Ironskin by Tina Connolly reviewed by Nikki

Ironskin by Tina ConnollyTitle: Ironskin (Ironskin #1)
Author: Tina Connolly
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 304 pages
Source: NetGalley

Well I’m done with this book, what now? I read every single word and I understood them all, but somehow this book got muddled. I’m stuck with this feeling that I read a bunch of flowery crap that amounted to almost nothing. Man, that sounds so harsh, but it’s true. The cover is so unbelievably gorgeous, I think I let it hype me up a bit too much. I should’ve also remembered I’m not exactly a Bronte type girl.

The world that Jane lives in is a post-war mess. This wasn’t just any ‘ole war though, it was humans versus fey. Which, as you can imagine, was not so good for us humans. The fey in this story are not corporeal; they don’t have bodies. They must take over a dead human body in order to physically fight in the war. So they are fombies, basically (yeah I went there). The fey have mysterious powers and magic that they use to create fey bombs during the war. Unfortunately, Jane took a bunch of fey shrapnel to the face and is confined to a half iron mask. The iron supposedly holds in the fey curse within. In her case, it was rage; but for others hunger, etc.

“I am Jane, and you would be frightened to look upon me.”

Fast forward five years and Jane gets a job at a creepy old fey manor. Her employer is a mysterious, but hot guy named Edward. No, he doesn’t quite sparkle. She becomes his daughters governess and quickly realizes that the kid just ain’t right. Dorie is five and she has fey powers. Unlike Jane, she didn’t obtain them from wounds like every other ironskin. Dorie was born this way as a baby. Working with Dorie is really frustrating and tests Jane’s rage control big time. Dorie honestly drove me bonkers, I would’ve smacked that kid. Of course, she did eventually warm up to Jane and I started to like her a bit more as well. There are a few other characters I quite liked though; the stalwart Poule and the snarky cook were among my favorites. There are tons of insipid and silly women in the book, most clients of Edwards (He’s an artiste…dont cha know daaarling) Jane’s own sister is trying to make her way in society and I found her to be freaking insufferable.

As the plot unravels, several crazy things happen. Some of it I expected and some not at all; its always nice to not see the twist coming. I’m not going to give away any more of the plot, but it felt like to me that by the time things actually began happening I was kind of over it. I had invested over 200 pages of reading a bunch of predictable stuff about society and parties and bullshit.

I need to level with anyone reading this, I am NOT a Bronte fan. I wanted to be when I was younger, but I just can’t stand reading that type of stuff. So in fairness, I probably wasn’t patient or tolerant enough with this story. So hey, if you like Bronte, you should read this book. You would definitely like it a lot more than I did.

I feel like I’ve beat up on this book enough, there were bits that I liked, too! The prose is lovely in spots and its a mostly well written story. I found the slight twist on fae lore to be refreshing as well. Jane is a genuinely strong and kind person. She she is a walking reminder of a terrible war most people would rather forget; seen by society as untouchable and undesirable outcast. I did really feel bad for her and hated to see her suffer. I was rooting for her!

The end of the book finally reveals the answers to the tricky little questions you’ve been asking yourself during the entire book. I was so happy to finally see Jane completely blossom and own her beauty and her power. Now THAT I do love! Before I read the last 30 or so pages, I would’ve given this book two stars, but the ending redeemed it a bit, so I give it three. Despite my somewhat sour review, I will read the sequel because I have hopes that the story will expand and get much better.

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