November 29, 2012

Review of Ironskin by Tina Connolly


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.

Ironskin (Ironskin #1) by Tina Connolly
Publication Date:  October 2, 2012
Publisher:  Tor Books
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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **


I wanted to love this book… I wanted to shout from the mountain tops and praise this book and its gorgeous cover!  And though I did enjoy various parts of Ironskin by Tina Connolly, there was just something missing.  Fey? Okay, it got my attention.  A fey war against humans?  Mmmhmmm, more of my attention.  People who were injured due to this war and ended up with scars thus giving them different curses that can affect those around them?  Yes…yes… give me more… A widowed father who takes in such a cursed individual as a governess to help him with his daughter who has unusual fey abilities?  Okay, sign me up!

Ironskin started off with a great background and world building that easily caught my attention.   It had been awhile since I had read a fey related book so how excited was I to start reading Ironskin and delve into the world of human vs. fey.  We learn of the war that happened between the fey and humans that left many people dead or scarred.  Those that died during battle were used by the fey as its own skin, to enter and arise again in “human” form and attack their foes.  But this also lead to loved ones having to go against those family members…friends…neighbours…and kill them again by means of iron to rid the fey from that body, and watch their loved ones die a second time.

On top of that, those who fought alongside or were mere bystanders or were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught up in the injuries of war wound up with war wounds.  Scars that they must face for the rest of their life.  And not only do these scars remind them of the war that happened 5 years ago, but remnants of the fey themselves are imbedded into their very being, giving them a curse which affects those around them.  Be it fear, hunger, rage, love… And the only way to subdue this curse if by placing a covering of ironskin over top of the scars.  To some, it may not be so noticeable as it can be hidden beneath the clothes they wear, but for main protagonist, Jane, it is a daily reminder of how others see her, and how she sees herself for the scar and ironskin she must wear is on one half of her face.

Because of her curse, Jane knows she is able to help this child cursed who has fey abilities.  And it is after accepting this new position with Edward Rochart to help with little Dorie, Jane finds a way to try to cope with her curse, sans ironskin mask.  But Edward has his own dark secrets, and the pull that Jane feels towards Edward only brings her closer to this secret.  A secret that she may, in the end, wish she had never uncovered.

I found that author, Tina Connolly, started the story off quite well.  Well enough for me anyways, that I was compelled to keep reading.  And where it started off strong in the beginning, come the middle, the story was at a standstill.  It was an endless circle of information that I had already known, and pretty much just an inner battle within Jane.  Lots of wandering in the house, one on one time with Dorie, and thinking of her sister.

It wasn’t until well near the ¾ mark was it that things started to pick up.  It was at that point where I was unable to put Ironskin down.  It was what I had been hoping for with the action, and the drama, and the mystery.  The plot twists and turns…one after the other.  It was the rollercoaster ride that I was hoping for!  But way late in the book.  I wished that the action were brought forth sooner.  And although the action did come…the end just sort of … ended without a bang.  It does give some hope for what the next book will bring, but it wasn’t the cliffhanger moment I was hoping for either.

All in all, Ironskin was a book that I was glad that I did end up reading.  Although I wish that there was more some things, and less of others, the shock factor found in the book was enough to satiate me.  I’m hoping that book 2 will be more of a bang.

About the Author:


Tina Connolly lives in Portland, Oregon, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the anthology UNPLUGGED: Web’s Best SF 2008. Her novel IRONSKIN is out from Tor in Fall 2012, with a sequel in 2013. She is a frequent reader for Podcastle, and narrates the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. In the summer she works as a face painter, which means a glitter-filled house is an occupational hazard. She likes re-reading books and eating pie for breakfast (preferably at the same time.)

Connect with the Author:  Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Available for Purchase:
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  1. kimbacaffeinate

    I had this on my list, but reviews like yours had me stepping back. I loved that this was a retelling, but not sure its the right one for me, lovely review!

  2. Chapter by Chapter

    Thanks Kim! I was hoping for so much more.

  3. Ashley

    I’m sorry things stood still for you in the middle. :( I hate it when that happens! It’s disappointing when a book has a great beginning, a great ending, but is lacking in between.

    I hope the second book is more to your liking. :)

  4. Chapter by Chapter

    I hope the second book is better!

  5. Cyn

    Your review is almost like mine exactly haha, I loved the cover, wanted to love it, but it just kinda went nowhere for a really long time. The ending was pretty good though when it finally got going! Awesome review (:

  6. Chapter by Chapter

    Our reviews are pretty similar! I’m glad it wasn’t just me who felt this way about this book!

  7. Becky@Cardigans Coffee and Bookmarks

    I had no intention of reading this, but weirdly your review made me want to check it out, lol. I love the concept!

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