Sara's Reviews > Ironskin

Ironskin by Tina Connolly
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really liked it
bookshelves: fairy-novels, fantasy, female-protagonists, steampunk, atmospheric-reads

Fey curses leave lingering, supernatural scars on their human victims in Tina Connolly's Ironskin, a Victorian-era steampunk fantasy twist on Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. This doesn't follow the original classic verbatim. Rather, it takes the governess-employer love story and morphs into its own tale. Jane Eliot is a complex protagonist, fierce yet painfully insecure about the iron mask that hides her scarred cheek and keeps her curse-induced rage at bay. The girl in her charge may be fey cursed as well, but in a very different way. Their unique bond, along with Jane's feelings for the girl's father Edward Rochart, leads Jane on a series of discoveries about magic, beauty, and the price one is willing to pay to heal from the past.

It's hard to summarize what I enjoyed most about Ironskin, because the highlights kept adding up. The subtle nods to the original story, Jane as a fascinating heroine, Edward's tragic backstory and ghastly occupation (which helps to catalyze the plot), technology powered by fey magic... Where do I stop? Connolly's lyrical writing style and impressive world-building also enhance the haunting atmospheres and gothic overtones. I wasn't too crazy about the love story between Jane and Edward; I couldn't tell why they were attracted to one another. But the rapport between Jane and little Dorie tugged at my heart, and really made Ironskin a joy to read. This may be less industrial than most steampunks, but if you like intrigue, dark ambiance, and character-centric fantasies, this one comes highly recommended.
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Reading Progress

March 12, 2015 – Shelved
March 12, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
March 12, 2015 – Shelved as: fairy-novels
July 21, 2015 – Started Reading
July 21, 2015 –
page 36
11.84% "Great opening! Connolly did a fantastic job of introducing readers to this desolately beautiful world. I love the Jane Eyre references as well as how this story is already very much its own thing."
July 22, 2015 –
page 67
22.04% "I absolutely love Dorie. Her curse might mean trouble, but it's such a huge part of her "little girl trouble-maker" appeal. :)"
July 23, 2015 –
page 87
28.62% "I was really hoping to read two chapters instead of one last night. But having my routine in upheaval thanks to a broken AC unit is tiring me out. :/"
July 24, 2015 –
page 124
40.79% "Dorie just might be one of my favorite child characters of all time. Gosh, I adore her even though she's a pain."
July 25, 2015 –
page 197
64.8% "Edward Rochart reminds me so much of Mr. Rochester. His way of speaking, his quiet passion, his secretiveness... It's chilling, in a way. Oh, and Dorie is still freaking adorable. :)"
July 27, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy
July 27, 2015 – Shelved as: female-protagonists
July 27, 2015 – Shelved as: steampunk
July 27, 2015 – Shelved as: atmospheric-reads
July 27, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Jean I remember seeing this book floating around when it first came out, but now that I've read your review, I think I'll check it out. I have yet to find a) a steampunk and b) a faerie novel that I've actually liked. If I can find both of those things in this book, I'll definitely have to check it out. Especially since I don't feel any special way about the original story, so it won't bother me much if it is or isn't too like Jane Eyre.

Thanks for sharing! <3


Sara Jean wrote: "I remember seeing this book floating around when it first came out, but now that I've read your review, I think I'll check it out. I have yet to find a) a steampunk and b) a faerie novel that I've ..."

You're welcome! Have you also checked out The Falconer by Elizabeth May? That's also a steampunk fantasy with fairies, more influenced by Scottish folklore and for a YA audience.


Jean Sara wrote: "Jean wrote: "I remember seeing this book floating around when it first came out, but now that I've read your review, I think I'll check it out. I have yet to find a) a steampunk and b) a faerie nov..."

I've got it right now! I've only read the first chapter because I've been too distracted by the shiny, ever so lovely A Natural History of Dragons to dedicate much time to it. But I'll definitely spend some time with it now!


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