that this, at least, is something she can do, even if there's no way she can complete Roiben's quest.

But with all the tension between the courts there is nowhere safe, and in venturing into the Seelie Court to find her human counterpart, Kaye puts herself within reach of Lady Silarial. Silarial wants Roiben's throne, and she's willing to do anything, including using Kaye, to get it. Once again Kaye finds herself in the middle of Faerie politics, but this time Roiben's not there to save her, and she may not have a way out.

In my personal experience it is rare that a sequel ever lives up to the first book, but IRONSIDE does just that. Full of court rivalry, deception and betrayal, sword fights and murder, faerie curses, new romances, and even characters from VALIANT, IRONSIDE is another wonderful foray into the dark, gritty world of Faerie and will not leave readers disappointed. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you pound your pillow in frustration and clap your hands in delight. My one and only complaint is that this is the last book set in this amazing world.
FayTannerr 11 months ago
I really enjoyed reading Ironside. It was an interesting and exciting end to the Modern Faerie's Tale series. Roiben, Kaye, Corny and Luis were great characters. The plot was intriguing and I just couldn't wait to see what the outcome would be! A must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good+
heidialice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Third in the Modern Tales of Faery series, but second focusing on Kaye. This volume takes place mostly in the Faerie world, as Kaye tries to prove her love and loyalty to Roiben, and figure out her place in both worlds, as someone not really of either.I liked this one better than Tithe, and read it quickly, but it faded just as fast. There's not much of substance here, and that's probably just fine for most readers. Like a mediocre Chinese meal, it will remind you of the real thing, and briefly scratch the itch, but ultimately will make you long for something more authentic and fulfilling.
Rubbah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ironside starts off a few months after the events of Tithe and Kaye has been feeling lost as she doesn't know where she belongs, so she drunkenly declares herself to Roiben, and he sends her on an impossible quest. Meanwhile Queen Silarial is still trying to kill Roiben, so Kaye also has to prevent her, though they don't know what she's planning. She is joined on her quest by Corny, and also someone from Valiant(I wont give away who) which I was pleased with because i had not really seen Valiant as a sequel but more of a companion book. I have to agree with the previous reviewer that Ironside completely lives up to it's prequels. It is a great book that will not disappoint.
the1butterfly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Holly Black is so talented- I can't get enough of her tales of faeries. I don't understand Kaye's guilt over being a changeling, but I'm happy with how getting back her sister works out. Roiben needs to get over his emo tendencies. I did think that it was interesting that there was a tie-in to "Valiant."
BookWhisperer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very intriguing continuation of the first book. I find myself absorbed by the Robyn-Kaye relationship. Not many authors are capable of writing a story that has you questioning the characters motives. This story had me guessing right up to the last page.
xicanti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kaye declares herself to Roiben, her Unseelie lover, and must complete an impossible quest before she can become his consort.This was yet another wonderful read in Holly Black's Modern Tales of Faerie series. Once again, I found myself sucked into the dark, seductive world she's created. The characters are great, the plot twists are clever, and the book just flies by.But despite all its good points, I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first two. It wasn't quite as dark, and I wished that some things had been fleshed out a bit more. There are three main stories here, (Kaye's quest, Roiben's struggle to deal with what the Unseelie court has made him, and Corny's... well, spiritual journey, I guess you'd call it), and they sometimes feel a little rushed. I think each storyline could have benefited from just a little more attention. They work, as written, but I would have liked to see Black spend more time on each one.All in all, though, this is a good book that's certainly worth your time. There's quite a bit of overlap with both TITHE and VALIANT, though, so read those first.
roguelibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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).
TheNovelNymph on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ironside is the third and final book in the Modern Faerie Tales trilogy and it was a pretty good end. Valiant is still my favorite of the three, however I really did like this book.Ironside was hard to put down. It didn't pull me in as much as Valiant, or even Tithe, but I still wanted to keep reading to find out how it all would end. I have to admit though that I was just a tiny bit disappointed in the ending. It just didn't feel finished.Holly Black is a fabulous writer. She creates a gripping story filled with friendship and danger. So of course I would definitely recommend this trilogy to everyone. All three books are fast, fun and well written.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: After a bloody battle of succession, Roiben is poised - if not exactly ready and willing - to become the King of the Unseelie Court. When Kaye finally confesses her love for him at his coronation, he uses a faerie tradition to send her on an impossible quest: to find a faerie who can speak a lie... and she won't be allowed to see him until she has. Heartbroken, she flees back to her life as a human, but things there aren't much better: her friend Corny is feeling self-destructive and wants the things (and people... and fae) that are the most dangerous for him, and her mother reacts badly when Kaye finally admits she's a changeling. Kaye has to venture to the Seelie court to find her mother's real child... but when she's there, she learns that the Bright folk can be every bit as nasty as the Unseelie fae, and that the Queen of the Seelie Court has designs on Roiben's throne... and his life.Review: Ironside is much more of a direct sequel to Tithe than Valiant was - it picks up Kaye and Roiben's story not long after the end of Tithe. In theory, Valiant could be skipped, but one of its characters does play a fairly large role in Ironside, and this book does assume that you already know who he is. In any case, it was nice to return to the characters I already knew and cared about, and I think it made the book much more of a compelling read. As you may have been able to tell from my summary, there is a lot going on in Ironside. It wasn't so noticeable when I was reading; the story flows quickly and smoothly between various scenes and shifting points-of-view. After the fact, though, it was hard to put a pin on a single through-line of story. Nevertheless, Black's brutally dark writing effectively conveyed each of the various pieces, and managed to make the book feel like a single seamless piece. Her world is as gorgeously built as ever, and I found all of the various loyalties and schemes much easier to detangle here than I did in Tithe.However, while I enjoyed the story, and certainly devoured it really quickly, I never got as emotionally attached to any of the characters as I normally would have wanted. It could be that I simply didn't identify with any of them, but something was keeping me at arm's distance. I was also a little disappointed with the ending. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, but one piece of the way that everything worked out just felt too cheap, too easy given the weight of importance that had been put on it throughout the book. 4 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: If you liked Tithe, you'll want to read this one for sure, but it's really not something that could stand alone.
klarsenmd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another quick, interesting read. I really enjoyed how this tied up the trilogy. I thought some of the story line was a little over the top, but in general the dark urban fantasy had a good plot and very imaginative writing. I certainly wouldn't let a young teen read it, but for older lovers of fantasy, I thought it was enjoyable.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. So far I have really loved all the books in this series. This books continues where the book Valiant left off. Roiben is set to become king of the Unseelie court. Roiben struggles with what will happen when he is crowned king and the uncomfortable treaty with the Seelie court is broken; he wonders if war is inevitable. Kaye struggles with her place with Roiben and the Unseelie court. She is also struggling with the knowledge that the baby human whose place she grew up in is still alive and Kaye feels that she needs to reunite her "mother" with her true daughter. Corny struggles with his fear of fairy and his grief over the death of his sister.This book is an easy read. The characters are all likable. A few new main characters are introduced. Luis is a great character and as likable and angsty as the rest of them. The book is fast paced and is a great book about faery. I have always loved urban fantasy, Charles De Lint being the first urban fantasy author I ever read. This book is a great addition to my collection. There are new fairies, action, duels, riddles, curses, you name it. I love how there is a little romance in the book but it is not overpowering; relationships are kept to simple hugging, kissing, and cuddling. There are too many fantasy book out there that get too physically in depth with the love thing, if you know what I mean (see Laurell Hamilton book review). This book leaves you with a happy pleasant feeling at the conclusion.That being said I am always surprised that these are considered young adult books. There is a lot of swearing and also more "adult" topics to deal with. For example Corny is gay and the Unseelie court revels in a number of horrific forms of torture and killing. None of these things are gone into in overly explicit detail but still. I would say that mid to upper teens would be okay with these books; they are not books that I would read to my 10 year old or younger.Still these books are fun and enjoyable. The author definitely has a love of fine literature and I enjoy all of the fine literature quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Black seems to pick these quotes with care so that they reveal and foreshadow the chapter to come. I love it!I hope there will be another book; although this book is wrapped up pretty nicely so who can say.
Phantasma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wasn't *quite* as good as the first two, in my opinion. It was still good, but I think I wanted a little more action. Or something. I hope she writes more books in this world, though. I really have become attached to the characters.
audramelissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pixie changeling Kaye is in love with the king of the Unseelie Court. There is war brewing with his kingdom and the rival Seelie Court. Kaye finds herself in the middle as the possible key to bringing peace and stopping death on the faerie and human side. She also struggles with the desire to tell her human mother that she is not the daughter she gave birth to while her best friend, the human Corny, joins her on this quest.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once upon a time a pixie who thought she was human helped a knight of the Seelie Court become the King of the Unseelie Court. But that was only the beginning. Kaye has only recently discovered herself to be a changling, a pixie switched at birth for a human child. This discovery has left her feeling as though she has no true place that she belongs, except with Rath Roiben Rye. Unfortunately when Kaye is tricked into declaring herself at Roiben's coronation, it is Roiben himself that chooses to send her away on an impossible quest, to find a fairy that can lie.I really, really liked this book. It brought together the characters from both Tithe and Valiant in a surprising way. As in Tithe Roiben is a hero who tugs at my heartstrings. Tormented by memories of what he has been forced to do in the service of the Unseelie queen, he is determined to somehow overcome his hatred of the Unseelie fairies and lead them in an effort to defeat the Seelie Queen who is also his former lover. I loved that this story was told in part from Roiben's point of view and I enjoyed learning more of his past and his motivations for his actions. I could also empathize with Kaye and found the subplot involving her best friend, Corny and Luis intriguing. Another aspect of the story, is that many of the quotes and references the author makes throughout the book are, in fact, ones that I am not only familiar with but am very fond of personally. The quote, "living is like licking honey off of a thorn" is one of my favorites from the poster on the back of my bathroom door (long story). All in all it seems that Holly Black has wrapped up her trilogy of modern faeiry tales in a very satisfying way, although I wouldn't protest further stories in this series should she choose to write them.
Suzanne520 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was so impressed with how much the writing improved from the first book to the last. I found myself truly rooting for Kaye to accomplish her quest. I felt much more connected to Kaye and Roiben in the book than the first. I thought the plot twists were clever. All in all, I really enjoyed this series and would definitely read more works by Holly Black.
awarns on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Corny, Roiben, and Kaye return with all the other familiar characters in this satisfying sequel to Black's first YA novel "Tithe". The story opens with Roiben's coronation as King of the Unseelie Court. As a result, the longstanding peace between the Seelie and Unseelie courts is broken and the Faerie world finds itself in the midst of war for the first time in an age. With a backdrop of war and court intrigue Kaye is dealing with serious relationship problems and is coming to grips with the knowledge that she's faery, not a human girl she like she thought she was. A great read, but I highly recommend you read "Tithe" first.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is by far and away the best of the series. Not only is Black's writing good, but we get to know Kaye and her best friend Corny much better than in the first book. What I also liked was that Black incorporated characters from Valiant into this book. Again I was reminded of Marr's series, but I don't think that's a bad thing.
Gnork on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this one of hollys faerie books. all of them is great and you defently want to read them all.
shelleyraec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I accidently read this series out of order - starting with Tithe and then reading Ironside before Valiant. I am glad I did because while Ironside is a direct sequel to Tithe, Valiant is a new cast of characters - and even though some of those have a place in Ironside you don't need to know them. You do need to read Tithe to follow the threads of the story. If you liked Tithe then Ironside is a must read.I liked Ironside more than Tithe in terms of plot and motivations, it isn't quite as dark though still twisted, the relationships are stronger and the flow is better, which is why I gave it 4 stars where as the others only 3.It does feel like this should have been the second in the trilogy however - the business idea could have been a great source for further stories combining the strongest characters.
luvdancr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
while this book didn't blow me out of the water this time, I have really impressed at Holly's ability to weave a really colorful and interesting fairy tale. I know she uses alot of real references to fairylore, but I'm not fairytale afficionado, so I couldn't tell you which ones are what, but there are a few details I knew I had heard before as I read them.I didn't like this book as much as the first two, as it seemed to take a different turn, but I enjoyed it all the same!
simplykatie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
felt it closed up the series nicely. there was a few parts that surprised me and all in all, i love kaye so i'm glad i read the book.
Karenbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of Kaye continues to evolve in interesting and unique ways. Black does a very good job of taking seemingly inane ideas and making them new again.
Mendoza on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the third (and I am assuming the last) in Black's 'Modern Faery's Tale' series. I don't know if the authors writing matured or I have grown used to her style. But I didn't get as annoyed with Kaye's immaturity as I did in the first novel. Yea for progress.I enjoyed the tangle she got herself into by being peer pressured into declaring herself to Roiben. I enjoyed that we were shown Roiben and given flashes of his feelings and priorities.I feel that by the end of this book Kaye matured enough that I would really love to read about her being Roiben's consort in future books. For all this series flaws (the writing just doesn't flow very well) I think the story and imagery more than make up for it.