October 13, 2012 § 6 Comments
by: Tina Connolly
Published October 2nd 2012 by Tor Books
series: Ironskin #1
Set in a alternate-history Britain, Jane Eliot, the MC, wears an iron mask over half of her face to protect others from the curse she holds there. In the last fey war she had been hit with shrapnel from exploding fey magic, like many others, but unfortunately her injury is much more visible which causes her some social awkwardness and makes it difficult for her to find and keep a job. Jane finally finds employment with the mysterious and reclusive Edward Rochart caring for his daughter Dorie who seems to have fey magic in abundance, which is frowned upon in society. She needs to help Dorie learn how to do simple things like eat, drink, and play without using that magic. At the same time, she seems to be drawn to the secretive Edward.
Apparently Ironskin is based on Jane Eyre, which I haven’t read, so I don’t know how it compares but from the very beginning, Ironskin had my attention with the unique way fey magic was presented. The fact that Jane carried this curse on her face that, without the iron mask, would seriously affect those she came into contact with was fascinating to me. That magic also affected her moods and she had to consciously try to tamp down the emotions stirred up by the fey curse.
The way Dorie used magic was interesting as well. This small child had never learned to properly use her hands to care for herself, using magic instead. I felt so sorry for her at times, she seemed so lonely and desperate for her father’s love and attention. Edward, however, remains distant and locked away in his room of masks.
While the unique way magic and the fey were presented was what I enjoyed most about Ironskin, the alternate history and straightforward writing style also worked for me. The relationships between the characters were very subtle and at times puzzling. The slight romance between Jane and Edward felt a bit stilted but I enjoyed the way Jane interacted with Dorie, as well as the rest of the background characters. The dialog felt authentic and I enjoyed the whole gothic feel to the story as a whole. I would definitely recommend it to fans of gothic romance, alternate history fantasy, and steampunk.
Rating 4 of 5
August 28, 2012 § 2 Comments
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Chelsea Knot is the best friend of the most popular girl at school and is known for her ability to ferret out, and expose, the good gossip. When she spills a secret that has violent repercussions, Chelsea makes a decision to do the right thing even if it means losing that all-important popularity. Suddenly, she’s on the outside and getting back all that she’s dished out in the past and then some. An article she reads in the National Geographic inspires her to take a vow of silence since talking without thinking has gotten her into this mess.
The beginning of Speechless was very slow and angst filled. The characters were all largely unlikable, a bunch of selfish, shallow teens with entitlement issues. I couldn’t stand Chelsea and didn’t feel particularly sorry for the position she found herself in. I even thought about marking this DNF and moving on to something else. I’m really glad that I didn’t though, because as the story progressed, it slowly became more than it first appeared.
The vow of silence she took seemed to be for selfish attention seeking reasons initially, but the unforeseen result of not speaking allows her to really examine the person that she is as well as the people and things she had surrounded herself with. Her silence also caused her to listen more fully to what people where saying and to consider their words instead of simply replying. Through her vow, she learns about friendship, accountability, loyalty, and the power of words. Her character grows very slowly throughout the story as she acknowledges some hard truths about herself and attempts to become worthy of the new friends she’s made and, of course, the boy. There’s always a boy… 🙂
No flowery prose or layers of meaning, the writing was as simple and straightforward as the story itself and felt authentic and perceptive. I enjoyed Speechless much more than I thought I would after reading the first couple chapters and encourage anyone who chooses to read this to push through that initial reaction to these characters because the book does get much much better.