Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review: Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads):  Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

And here's what I thought:  I thought this book was an interesting twist on the Jane Eyre story.   There was some good character building, and some twists and turns.  I had mixed feelings about the main character, Jane; I think I found her more interesting than I actually found her likeable.  Also, the romance between Jane and Edward felt somewhat forced.  Their feelings don't seem to develop gradually, and there's almost a wooden quality to their interactions.

What I did like about this book was the concept of the fey curses, and how iron held the curses in place.  Here's an example (p. 100):  "She knew that the gruffness, the dismissal, was only his manner.  A side effect, perhaps, of the howling depression he'd once confessed to her was his curse.  The outline of his shirt caught on the iron underneath, the tough cotton snagging on the metal ridges, the hang of the leather jacket deformed by the iron chest that squeezed him like a vise, as if a tighter cinching could drive out the poison."    As the story progresses, it starts to seem like perhaps the iron isn't always a good thing to have in constant contact, and for some people, it may, in fact, be poisoning them.  The whole storyline about the Great War, and the repercussions was something I wish had been a bit more developed, but I thought it was intriguing.  

I'd give this book an E for effort, and I liked it enough that I'll read the next book in the series.

First lines:   The moor was grey, battlefield grey.  It had been five years since the last fey was seen, but out here Jane could almost imagine the Great War still raged on.  Grey mist drifted through the blackened trees, recalling the smoke from the crematory kilns.  That was a constant smell in the last months of the war.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review --- Fuse by Julianna Baggott

Summary (courtesy of Goodreads):    When the world ended, those who dwelled within the Dome were safe. Inside their glass world the Pures live on unscarred, while those outside—the Wretches—struggle to survive amidst the smoke and ash.

Believing his mother was living among the Wretches, Partridge escaped from the Dome to find her. Determined to regain control over his son, Willux, the leader of the Pures, unleashes a violent new attack on the Wretches. It’s up to Pressia Belze, a young woman with her own mysterious past, to decode a set of cryptic clues from the past to set the Wretches free. 

An epic quest that sweeps readers into a world of beautiful brutality, Fusecontinues the story of two people fighting to save their futures—and change the fate of the world

And here's what I thought:   This is the sequel to Pure, which I had read a while back, and which I just re-read (in anticipation for a book group meeting which, as it turned out, I couldn't go to after all).    I was glad that I had just re-read Pure, because I was able to dive right into Fuse without losing where the storyline had ended.  

Part of what I like about this book is that the author continues the smooth prose that she had in the first book.  There are varied characters, all of them interesting, and while there is a main storyline, there are some storylines that branch out from it.   There's tension, and a steady pace, so I found that I was turning the pages  pretty quickly, and I was absorbed into the story.   I found all of the characters compelling, and so I wanted to know what was going to happen to them.

Another thing I like about the author's writing is that she isn't one to shy away from ugliness.  What I mean is, in this world that she has created, there are ugly things --- and as a reader, you face them head-one.  Like one of the characters, you accept that they are there, and part of the world, and without them, there wouldn't be much of an interesting world, at all.   The post-apocalyptic elements in this world are part of what drive the story, but they aren't the entire story.

All in all, the book didn't disappoint.  The only tricky thing now is that I'll have to wait for the third book (and probably will re-read this one before, so I can find my place again).

First lines:   Lying on a thin coat of snow, she sees gray earth meeting gray sky, and she knows she's back.  The horizon looks clawed, but the claw marks are only three stunted trees.  They stand in a row like they're stapling the ground to the sky.

Challenge accepted!  This book weighs in at 463 pages, so qualifies for the Chunkster Challenge I signed up for!

Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison