- Series: Ironskin (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; 1st Edition edition (October 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765375141
- ISBN-13: 978-0765375148
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,866,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Silverblind (Ironskin) Hardcover – October 7, 2014
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“This is an astonishing book: an evocative re-imagination of Jane Eyre that concerns itself with beauty, love, and social upheaval. This lyrical and utterly marvelous debut is one of the standout books of the year.” ―RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick! on Ironskin
“Connolly has created a complex and well-drawn world here, and the story is indeed an original and imaginative take on the gothic-fiction tradition. An intriguing and ambitious fantasy tale.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Ironskin
“All the romance, mystery, and horror that a good gothic story needs.” ―Portland Monthly on Ironskin
About the Author
TINA CONNOLLY lives with her family in Portland, Oregon, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic. Her stories have appeared all over, including in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She is a frequent reader for Podcastle, and narrates the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. In the summer she works as a face painter, which means a glitter-filled house is an occupational hazard.
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Dorie is half human/half fey but she's been trying to put her fey side away for years. Now that she's trying to get a job at Queen's Lab for field work to study wyverns and basilisks. The only problem is that noone wants to hire a woman so it forces her to use her fey powers to change into a man, Dorian. While starting work for Queen's Lab, she discovers the horrible truth about why wyrens' eggs are so popular and why every single person wants them. Now that she has her cousin Tam on her side (who still doesn't know that she is his cousin), they will try to help ironskins, people who were the victims in Human vs. Fey battle that ended years ago.
A lot of reviews that I've read said that it is important that you read first two books. Well I didn't do that and think that I was still keeping up with the story. This is why I really liked it because you can still see how amazing Dorie is. She knows that because of her fey side, she has the stunning looks but she doesn't care about that. She doesn't want people to look at her and think she's only a subject. She wants to be out on the field to actually study and work. The book is a little on the slow pace but it is still entertaining. Plus, the author manages to create a perfect steampunk world with just elements of fey that do play a big role but also keep the reader in the reality.
I really enjoyed this novel and whenever I had to put it down it was begrudgingly done. While I was never entirely clear on exactly what a wyvern is (aside from a shopping district in Derby), based on the description given, I took it to be a sort of mini dragon, which is apparently sort of accurate. As little Woglet is very cat-like in his behaviour, I instantly took a liking to him, which added to the overall liking of the story.
The characters were likable and I enjoyed spending my time in their company. They are rebels, freedom fighters, civil rights activists, and animal rights campaigners all rolled into one and I love that. It brings up a lot of important topics - racism, sexism, size-ism, homophobia - and while society as a whole isn't particularly open-minded, the main characters are. Even though Dorie and Tam were once very close, it doesn't mean that they necessarily have to become a couple and live happily ever after, so that was refreshing.
Perhaps because the book wasn't based on anything [familiar to me], there wasn't the distraction of seeing parallels with the original, which is what I did for the first two novels in the series. It allowed me to read Silverblind without preconceptions, and enjoy it as a dark fantasy set in a world not unlike the early 1900s. And I loved that.
What I Liked:
*This is a series that I have enjoyed watching mature and grow. I can wholeheartedly say, that this is a trilogy that got better and better as it went along. I love that this trilogy is a blend of historical and fantasy. If you like books infused with fey with a historical setting, give this series a try. I have found that these books can be read out of order or as stand alones as each book is a complete story, but I urge you to read all three to get the full picture.
*Dorie,at twenty three, is far removed from the strange fairy girl we first met in Ironskin. Dorie is plucky, resourceful, intelligent and determined to do the right thing even if it means losing her rent money or endangering herself. I admired Dorie's courage and I liked that she made altruistic choices time and time again. I enjoyed watching her grown, and I liked seeing her tap into her fey powers and become a boy in order to take down the men who refused to give a women a job because of her sex. Go Dorie!
*I liked that Ms. Connolly touched on numerous themes in her story that still affect us today in our modern world. First, there is the theme of equality for women. Granted, we have come a long way, but it still exists today. Dorie as a young lady, comes face to face with inequality as she tries to land a job. I loved seeing her war with the men and fool them. *Second, there were many themes involving harm to the environment for human gain. Once the magical properties of the wyvern eggs is discovered, it isn't long before those seeking a profit pillage and destroy the environment and the wyvern all for money. How often do we continue to see that in our world? In the end, I was pleased at how these issues were resolved in the story.
*I enjoyed seeing Dorie fight for the fey. The fey have long been feared by humans after the Great War. Since the defeat of the Fey Queen, the fey have retreated into the forest, trying to hide from humans, and things have been better, that is until humans storm into the woods in order to seize the power from the fey. Dorie becomes an unexpected champion not only for the fey but also for the wyverns and basilisks. I was thrilled to see her take up the cause and help do the right thing.
*The world building has strengthened in this series. I love this alternate world Ms. Connolly has created filled with fey and paranormal creatures. The plot and the world building are smart and sophisticated, definitely worth checking out.
The romance is rather simple and straightforward. It is a romance that has endured some big stumbles and one that seemed to be squelched. It is realistic and slow burning. I love that there isn't any insta love or love triangles.
*I appreciate that each book in this series is a complete story. You can certainly read them as stand alones, but I like that I was able to catch up with both Jane and Helen down the line and see how they have fared. Ms. Connolly does an excellent job with the recap so if you do pick this one up without having read the others, you won't be lost.
And The Not So Much:
*I was confused at the beginning of the book when wyverns and basilisks came into the picture. I had no idea what a wyvern was and there wasn't a lot of description. As far as the basilisk goes, I thought it was a large snake. I had to google both wyverns and basilisks in order to grasp that they were bird like creatures with dragon qualities. It would have been helpful to have a bit more detail on both of these creatures in the book.
*I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more of Helen and Jane in the book. They both make small appearances, but I was hoping that they would have bigger roles. Not a big deal, just a personal preference.
*I was hoping for a bit more with the romance, even though I liked that it was simple, after all the uproar I wanted butterflies and fireworks, but that didn't happen. Still I was pleased with the way it all played out.
Silverblind is a fitting end to an exciting, historical/fantasy series. I have enjoyed getting to know these three different girls and watch them fight. I am sad to say goodbye, but on the other hand, I am excited to see what Connolly will dream up next. If you are looking for a smart series I highly recommend checking out Connolly's Ironskin Series.
"Hope comes along when you least expect it. You have to fight for your cause."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
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