Something clever I'll change later

I like fantasy. The end.
Ironskin - Tina Connolly As seen on Stumptown Books.

I wanted to like this. Really, seriously, I wanted to. I know the combination of fairies + steampunk + young adult is not something I ever thought I would seek out, as I usually try to avoid all three of those like the plague, except for picking up the occasional young adult fantasy. But I really thought it held some promise.

It is essentially a retelling of Jane Eyre, but lacking everything that made the original great. For example, the setting: I have a distinct love for the moors and any story that is set on them instantly gets points, so when I heard about Ironskin I couldn't help but be interested. For some reason though, the setting is completely absent. Sure, you know you're in the city, but what does the city look like? What is the country like? We never get to see, in preference of talking about dresses and hairstyles. Don't get me wrong, I know this is a book for girls (no two ways about that), and I like fancy dresses as much as anyone, but nothing else ever felt alive. Jane Eliot, the main character, runs around a country manor and flits back and forth from the city, but I never once felt I could picture anything except what was directly in front of her. The world simply isn't fleshed out. On top of that, the country is coming out of a war with the fairies, with no sign of what year the story is actually supposed to take place. It's a fantasy England, of course, but they had fairy powered cars and light bulbs, so it's not exactly the same time period as Jane Eyre. So then the dresses I was trying to picture also faded into obscurity because I wasn't sure which decade's, or even what century's, fashions I should be attributing to the ladies.

Honestly I felt the association with Jane Eyre was a mistake. If a few changes had been made to the story, it could have been more original and I wouldn't be trying to make comparisons to another, much more provocative, love story. The love story in this was, unfortunately, snore worthy. I never felt at all compelled to like the brooding mansion owner, Mr. Edward Rochart.

Many of the plot twists are visible from a mile away, making little in the way of suspense. This also includes characters being stupid to further the plot. So the maids say you must never ever do this thing? Well that seals it, I simply HAVE TO!

Every once in a while I found myself actually getting into the story. I would always be surprised but happy, and think okay! I'm getting into this, let's go! Only to have another tirade on beauty, or another wooden scene with Mr. Rochart. Then the end was a HUGE disappointment. It made the rest of the novel suddenly appear in a different light - and it was a bad one. The entire thing became a frivolous exercise of self-indulgence.

Loved the idea, but this just didn't work for me. This is also Ms. Connolly's first book and series, which is hard to do! I hope she continues to come up with ideas like this, and I will definitely give another chance to a new series in the future.

ARC provided by Tor/Forge by way of NetGalley

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