Ironskin

Ironskin

Book rating: 03 Hardback

By (author) Tina Connolly

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  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Format: Hardback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 211mm x 30mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 2 October 2012
  • ISBN 10: 0765330598
  • ISBN 13: 9780765330598
  • Sales rank: 539,226

Product description

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 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 are true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of a new life--and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

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Author information

TINA CONNOLLY lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and brand-new baby boy. Her stories have appeared in "Strange Horizons," "Fantasy," "Beneath Ceaseless Skies," "Highlights Magazine," and the anthology "Unplugged: Year's Best Online SF 2008." Her Young Adult dystopia play, "Witebox," will premiere in Portland in 2013. Connolly is a frequent reader for "Escape Pod" and "Podcastle," and works as a face painter, which means a glitter-filled house is an occupational hazard. "Ironskin "is her first novel. www.tinaconnolly.com

Customer reviews

By Jessica 06 Nov 2012 3

Ironskin is one of the more different fey stories I've ever read. Instead of focusing on the fey the book focuses on the humans after the Great War with the fey. This alone makes the story stand apart from other stories featuring fey. The main character, Jane, and the child that she is governess to are both cursed in different ways and these are a unique feature to this book.

There is some mystery surrounding Edward, the father that hired Jane, as he disappears for days at a time and has a long line of women after him for his time. Not to mention that Edward creates these ugly masks that are hanging around his home. The secrets start to spill out and with those secrets chaos ensues.

While there isn't much in the way of fey characters in this story, the entire book features the fey's previous presence and what they have done to the humans and the world they live in. As the fey had cursed some humans it also caused issues with their emotions, such as Jane experiencing Rage due to her scars. This makes it hard to tell where the characters emotions end and the fey's curse begins. I think that may be why I was never able to fully connect with Jane.

One of my favorite characters was Poule and while we hear only bits and pieces of who she is - it is always interesting, entertaining, and enlightening. I would have loved to read more about her character and her family as well.

Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

By Andrea Thompson 23 Oct 2012 5

Back before I became obsessed with YA and hot rock stars, I was in love with broody English men. Seriously, I could not get enough of men like Maxim de Winter, the Mr. Darcy and Heathcliff. I loved that these men seemed cold and indifferent, until a pivotal moment would loosen their control and each declared his mad love to the sweet, young woman (Not Catherine, she was awful.) who stole his heart. Something about a repressed English man really gets to me, I guess. Then you have the heroine, a girl who is convinced that this sophisticated, aloof man could never love her. She believes that he is still in love with the ghost of a woman long gone. And lastly, you have the setting. Dark and broody English moors, the homes that seem to be alive with memories, secrets in the dark corners. All of these elements made me a young lover of Gothic Romance (I know P&P is not Gothic, but I'm still including it.), and they made me so completely happy that Ironskin landed in my hands.

Author Tina Connolly took inspiration from a classic story, and gave it a magnificent spin by adding a world in which the fey exist, and have terrorized humans for years. Jane is a casualty of the Great War. She is scarred and cursed by the fey, with a rage that can only be contained by her ironskin mask. When she becomes the Governess to a young girl, mysteriously afflicted by the fey, she unexpectedly falls in love with the child's father, Edward Rochart.

Humans, though still frightened believe the Great War is over, but the fey will not stay in the woods forever. As Jane slowly pieces together the horrible truth about the cursed, and her own boss, she uncovers the fey's horrific plan to retake the land.

I was stunned and captivated by the beauty of Connnelly's writing. From the moment the story began, I began, I was enthralled and happy to be in this frightening, haunting, and beautiful world. I was hooked until the shocking end and will be desperately waiting for the next installment.

By Valen Steel 03 Oct 2012 4

3. Stars out of 5!

The Cover . . .

While usually I am not a fan of book covers with a model, looking mysterious and beautiful in a dress, 'cus frankly it's been over done and butchered to death, something about this cover (and it's intriguing premise) drew me in and challenged me to read it, so I did. And I am very happy that I did because though the book had it's flaws, it was unique and refreshing and a story I enjoyed.

The Not-So Good . . .

The only major issue I had with Ironskin was though Jane's world has suffered a war between the Fey and Humans, we as readers, aren't truly shown the visuals of how the world now looks. We know the home (Rochart's mansion) is in the moor and that the Fey make magical electrical devices, but I could not entirely envision it. Nothing was particularly descriptive and trying to grasp for details that are not fully there is very off-putting because it throws you out of the story and makes have to go back and read over what you just read, which if you have ever experienced, is very tedious. I should mentioned however, that this does not occur often, which is why I finished the book. The lack of information also attributed to not being able to fully connect to all of the things that intrigued Jane herself. She found the creepy Rochart mysterious and for the most part, because I never felt that I understood his character completely, just found him, well, creepy.

The Oh-So Good . . .

Everything else was great. I absolutely loved the world (or rather the concept of the world) and just thought it was so special and intriguing. I wouldn't say it was a Steampunk Universe, because it really didn't have that essence, but it did have steampunk like devices. I enjoyed the writing and Connolly's prose, which at times could be beautiful and dark. Though I didn't fully buy into Jane's final affections for Rochart, I did enjoy the romance, simply because it was slow building and was not love at first sight. Jane's love for Rochart blossomed over the pages and in the end did seem believable. My favorite character in the novel was def Dorie, who was strange, beautiful, creepy and pretty perfect if she were to have her own horror movie. I liked her and truly did believe her character.

Overall . . .

Ironskin by Tina Connolly was a dark, romantic Gothic that had a grand and fantastical world that while, yes, did fall short at times, was far better and greater then it's flaws. With it's dark characters and simple romance, this novel is for those wishing to find an intriguing escape to a world where the darkness inside of people is not afraid to flourish. Part Jane Eyre, part Beauty and the Beast, Ironskin was an exciting enough novel that makes me excited for the sequels!

By Sarah 02 Oct 2012 2

Cursed by the fey war, Jane wears an iron mask to contain the curse and to hide her scar.
She takes up a job for Edward Rochart. Being governess to Mr. Rochart's daughter is not what she thought it would be.


This is a retelling of Jane Eyre, which I have not read, so I can't compare how alike the two are, but I do know what the book is about.


The cover! Yeah it's amazing, but everyone knows how I like my covers! I liked the Gothic atmosphere of it, and the beginning was promising, but it sort of slowed down and went downhill form there. The last half of the book stood at a standstill for me. I was confused and found myself rereading pages back. There was nothing wrong with the heroine Jane. And I liked Dorie somewhat, I liked the interactions between Jane and Dorie. It was the romance didn't do it for me, it was weird and creepy.
I don't know if I'm going to be picking up the next book.


You might enjoy it if you like classics.


Thank you to Tor Books and NetGally for this ARC.
2.5/5 stars

Review quote

"A lyrical, beautifully crafted debut. I was particularly taken with the beautifully conceived strangeness of Connolly's fey-touched, just-a-shade-away alternate magical England. A haunting exploration of the true price one must pay for magic, beauty, and love, "Ironskin" will stay with me for a long time to come." --M.K. Hobson, author of "The Native Star ""Clever and romantic at the same time--no mean feat. A magical and entertaining waltz across the fairy forests and dark moors just a sideways step or two from Haworth Parsonage." --Ian R. MacLeod, author of "Wake Up and Dream ""A gothic, eerie, and pitch-perfect retelling of Jane Eyre, in which the moors are haunted by menacing fae and the hero's secrets are steeped in magic. Ironskin kept me up past my bedtime and stayed with me long after the last page has been turned." --Leah Cypess, author of "Mistwood"