Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Publication Date: October 2, 2012 Pages: 304 Published By: Tor Books Website Tina Connolly Website My review copy: Gift
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.
The moor was grey, battlefield grey. It had been five years since the last fey was seen, but out here Jane could almost imagine the Great War still raged on. Grey mist drifted through the blackened trees, recalling the smoke from the crematory kilns. That was a constant smell in the last months of the war.
Perversley, Jane was almost glad to see the tantrum it made Dorie seem more human, to see her throw a full-blown, audible tantrum that looked exactly like any other frustrated child might have thrown, rather than her usual trick of calmly walking to the window and ignoring Jane.
But Poule turned the force of her attention back to Jane. "I feel your rage," she said.
"I know," said Jane shortly. She swung her hair to cover her cheek again. "It's why I wear the mask."
"I mean I feel it extra now," said Poule. "You got angrier when I talked about the fey."
Jane scrabbled at the leather straps, pulling them aside, and then the mask was suddenly off, cooling her face. The orange tongues of anger lashed out, raging at the idea that he was stolen from her, would be taken from her.
This was a book that I had, had on my shelf since last year waiting to be read and for whatever reason it just kept on getting pushed back. When it finally came off of my shelf I was intrigued to say the least while starting it. The thing is sometimes descriptions just don’t always do the plot justice and they definitely do not do the authors writing any justice. Ironskin was beautifully written and I was astounded with just how easy it was to see the world that was created. I was in love with the detail and uniqueness of it all. It was like walking into a ball room and being in awe of the detail and beauty. This is one of those books that I think is really made in the details.
The plot with this one was a little bit of a slow go for me but it gave me a chance to savour it. Though it is not always the most desirable trait in a book, Connolly pulled it off. Jane was a victim of the fey war, hit by shrapnel and causing her to have to wear an iron mask over half her face to keep the curse in. Anyone touched by the war carries some form of curse, be it hunger, greed, anger and more. Though it does affect them it also seeps into those around them. With having to wear her iron in such a visible area, Jane’s life has been forever changed. It seems that this job with Dorie is an end to the job jumping but it is an end to more than that.
I enjoyed how Jane was written. Though she was not overly confident, she was intelligent and reasonable. She knows what has happened to her isn’t fair and what she has lost is more than most people could handle. Despite this she goes on with her life and tries to find a place for herself. How she dealt and worked with Dorie was interesting but I felt bad for her and the things she had to deal with while doing this. Even her great intentions backfired but they also taught her more than she could have imagined about herself and those that were touched. Her life may not be all rainbow and butterflies but she made due with what she had and it ended up changing her views on everything; including herself.
There was a measure of disappointment that the fey did not play a larger part in this book. However, I will admit that I loved how they were made out to be. These were not can be nice or not fey. They were flat out made to be evil, taking anything of beauty or talent because they could. The war was lost by them but throughout the book you cannot help but wonder if they are laying in wait and what they are planning. It was obvious that these are fey that you should not mess with and should watch your back for, especially if you are one of beauty or talent. I hope that in the books following this one that we get to know a fey or at the very least more about the mystery that did surround them.
Overall I really liked Ironskin. There were ups and downs but the good definitely overpowered it all. It also helped that the writing was absolutely wonderful and the story itself was unique. There was also a rare simple love story written throughout. I think that most people will find this enjoyable, and a change of pace from the normal complicated or love triangle riddled stories that we so often find. Though there is fae in it, the love story kind of made me think of Beauty and the Beast, in a small way. This is really something that I would recommend to people that are looking for something to savour, not rush through.