Reading Level: Adult
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Ironskin series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
This is the second book in the Ironskin series by Connolly. There is an as yet untitled third book planned in this series which is scheduled for a fall 2014 release. This book was okay, I enjoy the world created here but did not enjoy the heroine.
The Fey are slowly taking over the city and a secret society called Copperhead is becoming more and more prominent. Helen (Jane’s sister) is deep in the middle of it all. Helen is one of The Hundred, the group of women who had their normal faces removed and replaced with Fey faces to become more beautiful. Her husband Alistair is one of the main members in Copperhead. When Jane contacts Helen in help returning women’s real faces back to them Helen is eager to help, especially since it sounds the the Fey are finally making a move to take over the city and it seems like they may try and use The Hundred to do so.
This was a decent book continuing the Ironskin story about Fey taking over the city. This book is from Jane’s sister’s (Helen’s) point of view. It was a well done story and dealt with some interesting issues. But, unfortunately I just thought it was a bit boring. I didn’t find Helen to be all that engaging of a character, and though I admire how she changed throughout the story, I just wasn’t all that engaged with the story.
Helen is very into being beautiful and very selfish. She comes off as flighty and a bit self-centered. Even when she is trying to help she is mainly doing it to make herself look good, not because she really strongly believes something is right. This changes some as the book continues and she starts to take on some responsibility. I really didn’t enjoy her as a character at all and I was disappointed that Jane was in the story so little.
A main issue raised in this book is that of women being forced to comply to their husbands’ wishes. Many of The Hundred were forced into having their faces improved by their husbands. Some went through the face change to escape abusive husbands, or to win wealthy husbands. Much of this book talks about this and is focused on the theme of how women have to empower themselves if they want to escape from the tyranny of a patriarchal society. At times I felt like it got a bit preachy.
Another major issue is the prosecution of the dwarven people. Copperhead is a “humans only” society and they don’t care that the dwarven are also enemies of the Fey; they just prosecute all non-humans equally. Again, it gets a bit preachy about the importance of equality.
I do love this world that is threatened by Fey infestation. I love how the woman have to wear iron masks to protect themselves from Fey takeover. The secret society of Copperhead was also very well done.
There is a bit of romance here between Helen and a half-dwarven man named Rook. To be honest this romance felt-forced and was awkward. For one Helen is married, secondly Rook always seems more interested in inciting rebellion than anything else. They are more partners in a similar cause and then, bam, suddenly they are in love…it was weird.
The book ties up nicely and is very easy to read. There really isn’t anything left to resolve at the end of this book, so I am very curious to see what the third book will be about.
Overall there are some neat ideas in here and I enjoyed the world-building. I didn’t like Helen as a main character and missed Jane. The plot was interesting, but at times with all the social issues being addressed this got a bit boring and preachy. When I was finished I kind of just thought “Eh, well okay that’s over with”. I liked Ironskin a lot better than this book, but if you read Ironskin and enjoyed it I would recommend reading this book to see how the open issues in Ironskin are tied up.