Monday, January 14, 2013

Heidi Reviews Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Ironskin (Ironskin #1) by Tina Connolly
Hardcover, 304 pagesPublished October 2nd 2012 by Tor Books

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.
This review was also posted at Rainy Day Ramblings.

A new spin on Jane Eyre with deadly Fey, steampunk and more.
Jane takes a deep breath and eyes the strange house, obviously of Fey architecture.
She is here seeking a governess position, and unfortunately for a girl like her she is
running out of options. Jane adjusts the iron mask on her cheek and tightens the long
veil around her face. She is greeted by Mr. Rochart. He seems unperturbed by her
masked appearance, and he immediately offers her the job. She is to help care for his
daughter who is cursed with some unique fey abilities. Jane has her work cut out for
her, but she settles in undaunted. But things are not as they seem in this house. Her
employer keeps odd hours and has an array of beautiful women as clients. He
supposedly is an artist creating masks that Jane considers to be hideous. Is Mr.
Rochart a dashing heartbreaker or is there something more?
What I Liked:
• First, I have never completed Jane Eyre. I tried to read the book twice during my
teenage years and I could not get through either Bronte sister book. Now, it isn't
because I don't have patience for the classics. I adore classic literature and have read
more than my fair share of these great works, but for whatever reason, Jane Eyre is
just one book that didn't appeal to me. Perhaps I should consider it again now that I
am older. Needless to say, I can't compare Ironskin to the classic, but I can tell you
after reading this one that it is a strong departure from the original. This book is set in
an alternate steampunk world populated by deadly Fey. So if you go into this one
expecting an accurate retelling of the classic novel you will likely be disappointed. If
you pick this up looking for something different you will enjoy it. So it is best to get rid
of any preconceived notions when starting this book.
• I thoroughly enjoyed Jane's character. She is bold, determined and very capable.
She is scarred and deformed but she does not let her appearance dictate her life. She
refuses to hide and pity herself. Instead of taking refuge with her sister and her
wealthy fiancé, Jane takes on a difficult governess job. Even when the child under her
care proves to be a challenge, she doesn't back down. I liked how fierce and
courageous Jane is throughout the book. I especially liked the way she dealt with her
deformity. I particularly enjoyed the added fey curse to Jane's injury. Jane's face was
scarred and deformed by a fae bomb, and now her cheek carries a fey curse that
causes rage. I thought this added unique aspect was particularly interesting, and I
liked watching how Jane's understanding of her affliction evolves. Jane is definitely an
admirable heroine.
• I liked the mystery in this book. There is the uncertainty of what is really going on in
the house, what is Mr. Rochart doing? I also liked the anxiety regarding the Fey. Not
knowing if they would suddenly materialize again and once again take up arms
against the humans. This book keeps you continuously guessing until the final pages.
• I personally enjoyed the romance in this one. It is a slow burner....Jane for the past
five years has hidden her face and accepted that fact that no man will willingly touch
her or pay attention to her because of her iron mask, but Mr. Rochart from the first
meeting is not intimidated by her appearance. What follows is a slow and steady
attraction, a touch here, a look there, denials, fleeting thoughts, blushing cheeks...
finally culminating with Jane's sudden realization that she has feelings for Edward.
This is certainly not a torrid romance, and for the most part it is quiet and not the main
focus, but I liked that it took its time developing. If you are expecting a hot fiery
romance, this is probably not the book for you.
• I enjoyed the fey elements in the story. The Fey are deadly and mysterious. A Great
War was fought against the Fey and now the world is in shambles without the fey
technology that the human race had grown so dependent upon. I liked that they were
always present even though the actual time that they are in the scenes is minimal.
There is a constant, uneasy fear and you are just waiting for them to make their
terrifying appearance.
• Finally, it was nice to read a book that did not have a love triangle or a cliffhanger

Ironskin was an interesting and fun loose retelling of Jane Eyre. Keep in mind this
book is a strong departure from the original and enjoy the ride. My favorite aspect of
this book is Jane's fierce character and the inclusion of the deadly Fey. This was a
unique read and I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to seeing how the story will continue.
Favorite Quotations:
"He was not handsome, not as Helen would describe it---not soft and small-nosed, no
ruddy cheeks and chin. He was all angles, the bones of his cheek and jaw plainly
visibly, and his hair leaped skyward as if it would not stay flat."
"Almost spring was the worst--the last cold and wet of winter when you were dying for
bare arms and sunshine."
"The days passed and still he did not come. Jane looked for him in every shadow of
curtain, every stroke of clock."
"Jane couldn't live with herself anymore. She was the lit end of a firework, a short fuse
that would burst into a thousand stars."

Disclosure: I received an copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest
review. I was not compensated and all opinions expressed are my own.

About Heidi:
I have always had a healthy passion for reading.  My love of books started at an early age, as soon as I could read my life long love affair for books began.  Reading to me is one of the finest pleasures in life.  My guilty indulgence is a good book, a soft blanket and a cozy concoction.  It is thrilling to hold a book in your hands and wonder at the secrets that are buried deep within. Then page by page the story pours out revealing it's heart and soul until there is nothing left to show; nothing left to say. To me a good book is one that continues to call to you after completion.  The characters are still whispering in your mind; their story threads reaching out to entangle you even as you pick up another book to start the wonderful process anew.  Each book is a new adventure, a new story, another find.  That is why I read!
I am currently a stay at home mother of two toddlers, who keep me very busy. I also have a wonderful, supportive husband without whom this blog would not be possible.  I am a recent transplant to the rainy, region of Portland, Oregon; thus the reason for my blog Rainy Day Ramblings.  The many rainy days here provide me ample time to snuggle up under a comfy blanket with a cat and read while the rain drips down my window.
I also, when I find time, enjoy baking, candle and jewelry making, cross stitching and spending ample time with family.
Find me on my blog, facebook, and twitter.  

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