BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Ironskin by Tina Connolly
by Tina Connolly
Ironskin Series, Book One
Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.
It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.
When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.
Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.
Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.
MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Jane Eliot wears an iron mask over half her face to both conceal the fey curse that scarred her, and to keep its’ effects within. Jane was cursed with uncontrollable rage when she tried to save her brother during the fey wars. In the years since, Jane has survived but is not really living.
Jane finds a position working with a child with “special needs” in the home of the enigmatic widower Edward Rochart. While caring for young Dorie, whose problems are very unique indeed, Jane notices that women cycle in and out of the Rochart home quite frequently…each leaving more beautiful than when they came. Jane is determined to find out what’s going on, but the truth is far more macabre than she could have imagined.
Apparently this story is a retelling of Jane Eyre. I might get my book lover card revoked for this confession, but…I’ve never read Jane Eyre. So I’m not really sure how this book stacks up against it. As a story on its’ own merits, well…
Jane is 21 years old, and the only family she has left is her younger sister, Helen. Because of her curse, Jane is extremely self conscious, a trait that does not couple well with her fey-induced rage. When Jane gets angry (which sometimes doesn’t take much), her anger is like a red hot fire that she can feel inside. It’s sometimes hard to keep it contained. Not only is Jane self conscious, she’s also a bit paranoid.
Edward is a young widower who lost his wife in childbirth. He loves his daughter Dorie, but is somewhat removed from her because of the things she can do. Still, I must ask, is bringing in a nanny who ADMITS that she is cursed with fury the best thing to do for your five year old daughter? This is just something that occurred to me while reading. I found it very interesting that Edward chose to surround himself with an all female house staff.
Even though he barely talks to her and is rarely there for his daughter, Jane falls for Edward. This was probably the most annoying thing to me in the entire book. They spent so little time together, to me it was like Jane’s feelings for him came up absolutely out of nowhere. Despite the way he speaks to her, and all the women she saw coming in and out…Jane still fell in love with him. I didn’t get it, at all.
I did very much enjoy the evil fey elements of the book. In fact, the supernatural parts were the most intriguing to me, and are what kept me reading. The book takes place in what sounds like an alternate post-Industrial Revolution dystopian period. Fey magic used to power the world, but after the war nothing was left and everyone is quite poor. I have very rarely seen fey as the evil entity in a book, so that was unique and appreciated.
As I got to the end of the book, I could see what was coming but the details surrounding everything were a little horrifying. I definitely applaud the author for creating such a cool background story for Edward. The events at the end moved pretty fast, but I was satisfied with the way the book closed.
I’d recommend this book for anyone who wants a different twist on a fey story–but don’t read it for the romance.
About the Author
TINA CONNOLLY lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and baby boy. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Fantasy, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Highlights Magazine, and the anthology Unplugged: Year’s Best Online SF 2008. Her young adult dystopia play, Witebox, will premier in Portland in 2013. Connolly is a frequent reader for Escape Pod and Podcastle, and works as a face painter, which means a glitter-filled house is an occupational hazard. Ironskin is her first novel.