Author: Tina Connolly
Series: Ironskin, book 1
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
“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 is the first book in the new series Ironskin by Tina Connolly.
Jane Eliot is a survivor of the Great War (war against the fey), war that left her scarred and cursed. After five years wearing iron to cover her face and to protect others from her curse she is finally learning to control her curse, rage. Being the independent woman that she is she finds work in the house of the reclusive Edward Rochart as the governess for his daughter, Dorie.
Dorie is not a normal child; she was born during the war and possesses some Fey “trails”. No governess has lasted long and Jane takes her employment as a challenge, she knows how difficult is to live with a Fey curse and she wants to help the little girl to have a normal life. What Jane wasn’t expecting was to fall in love with her employer.
There were many things I liked about Ironskin and some not so much.
I liked Jane well enough; it was easy to understand her feelings and her intentions. I liked how she fought to help for Dorie and didn’t give up even when despairing was the only option left.
Dorie is a little girl that has suffered abandonment after abandonment because she doesn’t know how to be normal. Nobody has really taken the time to understand her and connect with her until Jane comes to live with them; no even her own father who leaves her to the care of others without even showing up for weeks at times. Here is where I had some issues with the story. I know Edward is an eccentric artist and all that but he was a completely absent father and an absent employer, he was never there when Jane needed him and was never there for his little girl. With his almost permanent absence I couldn’t connect with him nor could I liked him or believe in the love that blooms between him and Jane. How can they fall in love when the time they spend together was so limited and so incongruous. In the last third of the book we learned more about his actions but is only until almost the very end that we can see the real him, and for me it was a little too late.
Even though the plot is slow paced the end felt a bit rushed, all the secrets hinted during the story were revealed in the last couple of pages leaving still many questions unanswered, opened for future books.
The world created by Mrs. Connolly in Ironskin is interesting and unique; I just wish she had explored the Fay factor a bit more.
Another problem I had was that Ironskin is promoted as a steampunk take in the classic of Jane Eyre, a description that is incongruent with the story. Steampunk aspects were almost nonexistent in the story; in my opinion it should have been better promoted as a gothic story.
Even though I would like to know the answers to the questions left unanswered I’m not sure I would read second book in the series.
My Verdict: 3 ½ Paws
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