Ironskin, Book 2
Synopsis: The sequel to Tina Connolly’s stunning historical fantasy debut.
Helen Huntingdon is beautiful—so beautiful she has to wear an iron mask. Six months ago her sister Jane uncovered a fey plot to take over the city. Too late for Helen, who opted for fey beauty in her face—and now has to cover her face with iron so she won’t be taken over, her personality erased by the bodiless fey.
Not that Helen would mind that some days. Stuck in a marriage with the wealthy and controlling Alistair, she lives at the edges of her life, secretly helping Jane remove the dangerous fey beauty from the wealthy society women who paid for it. But when the chancy procedure turns deadly, Jane goes missing—and is implicated in the murder.
Meanwhile, Alistair’s influential clique Copperhead—whose emblem is the poisonous copperhead hydra—is out to restore humans to their “rightful” place, even to the point of destroying the dwarvven who have always been allies.
Helen is determined to find her missing sister, as well as continue the good fight against the fey. But when that pits her against her own husband—and when she meets an enigmatic young revolutionary—she’s pushed to discover how far she’ll bend society’s rules to do what’s right. It may be more than her beauty at stake. It may be her honor…and her heart.
Review: I saw the first volume for its release on several blogs and I must say that I was immediately intrigued. Do you see the gorgeous covers used? Even without reading the synopsis, I wanted to throw myself in the novel to discover how it really was. Okay I admit it, I have not read the first book, but I was curious to read this second novel, even though I was a little anxious to get lost in a story of this type. Finally even if I think it should have been interesting to know all the facts, particularly in relation to Jane, I didn’t really have any problems with my reading.
Helen has a fey beauty that allows her to have some importance in the eyes of others, to have an extraordinary beauty and so change her life which was tasteless. Yet she still feels useless, and even if people notices her now, she is still dependent on others as she needs to hide and to avoid the fey so they couldn’t find her and erase her completely. But her life will change completely when she decides to help her sister who tries to convince all the women like her to carry out a procedure so that each can recover their old faces and live normally. All these women have different reasons for their change, some more important than others and seem unwilling to accept this proposal. Still others dream to come back as they were before, fearing of being kidnapped. Plus, having to hide behind a mask of iron in all circumstances wasn’t something they wanted. But when Helen decides to help her sister to convince all the women like her, her support will completely change this quest. A mission that will enable her to understand that she isn’t helpless and when it’s something dear to her heart, she is able to go through everything. She will realize that the world is more complex than she thought and despite the lack of love from her husband, she is worth more than her life. And when Jane disappears, accused of murder and to have an alliance with the fey, Helen is determined to understand what is happening and to clear her sister innocent.
I took great pleasure in discovering novel. Tina Connolly had a lot of ideas that I did not expect at all. Her world is very original and it’s true that it was very interesting to discover the subtleties in it. Indeed, the story takes place centuries ago, but this is not all, and many species also coexist throughout humans. Each one is different but fascinating to understand and discover. I also think that I must read the first book to understand the exact details but it was certainly a very very intriguing story. Regarding the characters, it is also a good discovery. Helen unfolds throughout the novel, from a submissive woman, helping her sister secretly, to a more independent and supported woman. She is able to convince many women to join her cause and it’s true that I did not expect to see how she took it all to heart. The danger is omnipresent for the women in her situation, but she does not hesitate to put her life in danger if she can help her sister. I loved to see the person she became and the insurance she took throughout the chapters. I also loved Frye, an actress who brings an undeniable touch of freshness and lightness to the story. She mocks the conventions and is determined to reclaim her former life as quickly as possible.
There are also some nice reversals of situations throughout the story, as well as many revelations and I was curious to see how everything would be solved. I was also very surprised at the end of the book. It was a very good novel even if it’s true that I sometimes wondered where the author wanted to take us. A discovery full of originality, but it may be easier for the reader to start with the first volume.