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review 2015-01-19 16:28
Review of Ironskin (Jane Eyre meets the Fae)
Ironskin - Tina Connolly

Ironskin by Tina Connolly is a story taking place in maybe the 1920’s after the Great War. In this book the Great War was an awful war – decades before the Fae had come and given their technology to humans in exchange for stopping the industrial revolution and the pollution that came along with it. But people are people and the Fae are the Fae so it should come as no surprise when the Fae begin to terrorize the people. Jane Eliot our leading heroine has been greatly affected by the war, during the war she was greatly scarred and left with this never ending rage. To protect herself and others she now wears an iron mask which covers half her face. Jane is living in a challenging time where beauty is everything and the men are returning from the Great War which means Jane is having trouble keeping employment and not being a burden. These circumstances takes Jane to the country and the house of Edward Rochert who seeks a governess for his daughter who has also been touched by the Fae. However this job is far more than Jane initially bargained for.


I am not really sure what I think of this book - while I enjoyed it there were parts for me that were left lacking. I loved the concepts – Jane Eyre meets The Man in the Iron Mask. People are not what they seem, combined with a coming of age story – not so much coming into adulthood but coming into ones self. I read Jane Eyre years ago and that was a book I loved – and while I never read The Man with the Iron Mask I did watch the movie and this I think was part of the challenge of why I felt something was missing. Watching Jane Eyre fall in love was both heartbreaking and touching – watching Jane Eliot fall in love well I kind of missed it as in I am not sure why she loved him.

Ok so for the purposes of this review I am going to push these two classics aside and try to just focus on the story. The things I loved was the world building – Connolly did an awesome job creating this alterative universe where humans depended on the fae for the technology and how that dependence came back to bite them with vengeance – never trust the Fae! I also loved the writing or they style of writing. I think when I go on to the next book I may switch to an audiobook as I loved the choice of words and flow of her writing if that makes sense. I also really liked that beauty was a theme – there is also a mystery around women, who enter Rochert’s closed studio and why was Dorie (the young child) so taken with pretty ladies – is this a sign of the Fae?  Finally I liked the characters Jane is a bit of a cold fish but she has this inner fire which made her a complex and interesting heroine. I also liked the side characters like crazy Dorie and Poe.


Some of the challenges of this story was the actual pacing and plot twists, often it felt unfinished ad awkward. For example we get flashbacks but these flashbacks are not all that different instead it is a retelling of the same event with deeper meaning each time written in different ways – which for me makes they story drag. I did not feel like I gained any additional insight. Then there were other parts when I desperately wanted to know more and I think many of those sections could have had more detail. My final grip is really a comparison between this book and Jane Eyre – in Jane Eyre there is this kind of twisted magic between Jane and Mr. Rochester  but in this version it fell short I never understood why Jane and Mr. Rochart were even attracted to each other.



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review 2014-02-03 03:03
Fairies are Bad, Jane Eyre, uhm, Eliot
Ironskin - Tina Connolly

Ironskin by Tina Connolly is a retelling of Jane Eyre set in an alternative universe where a war was waged against the Fey in which Jane was injured.  To hold in the curse that is part of the non-healing injury, she wears an iron mask, hence the title.  


Rather than continue to explain the story and risk spoilers (I hate spoilers), let me sum up... as a YA retelling of Jane Eyre, this worked for me.  Some small bits were too directly taken from Charlotte Bronte's work for my taste, but overall I enjoyed the new twists that were given.  Except the gross parts, I could have done without them, though they are over quickly and work well with the Fey aspects of the book.  The quality of writing and continuity of the story were very good for a first book and done well enough that I am adding the second book, Copperhead, to my to-read list.


Part of the reason I chose to read this book was that it was supposedly Steampunk.  It is not, in my opinion, Steampunk.  To me the feel of the book changed back and forth between being victorian-esque (gas lights, etc) and very post-war 40's (descriptions of clothing, the t-strap shoes, etc).  But this is an alternate universe, and no era specifically stated by the author, and though I enjoyed the book, I don't intend to reread it in order to straighten out the question of the era.

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review 2013-11-24 20:50
Ironskin by Tina Connolly {5 Stars}
Ironskin - Tina Connolly

Ironskin by Tina Connolly is a Nebula-nominated retelling of Jane Eyre set in an alternate history where a war against the fey has just come to an end and the technology that depends on fey power is slowly sputtering away. Seriously, you read that right: steampunk Jane Eyre with creepy fey. I was a little bit skeptical if Ironskin could live up to that awesome description but it did not disappoint! I wasn’t a huge Jane Eyre fan when I read it in high school, but Ironskin has made me love Jane Eyre more and kind of want to go reread it….

Note: I borrowed Ironskin from my library because my library is awesome.


Ironskin by Tina Connolly (Ironskin #1)
Published by Tor Books on Oct. 2nd, 2012
Genres: Dark FantasyFairytale Retelling,Steampunk 
Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog 

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 own 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 is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again. 



  • Let’s just start with Jane Eyre! Yes yes, we’re all forced to read it in high school, but if you take a step back, it’s a pretty awesome story. Ironskin captures the elements of Jane Eyre that I think high school teachers try to get across, and I actually feel like I understand Jane Eyre a bit better after reading Ironskin. Also, I freaking love Jane Eliot, she’s embodies the things I love about Jane Eyre (spunky, tough, working within a difficult situation and making the best of it, no-nonsense) and adds her own strength due to the fey war. She is a warrior! One of my favorite quotes from Ironskin is from Jane on this topic:

“A defeated warrior is not a victim.”

  • The alternative historical setting was so fascinating! There were all sorts of excellent touches such as different names for Shakespeare’s plays because of the tragedy the fey caused. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is A Midsummer Night’s Tragedy, which kind of conveys how people feel about the fey pretty well.
  • The creepy elements of Ironskin pulled me in immediately. There is a just right amount of creepy that I can handle. Too much and I go to sleep with nightmares, but Ironskin made me just want to keep reading to try to understand what was going on!
  • I am a strong believer that fey should be creepy. I’m not generally a fan of this trend of sexy and nice fey, and Ironskin really gets back to those creepy roots. It’s creepy when a being can seduce and manipulate you but doesn’t consider your life important beyond how entertaining you can be!
  • Especially towards the end of Ironskin, there were a couple moments where I just stared at the page and thought “OMG did that just happen??? No way did that actually happen, I must have read it wrong… OMG it did just happen!!!!” I like those moments >.>
  • Rochester is called Rochart and Ironskin has the same romantic storyline that Jane Eyre has, which I very much enjoyed. Their interest in each other is subtle because it has to be due to class differences, but then everything comes together at the end when craziness happens!


  •  There are a number of times when the dialogue doesn’t have character names attached to it and I get so confused. I don’t like needing to go back and try to trace through who said what.
  • The ending of Ironskin departs from Jane Eyre quite a bit and it disappointed me since I can see how Ironskin could have continued with the Jane Eyre retelling but just didn’t.
  • There are dwarves in Ironskin and they play a fairly important role, but I was kind of meh about them. It seemed an unnecessary addition. Now if there were dragons that appeared…. ;-)


When Ironskin was nominated for the Nebula last year, I thought the cover was gorgeous but said meh to the Jane Eyre retelling. I was so wrong! Ironskin does an amazing job at breathing fresh air into a classic story with some crazy awesome additions in the fey. Also that gorgeous cover, totally an accurate depiction of Jane down to the shoes! I’m so happy that Copperhead appeared in my mailbox, causing me to decide to finally read this series. Seriously, read this book.


5 Stars
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text 2013-10-29 14:40
Ironskin by Tina Connolly
Ironskin - Tina Connolly

I may have to swear off Jane Eyre-inspired books for a while.  I'm certainly not capable of reviewing this one at this point.  I recognized and appreciated the originality, and the quality of the writing, but at the end I felt a big "meh."  Possibly I wasn't in the mood for it, and may revisit at another time.  If I have more coherent thoughts after a re-read, I may review it, but the overall feeling I had was that sometimes it's better not to mess around with a classic.

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review 2013-08-14 00:00
Ironskin - Tina Connolly Posted on Dark Faerie Tales.“Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.” Ironskin by Tina Connolly captivated me just by those few words. Steampunk, the world of fae, told with hints of a couple classics. I couldn’t wait to dive in to this one. There are many elements that drew me in, but the main fact that essentially Jane Eyre wears an iron mask? Definitely count me in.Jane Eliot is living post-war. The Great War affected everyone dearly. The faeries came with their magic, taking souls, ruining lives, and terrorizing the masses. But it has been five years since anyone has seen the fae. As a constant reminder of the war, Jane wears an iron mask, covering half of her face. Like it was in historical times, beauty and social stature is everything. Because of Jane’s physical shortcomings, she has sought out a life as a governess, which brings her to the Rocherts. Edward Rochert seeks a governess for his daughter, Dorie; not just for regular schoolings, but primarily to control something special that only Jane would understand. I was excited when I first picked this up. It isn’t every day that I come across a historical steampunk with elements from two classics: Jane Eyre and The Man in the Iron Mask. It’s often difficult to please the masses when it comes to comparisons, so I’ll leave that out of this review. What I will talk about is the actual plot and content. Some I liked, some not so much, and others it just was not for me. I appreciated how Jane was written. She, in every sense of the word, is a survivor. She survived the war and is still surviving society. It isn’t easy to write a heroine with a flaw. While many authors do so, I always think that it’s difficult to find that fine line of adoration while respecting the realistic humanity that they have. For Jane, I connected with her personality. She was tenacious and smart. I didn’t always agree with her approach. Maybe it was the events that led up to these moments, but there were a handful of times that I disconnected with her. The supporting cast was eclectic, as is a majority of this book. I feel that the character traits, abilities, even the personalities are going to be something that not everyone understands. The characters added to the effect of the post-war world that Connolly built. Without them, I wouldn’t have understood exactly how dire things were. Well, maybe not dire, but you get what I mean. Connolly’s world was gothic, building on dark imagery and horrifying scenes. But it was clear to me that Connolly’s world in Ironskin was her own. Sure, she may have used elements of Jane Eyre or even Iron Mask, but this story is still hers. I may not have fully understood each aspect, but I respected where she was going. I appreciated it enough to enjoy it for what it was: fiction written by an author. Ironskin’s plot was unique. Connolly showcased society at its best and at its worst. She also used this parallel towards the beauty of fae and the ugliness of their evil. It was entertaining at a simple glance, before I began to dissect it.I urge you to read Ironskin for its unique ability to bring elements of classics and turn them into its own.
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