Author: Tina Connolly
It has been five years since the end of The Great War. A war which left Jane scarred both emotionally and physically. She lost her brave little brother in that cruel battle between the evil fey and humans. She also lost pieces of her humanity. She was fey cursed in the war, left with a harshly scarred left side of her face. The scar can never heal and it leaks of rage, a rage which affects the humans whom she comes in contact with. The only way to mask this curse is by wearing ironskin on the left side of her face. Each day, she serves as a reminder of The Great War which took so many lives. Jane, however, is resilient and she is determined to be a self-made woman. Therefore, when Jane responds to a job offer in the paper, to work as the governess for a 5 year old fey-cursed child, she believes that this is the opportunity she has been waiting for. An opportunity which she never imagined would lead to her falling in love with the girl’s mysterious father, Edward Rochart.
Ironskin moves at a tender pace while toying with the emotions of the reader. Jane’s struggle with her Ironskin, yet her resilience in the same breath is riveting. Despite the magical world in which she exists, the novel touches upon issues which many women deal with in real life. They are issues of insecurities concerning their looks, the fear of being not quite good enough, but persevering nonetheless. It is a being which many women recognize and have lived. Aside from the reality of the novel, I enjoyed the complexities of the other characters as well, in particular, Mr. Rochart. I appreciated the way that he let his blinders down for Jane, despite his hesitance and dark secrets. Through him, and his daughter Dorie, Jane found growth and was able to find acceptance.
Ironskin is not a sunny novel. It is encased with darkness, due to magic and greed. The story’s back story and present world all represent a world corrupted by greed. The desire of humans to always crave what is of the Fey, however, what is of the fey, is always kissed with a curse. The layers of greed and self-discovery added to this unique gothic steampunk tale. Tina Connolly’s first novel is a gift to readers of the Steampunk genre. However, I am quite certain that even non fans of Steampunk will find Ironskin both riveting and inspiring.
*I received a copy of this book to review but was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*