November 1, 2012

TLC Book Tour: Ironskin (& a giveaway!)

Ironskin was a refreshing break from all the kids' books I've read lately. But, I have to say, I'm still not quite sure if I liked it or not. It was inventive, and kept me turning the pages, but I also didn't like how much was left unexplained, and the Jane Eyre references were rather heavy-handed.

Set just after the "Great War" (which for a good while I thought was WW1, before realizing it was a fictional human-fey war), Ironskin tells the story of Jane Eliot. Jane is an "ironskin" - who was cursed by a fey. Her face is scarred with rage, which will spill out, enraging anyone she comes into contact with, unless she keeps the rage in by covering her face with an iron mask.

Needless to say, Jane has had trouble getting work, until she meets the handsome, elusive Mr. Edward Rochart, who lives in a secluded manor house with his young daughter, Dorie. Dorie's mother is dead - her body was taken over by a fey while she was still pregnant with Dorie. As a result, Dorie is able to manipulate objects with her mind, and refuses to touch objects with her hands. Rochart wants a governess to teach Dorie to use her hands, and to keep her from displaying her fey-like tendencies. (In the wake of the Great War, fey paranoia has taken over, and Rochart is trying to protect Dorie).

Unsurprisingly, the lonely Jane begins to have feelings for her artist employer. Until she becomes suspicious about the "art" that Rochart practices - art that requires ugly women to enter his studio, and leave, fey-beautiful.

I loved the initial set up of  Ironskin . I was excited to find out exactly who/what the fey were, and I really liked the creativity of the fey technology (blue-packs) which were just being replaced in the wake of the Great War by coal and other primitive human technologies. The setting was very vivid too - and was recognizably turn-of-the-century England, although it never said that in so many words. And although Jane was a little too myopic for my taste, I really liked a couple of the side characters - particularly the butler and cook.

But, I was frustrated by the unexplained. Ironically I can't really explain that to you, without spoiling the end of the book, but let's just say that I have a feeling this may turn out to be a series, or at least a trilogy. And, I felt like Tina Connolly went a wee bit overboard with the Jane Eyre references. Oh well. At least it wasn't Jane Feyre.

If you like original, creative fantasy fiction though, you'll probably love Ironskin. Which is good - because one of you can win a copy! TLC Book Tours is providing one of you with a copy. US or Canada only. To enter to win, leave a topic-related comment on this post. Giveaway closes midnight 11/4. 

UPDATE 11/7 : Winner is commenter #3, Jeanne, who groans at my puns.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Should I recommend this to my grandma? Sure! Especially if she likes magic.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you clink on a title, and buy something on Amazon, I'll earn a few cents.
P.S. I'm taking a box-packing/recuperating-from-31-days break this weekend! I'll see you on Sunday or Monday. In the meantime, enjoy reading about my life as a bookworm or my favorite books.
P.P.S. Updating the post to say that TLC Book Tours sent me an advance reader copy of Ironskin. I forgot to mention that. But I wasn't paid or perked for my opinion!