Author: Tina Connolly
Placement in Series: 1/2(?)
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.
Note: This review is completely spoiler-free
I have mixed thoughts about Ironskin. While it was enjoyable overall, there were parts that had me seriously questioning if I enjoyed this book. It was slightly slow-moving, but the story and mystery behind it all intriguing enough to have me looking forward to picking up the book each night.
Though the beginning was slow, the story still managed to hold my interest. All was going well until the end, which felt rushed. I just feel it could have been better executed. Some things that were happening towards the end made little sense to me, and then too much was happening in so few pages that it felt rushed. The whole climax and catharsis took up twenty pages altogether, while the other 200+ pages was leading up to it and it just did not end up flowing well. Once it got to the final pages, everything that was happening became muddled. Suddenly the main character was in the city, then in the mansion in the country, then in the city again and from the way it was written, the end seemed like it took place in thirty minutes, when in reality that would not be possible unless Jane (the protagonist) could teleport (not a spoiler, but she could not teleport).
Also I'm not sure if I believed the relationship between Jane and her apparent love interest, Edward. I don't see what they see in each other at all (their feelings were not clear to me in the narrative and their interaction, and seemed to happen all of a sudden), and considering the book is written in one of their perspectives, that makes no sense.
The fey element was great. I had only ever read books where the fey could be classified as 'good' and were glorified, but the fey in this tale were anything but. It was even a saying amongst the characters, 'May you be born plain', so the fey would not be tempted to harm you for your beauty/good looks. (But then some character decisions towards the end regarding this felt out of character/all of a sudden, and made little sense logically, but that could just be character flaw and not writing flaw.
I think the main thing I was hoping for with this book was some more kick-ass and action scenes. There was room for it, but there were really no scenes like that. When there were 'fighting' scenes, they were written with more 'tell' than 'show', which was disappointing. If you're looking for a BA female protagonist a la Katniss or Lisbeth, you won't find her in Ironskin, but if you're looking for a strong female lead a la Jane Eyre or Hester Prynne, Ironskin's got it covered.
Still an interesting and somewhat creepy read with an overall satisfying ending (that was just not well-executed or as detailed as I'd have liked). It was the kind of ending that does not even need a sequel to it, though it was left open for one, but I won't go into that in order to avoid spoilers.
Rating: 3/5 - interesting plot, just not styled and executed as well as it could have been.
Recommended for: If you like historical fantasies, you will probably enjoy this one, especially if you have read and enjoyed Jane Eyre. The book is a loose retelling of the classic (from what I've read in other reviews - I myself have not read Jane Eyre). If you like twists to old tales/classics, you will probably also enjoy Ironskin.