This fantastic story follows Jane, a fey-attack victim who was cursed with rage, as she takes a new job at an isolated mansion near a dark forest. She is in charge of Dorie, a little girl who she thought would be like herself, wounded by fey magic during the war between fey and humans, but Dorie is different. Dorie seems to be almost half-fey/half-human, possessing abilities that only the fey have exhibited before. And then there is the girl's father, the dark and handsome Edward Rochart, who spends most of his time in his studio or away in the city. His clients are wealthy women who come into his studio looking one way but leave looking...otherworldly. Utterly beautiful. As Jane is sucked into the mystery, she slowly begins to unravel the secrets wrapped around the inhabitants of the lonely house on the edge of the woods.
Ironskin has a neat steampunk, gothic sort of style to it. It's sort of creepy and dark, and some of the scenes are rather macabre; it actually reminded of the old-school kind of fairy tale where happy endings usually come after a lot of blood and heartache, if they ever come at all. But Ironskin is creepy in a good way, in a way that makes you want to read what's going to happen next! I like the slightly sinister tone of some of the scenes, especially those taking place at the mansion.
The characters are wonderful, and I particularly like odd little Dorie and her whirlwind personality. She is strange and wonderful. Edward is a very different sort of male lead. I think he's unique and tortured, and I like that he's not really the hero; in a way, he is actually more of a victim than anything else. Jane is the hero, and that totally rules. She's kind, considerate, stubborn, and afflicted with rage; all in all, she is the perfect protagonist for this captivating story. The magic set-up and the curses were really neat; I can't remember ever having read about fey inflicting curses through wounds before. Also, I like that the fey are basically energy or spirits; I think it's a unique approach to fey.
I ordered Ironskin for our library, and I've been recommending it to patrons who like YA lit and patrons who like fairy tales and fantasies. It's gone out a couple times so far, and I've only heard positive comments about it from the patrons who have read it. I think that this is a book that is going to be well-loved in our library!
Thank you to NetGalley.com and Tor/Forge for letting me read this awesome galley!