Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.

Book Review – Ironskin by Tina Connolly

The cover is beautiful, the formating of the hardback version is beautiful, the concept is beautiful. A reinterpretation of Jane Eyre combined with steampunk elements and a dose of fairytales. As a certain song from a nun-turned-governess goes, these are a few of my favorite things.

It is easier to enjoy the story if you aren’t familiar with Jane Eyre, if you don’t keep making the comparisons in your mind. I would have enjoyed the story more if it was one step further removed from the direct interpretation. The main character is named Jane Eliot, which is jarring to me each time I read it.

The book is well written, and the ideas surrounding the fey curse, people who wear ironskin, and steampunk technology stemming from the fey are compelling and innovative. These were the most enjoyable parts of the story for me. I just wish the plot had been as original as the setting was.

The plot of the story revolves around Jane working as a governess for the young girl Dorie, who has fey powers as a result of complications before her birth. There are the typical back-and-forth power struggles between the governess and her young ward. The awkwardness comes from the forced romance between Jane and Dorie’s father, Edward. As the only likely pairing in the house inhabited by five people, there is little chemistry present to give credence to the romance. I wish the seeds of the budding romance had been planted with more care.

The most disappointing part of the book is the ending. At 302 pages in hardback, not a format I read much of anymore, it is not a short book. It is not a terribly long book, but I did invest enough time that I would have liked a more satisfying ending. The images of the final pages are operating-table cold and clinical. Trying to conjure hope and romance in that setting did not work for me. There was no reason to resolve the story there. One more scene to conclude the story with a prettier package would have left the reader more satisfied than the experience I had.

If I was forced to rate this book, it would be a 3 out of 5.


This entry was posted on January 20, 2013 by in Book Review and tagged , , .

Posting Schedule for 2014-15

Monday through Friday I will be posting about writing as business and craft, the science of creativity, all things steampunk, and progress on The Dreamless City.

Weekends are reserved for my Music Playlist.

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About the Author

Tracy Cembor attempts to juggle a preschooler and a baby, a full-time job, random geekery, and the writing life. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a steampunk urban fantasy novel. Come join the adventure.
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