Charlene's Reviews > Ironskin

Ironskin by Tina Connolly
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's review
Apr 02, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: jane-eyre, ebook, autographed, own, beloved
Read in July, 2012 — I own a copy

What a beautifully layered story! For what seemed like a Jane Eyre retelling with supernatural elements, I was expecting something more straightforward and recognizably similar to the plot structure of Jane Eyre, but this novel was full of the unexpected! It does not directly follow the arc of Jane Eyre, but infuses the spirit and romance of the original novel into a new story. I found the relationship between Jane and her pupil, Dorie, unexpectedly complex, as Jane struggles to get through to her and in the end through Dorie, Jane comes to realize something very important about herself. The author also sets up a strong history in the narrative, with the Great War, and the influence of the ultimately treacherous fey adding to an intricate fictional/ alternate reality where humans are still struggling to recover from the effects of war and the loss of the fey-technology. The details of this history and Jane Eliot’s involvement is slowly meted out however, so there is a feeling of tension as you try to catch up on what everything means.

What I liked best about this story is how the author weaved in many elements - fantasy romance with touches of steampunk, and nods to Beauty and the Beast as well as elements of Jane Eyre - to create a heavily atmospheric, dark tale of love and beauty and secrets. The nature of the secrets are very unpredictable, just like Edward Rochart, the mysterious widower artist, who sees Jane Eliot not as fey cursed, but as a brave, strong woman. And yet Jane struggles to cope with her past, and her curse, and to find the self-respect she needs to accept love, making this novel a gloriously touching romance between two damaged people. Although I could have used a little more development between Jane and Edward’s relationship, and there are still some unanswered questions as to the nature of the fey (but this is the first book in a series), I loved this intricate, intelligent, Gothic tale and I highly recommend it to fantasy and Jane Eyre fans!
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