Reading Level: Adult
Size: 304 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Ironskin series
Source: eGalley through NetGalley.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got an eGalley of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. I am shamelessly going to admit I was absolutely drawn to the beautiful cover; the haunting synopsis sealed the deal. The first two thirds of this book is decent but nothing special, but the last third was awesome.
Jane is an Ironskin, scarred from the Fey War five years past, she is forced to wear an iron mask over half her face to protect others from the fey curse that resides in her skin. She has few prospects and when a job comes up for a governess for a notoriously difficult child she is desperate for the work. But the child, Dorie, is unlike anything she has ever known and the child’s father, Edward, is an artist with many dark secrets.
I read somewhere that this is supposed to be loosely based on Jane Eyre. I am ashamed to admit I have never read Jane Eyre (bows head in shame) so I can’t really speak to that.
The book has an interesting setting. This book is set following a devastating Fey War apparently some time in humanity’s future. Jane stumbles upon remnants of previous modern day technology here and there. The tone is very Victorian with some steampunk thrown in for good measure.
Jane herself is one of those wonderfully strong characters; she is polite and tries to be proper but is tougher than even she knows. Watching her struggle with Dorie, a child obsessed with using her fey abilities instead of human ones, was fascinating. At times it was reminiscent of what Helen Keller’s teacher must have gone through. The relationship that Jane and Dorie form is unique and engrossing.
Edward is also a fascinating character. He’s got that whole darkly damaged yet sensitive man thing going on. He seems to be cold and damaged one moment, and then he is loving on his little girl like she’s his whole world. It makes him a great character and a mysterious one. The chemistry between him and Jane isn’t sizzling, but it is interesting and seems to build slowly throughout the book. There isn’t a ton of romance in this story but there is a little.
The above being said the first two thirds of the book move slowly. Jane is going about her daily work and slowly trying to unweave the mysteries of the strange household she’s become part of. The last third of the book is amazing; once she finds out the truth things really become engaging and I couldn’t put the book down. Jane finds a way to use her fey curse and confronts the danger in front of her without flinching. The first part of this book was 3 stars for me, the last part was 5 stars.
Overall a wonderful read. The background behind Jane’s world is creative and mysterious. The characters are incredibly well done and I loved how the Fey were portrayed. The book starts slow and builds mystery; the climax of the story is amazing and I immediately wanted to know what would happen next to Jane, Dorie, and Edward. If you are a fan of Victorian fantasy I highly recommend this book. I can’t wait to see what the next book in the series brings.