Book Review: Ironskin by Tina Connolly


Ironskin by Tina Connolly is a young adult book that could be labeled as gothic, mash-up (for those that detest the touching of classic works), steampunk, historical, or fantasy.  Jane Eliot wears a iron mask to hide the damage done to her face in the great war with the Fae, and to contain the curse left behind with the injury. Edward Rochart is a widowed father, and in need of a special person to care for his five year old daughter Dorie, who was born through unique circumstances. Teaching Dorie is hard, but not as hard for resisting her feelings for Edward and his distant, brooding ways. slowly Jane unravels the mysteries of Edward, Dorie, and the curse and destruction from the Fae.

Ironskin is nominally based on Jane Eyre, so there is a significant gothic feel and moodiness to be had, but there are also fairies and steampunk elements. Edward, as you might expect, is not all that he appears and neither is his daughter. If you loved Jane Eyre, you will most likely not enjoy this book, in the way that purists that loved Pride and Prejudice did not like Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies. however, if you like seeing new takes on classic tales, or are like me and (shhh) cannot remember much about their high school reading of Jane Eyre other that the gothic atmosphere, moors, and thing Jane a little silly for falling for a moody man when she was supposed to be the practical sort, then read on.

Now, past all of the Jane Eyre parallels, on to the Fae war and the details of the world Connolly built in Ironskin. the particulars as to what Edward did behind closed doors, and the truths found in the descriptions of high society revealed well. I liked the details put into the Fae war, and how the technological aspects effected civilization. I liked the comparisons of fae powered devices, human made items, and everything else. I really fell into that part of the story. The details about the iron mask, the foundry, and dwarfs workmanship, and all that goes into world building was extremely well done. It was so well done that I expected a follow up, and discovered that Copperhead, the sequel, is currently scheduled for release on October 15 2013. I have a feeling that I will enjoy the sequel more than the original, as we explore the escalation of hostility between human and fae, and all that goes with it. One thing I did not like, is the cover image. It just did not work for me. the image of Jane on the cover did not fit the persona and attitude that she carried through out the book. It might have fit a couple moments, but not the book as a whole.

I recommend Ironskin to readers that enjoy the idea of a blend of a fae mystery blended with their gothic classics. those that cling to the classics and enjoy decrying anything that changes them, should either skip this book, or read it and be more prepared to expound on why their beloved favorites should be left alone. i broke about even with the story. It was well done and i greatly enjoyed many aspects of the book, I did not care for many of the characters as much as I would have liked.
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