Title: The Iron Crown
Series: The Darkest Court: Book Three
Author: M.A. Grant
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 103k Words
At a Glance: The Iron Crown is every bit as passionate and poetic as the previous two books in this series. It is a journey of love and honor and heroism and sacrifice, building up everything that had come before it into a pure and impeccable consummation of high fantasy and romance and my love of the trilogy.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: After the last Faerie Civil War, the leaders of the magickal pantheons stripped the shining Seelie Court of its power and tasked the dark Unseelie Court with maintaining the natural balance of the world.
Ages later, a twisted intrigue throws the balance of all Faerie into ruin and ignites a new civil war.
Discounted by his family and haunted in the Unseelie sidhe, Queen Mab’s youngest son, Lugh, leads the Wild Hunt on quests across the dangerous Wylds. At his side is his best friend Keiran, a Viking rescued from death centuries earlier. Between Lugh’s uncanny gift for being in the right place at the right time and Keiran’s power of persuasion, they’re revered across the Wylds—as long as Lugh keeps his true identity hidden from the people of the Sluagh.
Keiran and Lugh have loved each other for centuries—as friends and brothers in arms. Lugh has long since put aside his romantic love for Keiran to protect their friendship. But with the looming war in Faerie and the ghosts of the dead dogging Lugh’s every move, Keiran realizes there may be room for romance between them after all, if only they can survive.
Rallying the Sluagh to fight in the looming war between the Seelie and Unseelie seems an impossible task. To achieve it, these childhood best friends will have to free Lugh from the restless souls haunting him and turn the tides threatening not only their growing love, but the balance of life and death itself.
Review: In terms of “the heir and the spare,” Prince Lugh of the Unseelie court can only barely be deemed the spare let alone an heir to Queen Mab. Largely dismissed as dispensable, without a clear-cut role to serve behind his older brothers, Prince Sláine and Prince Roarke, Lugh set out to carve his own place in history. He, along with his beloved Keiran, have travelled the Wylds for centuries with the Wild Hunt, building their legend, founding familial bonds and, eventually, creating a dynasty. The Iron Crown is their story as well as the culmination of the Darkest Court trilogy. It is a story built upon want and need and desire and yearning, set against a looming war the likes of which Faerie has never seen, and M.A. Grant weaves this epic tale with skill and a lyricism that only enhances its telling and elevates the beauty of the central relationship between Lugh and Keiran.
The Prince of War and Chaos is a misnomer. Or, at least is hyperbolic. There is no question that Lugh is fierce in battle, when the need arises. But, when all is said and done, he wants nothing more than peace and parity for the people of the Sluagh. His people. The people who know him as their Horned King, their seidhr, the eyes and mouth of the gods. For if they knew him by his true identity—as the son whose own mother was responsible for the deaths of so many in the Wylds—they would only see him as the enemy and the harbinger of conflict. Lugh’s role has not come without its share of secrets, things even Keiran doesn’t know about the man he has sworn to defend and protect since Lugh saved his life centuries before. The burden of the things Lugh sees is part of his magick and figures into the stories Keiran weaves to further Lugh’s legend, even if Keiran isn’t quite sure how Lugh leads the Hunt towards, into, and through their quests.
Keiran’s ascension is essential to the story and to his relationship with Lugh. This book is composed of pining, their mutual pining, and there has been centuries of it on Lugh’s part, which Keiran, as Lugh’s faithful guardian, has not permitted himself to entertain because his fear of losing Lugh is far greater than his belief he could ever be a worthy partner to a prince. There is such a deep and abiding love and commitment between the two of them that their relationship is often indistinguishable from a marriage of hearts and souls. It’s when Keir’s role changes that he begins to allow himself the hope that he and Lugh can be together as something more.
The anticipation of Lugh and Keiran admitting they don’t just love each other but are deeply in love with each other is only outmatched by whether they, and all the other characters who have come to mean so much to readers of this series, will survive the treachery that is visited upon the Unseelie sídhe in the form of the ultimate betrayer, liar, and thief of power. Grant metes out the suspense of the imminent battle for control of Faerie as brilliantly as she choreographs the battle itself, including the revelation of a darkness Lugh has been carrying with him. The final outcome for the Sluagh, which was negotiated to ensure their alliance, is the happiness within the happily ever after for Keiran and Lugh, Roarke and Finny, and Sláine and Seb.
The Iron Crown is every bit as passionate and poetic as the previous two books in this series. It is a journey of love and honor and heroism and sacrifice, building up everything that had come before it into a pure and impeccable consummation of high fantasy and romance and my love of the trilogy.
You can buy The Iron Crown here:
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