All tagged Fantasy

Review: Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Ironsking by Tina Connelly | A Review on

At times I lazily select a book based on its title or cover with no specific expectation beyond a momentary “um, this looks interesting” thought. My reading of Tina Connolly’s Ironskin was one of these.

I simply thought,

“Heh… interesting title.”

I hadn’t read too far into the book before thinking it had a Jane Eyre quality to it. Admittedly, it’s been many, many years since I’ve read the classic Bronte novel, but there’s a distinct air, no pun intended, to the ambience of the book. So, I called Sarah and mentioned this very-astute observation, and then she informed me that Ironskin is indeed a steampunk retelling of the classic gothic tale.

Unfortunately, while I enjoyed reading Ironskin, I found the retelling a veneer that I discarded as superfluous and the steampunk elements rather pretentious and under-developed.

Like in the source material, Jane comes to work as a governess at a once-elegant house fallen into disrepair; there’s a strangely haunted and despairing man; an odd child; and they’re all waiting to reveal secrets that lie within, both literally and figuratively. 

Ironskin delves into the masks individuals wear to hide from themselves and others. Hiding from reality behind an iron mask to shield her from the power of the fey against whom humans suffered a devastating loss from in a recent war becomes a door to open and release truth and power. Jane’s mask, she comes to realize, is not unlike less obvious ones worn by others. Masks become a motif woven throughout the pages of the novel.

“Perhaps there are more masks like that than we think. A mask you cannot look through…your eyes sealed shut.”

Fey lived in comfortable compatibility with humans furnishing them with technology to power the machinery of their lives. Blue packs flitted from the forest, home of the Fey, into the hands and lives of humans who did not realize that there is a price for everything.

“The forest had a foothold it would not relinquish.”

List-O-Rama: 8 Reading Confessions

We try to maintain the guise here on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves that we’re Extremely Intelligent Individuals. But, I’ve got a few confessions that will blow that image right out of the water.   

Clear Eyes, Full Shelves: 8 Reading Confessons - I didn't finish the Harry Potter series.

#1 I didn’t finish reading the Harry Potter series.

Renegade almost threw her pie in my face when I off-handedly mentioned this to her awhile back. There’s no particular reason for this, except that was an actual adult when this series came out and I started reading and then got busy with life and didn’t finish. I think I left off around book five. I should probably finish reading them, but I’ve seen the movies, so (assuming the storyline follows the books) I kind of know how everything shakes out. 

Clear Eyes, Full Shelves: 8 Reading Confessions - I never read Lord of the Rings

#2 I’ve never read Lord of the Rings.

(Or any of the associated books.) Nor have I seen the movies. I’ve never had any interest. I think I read a couple of pages of The Hobbit when I was around 13 and was all, “What the hell is a hobbit?”

Clear Eyes, Full Shelves: 8 Reading Confessions - I don't read fantasy, even Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

#3 Related: I actively avoid reading fantasy.

I adore urban fantasy. However, straight-up fantasy just doesn’t work for me. Once swords, castles and the like come into play, I lose interest. This extends even to some of my favorite authors. I made a valiant effort to read Melina Marchetta’s fantasy series, and I think I only made it through a chapter. I am currently fretting over the fact that the Daughter of Smoke and Bone sequel sounds a lot like a fantasy novel, instead of the very cool urban fantasy of the first book. I will be inconsolable if this is the case. 


I’ve recently come to the realization that I want to read stand-alone novels or series limited to 10 or so books that have definitive resolutions.

I’m tired of series that refuse to end and tired of authors recycling the same material repeatedly. Sometimes the material gets packaged into a new saga, but it’s still an extension of the same series.

It. Just. Won’t. End.

The only way these series will “end” is if/when:

A.) I die, or

B.) the author dies.

Neither of these options appeal to me.