Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Review: Ironskin by Tina Connolly

From Goodreads: 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. 

My Rating: 2 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: I’ve never read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre; but through different retellings, I’m aware of the basic gist of the plot. As a result, I was curious about giving Tina Connolly’s Ironskin a try – especially once I found out that it involved steampunk elements and faeries. Sadly, while I loved the traditional Gothic feel of the setting, it was the fantastical elements of Ironskin that ultimately left me disappointed.

After being introduced to Jane and reading about her getting accepted as a governess at Silver Birch, I felt as if the pacing slowed to a crawl. I understand that Jane’s duties as a governess are going to be discussed, but who wants to read half a book about how hard it is for Jane to get her charge, Dorie, to obey her?! It certainly didn’t help that I couldn’t make myself care about the characters – or later, the romance (which if I wasn’t expecting it would have come as a complete surprise since Jane and Mr. Rochart hardly interact with each other before falling in love). 

After waiting for what felt like an eternity for Jane to start caring about what Mr. Rochart did for a living, the second half of Ironskin dramatically picked up the pace. Unfortunately, I found that the plot became hard to follow with the greater prominence of the fey element.

I was also left confused by the theme of beauty in the book. For the majority of Ironskin, Jane desires to be normal and keeps thinking about how her life would have turned out had she been unscarred. To me, it seemed as if the author was suggesting that females should judge themselves based on their physical looks – particularly after Jane makes Edward put a mask on her so that she too can become beautiful. However, since everybody that’s beautiful in the book has a bit of a fey in them, there’s also the sentiment that being attractive isn’t a good thing. 

Ironskin was released by Tor Books on October 2, 2012. 

Comments About the Cover: Another pretty cover that lured me in … only to disappoint me with its contents!

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Tor Books) for free via NetGalley.

12 comments:

  1. Aw man! First I had no idea that this was a Jane Eyre retelling even though the names are that obvious. I'm so observant, aren't I? *facepalm* But I was really curious about giving it the fey bent. I still curious though and I think I'll give this one a whirl. Thanks for the heads up about the slow first half. I'll now know what I'm getting myself into. :) Hope your next read is better, Z.

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  2. I am not reading great reviews on this and I have it coming up on my blog. I did not make it through Jane Eyre and I tried twice, so .i don't care about that aspect. I am concerned about the confusing plot and shaky world building. Thanks for the honest review!

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  3. I haven't read Jane Eyre either and I actually had no idea this was a retelling until I started reading reviews for it, but I'm thinking this isn't the book for me. While I'm glad the pace picks up after a slow beginning, I don't like that with the faster pace comes a bit of confusion as well. I'm going to pass for now, thanks Z!

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  4. I am forever being lured in by pretty covers. I feel this may be another one for me. ;) It's a shame you didn't enjoy it much! I'm quite reluctant to make a start on it now. The reviews so far have been very disappointing.

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  5. I was about to say that I was going to read this book for the cover alone, but 2 stars??? Awww, so sorry you didn't like this, Z. Also, slow-paced plots tend to make me fall asleep so I'll think I'll pass on this.

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  6. Oh, bummer. I had been really intrigued by this one, based largely on the cover, but also the steampunk elements. But YUCK, that is not the kind of message I want to read about. Particularly if the majority of the book is boring. So, I'll be passing on this one - thanks for the review, Zahida!

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  7. I'm so bummed you didn't love it! I really wanted to love it. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books and I looovveeee steampunk. I'll probably still have to check it out based on those reasons alone, but I'm bummed! Maybe one to borrow instead of buy.

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  8. I have to agree with you spot on about this book, dear! I was unimpressed by it and the overall theme was so warped by the time the book ended. Plus, as an avid fan of Jane Eyre, this book didn't do much justice to the classic it was built off of and the world-building had a few plot holes too. Gah! >.< Anyway, fantastic review! I'm so glad I wasn't alone in my rating of this one!(:

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  9. Ick! I haven't heard very many good things about this book. And the spoiler (yes I looked! You can't tease me like that and expect me not to look! haha) makes me want to buy the book, just to burn it >.<

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  10. Another cover fraud, isn't it? Damn, too bad I have this title for review! I can already tell I'm not going to enjoy this, especially since I wasn't much in love with Jane Eyre when I first read it (confession: I could barely forge through the whole thing). Great review and thanks for the honesty, dear! :)

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  11. Oh no! I hate it when the story inside the beautiful (cover) book sucks! I really want to read this book, but really just because the cover wowed me! :) Now, I'm not so sure anymore. Great review.

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  12. I don't get how characters that don't interact fall in love? Why does this keep happening? To me, that's not love, it's attraction or lust. *sighs*

    I will definitely be skipping on this. I don't have time for stories that move at a crawl. But the cover is beautiful...not sure if that's a bad thing or not. LOL

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