The Writer's View - Ironskin by Tina C

From 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.

The Writer's View

This was an interesting read. I liked the premise and the worldbuilding, but there were some aspects of the story I didn't enjoy as much. I think perhaps I was not the right audience for this book. I understand it's an adaptation of Jane Eyre, which I have not read. Maybe if I was an Austen fan this book would have struck a different note with me.

Divergent Technology

This was, hands down, my favorite aspect of this book. The author created a completely different technology based on fey powers. In this world, cars, lights, cinema shows, etc., are all run with fey "blue packs" -- paranormal energy supplies. I could really see this concept taking off the way Steampunk did a few years ago. The story takes place after a ravaging war with the fey, and we are introduced to a world dramatically changed by both the war and the techology introduced through fey trade. Really awesome stuff. I would love to read a book that takes place during the war, to see more blue packs and fey battles in action.

Awkward scaffolding for tender relationships

1) True love with minimal interaction

What really intrigued me about the premise was the adult love story. I was interested to see how the romance would play out between a widower, his goveness, and how the widower's daughter would play into the relationship. Unfortnately, the romance came across as very YA and angsty; Jane spends an inordinate amount of time convincing herself that she is unworthy and beneath Edward because she is scarred. Edward and Jane also have very little interaction with each other. When the moment came where Jane realizes she's in love with Edward, I was a bit dumbfounded. It went from crush to love with only a few conversations and a few shared touches. For me, the connection was missing -- there was no scaffolding for their deep love for one another. So my main motivation for reading the book didn't really play out in a manner that was satisfying to me.

2) Paranormal electroshock therapy

Have you guys ever heard of electroshock treatment to "cure" children / teens who are gay? The essential gist is that pain from an electrical current is used to destroy the "negative" and "unwanted" characteristics in a child. I find this all rather disturbing and sad.

Something similiar takes place in this novel, and I found it equally disturbing. Jane is hired on as a goveness for Dorie, a little girl's whose mother was possessed by a fey while still pregnant. As a result, Dorie has some fey powers. She can move things with her mind and make "dancing" light shows. Jane's task is to find a way to break Dorie and to make her "normal".

Jane is obsessed with making Dorie "normal," an obsession that ties back to Jane's own battle-scarred face. Jane spends much of the novel lamenting her lack of normalcy and views it as a disability.

Jane does eventually succeed in making Dorie normal through a paranormal technique that left Dorie very listless, semi-ill, and depressed. It was all so twisted that I didn't much enjoy reading it. And somehow through this torture, Dorie comes to be fond of Jane, which didn't make much sense to me either. Again, the connection was missing for me. There was no scaffolding for Dorie's affection after she'd been so mistreated.

Even though I did not like everything about this book, the overall story was intriguing and I enjoyed it. I'd be interested to hear from others who have read this book who are also familiar with Jane Eyre.