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I think that the story in Ironskin is told very well from a writing standpoint. The prose is very tight and conveys character and their emotions very well. Jane as the point of view character is able to portray the world around her well.
However, while the story is well told, the story itself does suffer at times. It is a very slow developing tale, which is mostly about Jane and her relationship with Dorie and how the two struggle against one another until the end. Jane’s romantic interest in Edward seems borderline shallow, only stemming from the fact that he touched her and that she was starved for someone to make even the most innocuous of contact with her. Since she is fey-cursed, apparently not many people do that. That’s the way I felt anyway.
I’ve seen this book billed as steampunkish in nature, but there really isn’t much of that element to the story. In fact, the steampunk elements were so far and few between, and so glossed over, that they seemed only put in place to make the claim that it could fit into that genre. The aspects of Fey technology was much more predominant.
Towards the end is where those who enjoy a little action with their story will be most satisfied. Without saying too much, I’ll just say that the Fey actually start making an appearance (after a very long wait) and there are a couple good action scenes with Jane battling the Fey Queen.
The story does fall off a cliff at the very end. But, with a 2013 sequel (surprise, surprise) that seems to be the norm for stories these days in an attempt to draw people into the next bit of the story. I would have preferred to have had a little more resolution at the end of Ironskin however.
Overall, a very nice, light fantasy tale that doesn't cookie cutter a lot of what is out there.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
This is the second time I've visited Tina Connolly's Ironskin - I read it back when it first came out, and I wanted to revisit it in audio before listening to the sequel: Copperhead.
Ironskin follows Jane, a young woman who watched the fae kill her brother and was wounded by fae shrapnel. (Yes, in this book, there are evil faeries. It's kind of awesome!) To be rehabilitated from the cursed shrapnel embedded in her face, Jane must wear an iron mask that keeps the curse from infecting others around her. She accepts a job in the country as a governess for a young girl who exhibits abilities that suggest she has been touched by the dangerous fae. The girl's father is an artist who sculpts odd masks for women, and while attempting to help the girl rehabilitate, Jane soon finds she has feelings for him. Things get complicated very quickly - just about everyone seems to wear masks, even if they're made of flesh and blood.
Ironskin is a romantic fantasy novel drawing inspiration from Jane Eyre as well as fairy tales. I appreciated that it tackled big themes - that anger is sometimes a good thing, beauty is within ourselves, and that just because you're disabled or disadvantaged doesn't make you any less of a person.
Initially, I was a bit disappointed that Connolly herself wasn't reading - she has a great voice and has done lots of great readings at her podcast Toasted Cake, as well as at PodCastle. However, Rosalyn Landor gives a very polished reading that helps transport the story to a world that's similar to our own early 20th century, and it's easy to see why she was chosen to narrate this one. She can sound cool and detached, or bring a cold fury depending on the character and the situation. When Jane is struggling with her curse, as well as her feelings toward Mr. Rochart, we don't doubt the conflicting emotions that could easily sound like overdone melodrama coming from another reader. From Landor's lips - it works.
Ironskin is a story rich with love and empowerment, told from the point of view of a woman very much trying to find her new place in the world. I'm thoroughly looking forward to seeing what Connolly does next - not only with Copperhead and the books in this series, but beyond.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful