Something Wicked Returns Day 23.... Just a little over a week to go before we wrap this wicked month of guest posts and giveaways. I hope you are still eager for more goodies. Speaking of goodies, be sure to check out these posts today for a chance to win more great books:
Ali@My Guilty Obsession: Kelly Sheridan: Mortality Series/Hitchhiker Strain Series
Ginny@Gin's Book Notes: Melanie Karsack- The Harvesting
J.A.@J.A. Garland: Dysus Dreamer by J.A. Garland
Candace@Candace's Book Blog: Cat Winters: In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Day 23 on Rainy Day Ramblings brings an interesting little tale of deadly fey and iron masks. I am referring to Copperhead by Tina Connolly which is the sequel to last year'sIronskin. I was excited to be thrust back into this world of frightening fey, dwarven and the glamour that I associate with the 1930's. I thought that his book was a notch above Ironskin, and I loved the exciting mystery and the danger of the fey masks. I am getting ahead of myself again. Before we go further, I need to introduce you all to Tina Connolly, a fellow Oregonian:
Tina Connolly lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the anthology UNPLUGGED: Web's Best SF 2008. Her debut fantasy novel IRONSKIN released from Tor Books in Fall 2012, with a sequel forthcoming in Fall 2013. 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. Find out more about Tina on her website,Twitter, and Goodreads and Facebook.
Here is Tina with her list of fears:
I have a tendency to push myself into things I'm afraid of. It works like this:
Current Me thinks it would be really good for Future Me to learn how to teach a writing workshop for adults. Like, good growth and character building for Future Me. Current Me has no idea how to teach a writing workshop, and though Me In General loves being on stage saying someone else's words, Me in General is slightly petrified of having to be brilliant and helpful and insightful on command, with twenty people staring at her.
Time passes and the workshop draws closer. Future Me becomes Current Me and curses at Past Me for trying to improve her character. Why does Past Me have to be so self-righteous and know-it-all? But Current Me is unwilling to let anybody down. Current Me realizes she will have to rise to Past Me's stupid challenge. (Safe in her long-ago lair, Past Me cackles.)
Current Me studies and practices and teaches the darn workshop, and everything goes all right. Current Me admits grudgingly that her character was improved. Current Me sighs with relief.
Then, in the fine tradition of schoolyard bullies everywhere, Current Me looks around to see if she can get back at Past Me somehow. Past Me is inaccessible. Untouchable. But ah! Poor weak little Future Me has no way to retaliate. Let's teach a writing workshop to kids this time! says Current Me, and the cycle begins again.
Sure, sure, character growth, skill building, better person, blah blah blah. You know what? It's way more fun to push your characters into the things they're afraid of and make them grow.
My new book that comes out October 15th is Copperhead, the sequel to the (Nebula-nominated!) Ironskin. Ironskin was Jane's story, but for Copperhead, I wanted to shift to Jane's sister Helen and let her show what she was made of. The sisters have different strengths and weaknesses—for example, Jane is afraid of social situations and Helen is at home in them. But Jane is not afraid to be blunt, and Helen has always been used to making things easy, smoothing the way for herself. Not making waves.
So of course Writing Me says Up we go, girls! Into the pond you fear!
Helen made a rather disastrous marriage in Ironskin—she thought if she married the wealthy Alistair that would fix all her problems. But Alistair is controlling, and involved in a political group that is rapidly gaining power—a group that is anti-fey, anti-dwarvven, and busy persecuting Jane. Helen is not used to standing up to people, and she has good reasons for not wanting to stand up to Alistair and Copperhead, and call attention to herself.
She's also afraid of letting her sister down—and now she's going to need to not only finish Jane's mission but find her sister. Many of the women she meets have their own fears to overcome to be willing to help Helen and change their own lives. Over and over Helen and the others have to face the contrast to what is the morally right thing to do, versus what is socially or physically dangerous.
But the great thing about standing back and being Writing Me is that I can watch them grow and cheer them on. Writing Me may be just as vicious as Past Me, but it's for a good cause. And Current Me can sloth around and eat bonbons instead of having her character improved.
Win-win all around.
Thanks, Tina! I am all for slothing around and eating bonbons, but who has time for that? I am sure you were excellent teaching your workshops! A big thanks to Tina for posting today. She was sure to get her post to me ahead of time as she was expecting her second baby in October. Her baby daughter arrived safely on October 18th. I am sure Tina is lacking some sleep right now so I will catch up with her in a month or so. Congrats Tina on your new baby and book. Now for the best part, the giveaway! Thanks to the wonderful folks over at Macmillan Tor Books, I have a chance to win a copy of Copperhead by Tina Connolly. To enter read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. This is open to U.S. residents only. Good Luck!
Here is my review:
Copperhead(Ironskin #2) by Tina Connolly
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.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Tor Books
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Four stars: Glitz, glamour and iron masks meet the Fey.
Helen before entering the party, stops to unfasten her iron mask. Helen is one of the elite one hundred who received a face transplant courtesy of the mysterious Rochart.
Helen and the rest of the women after their surgeries are indeed stunningly beautiful, but they paid a steep price. Unbeknownst to the women at the time, Rochart was under the spell of the Fey Queen, and he was removing the women's real faces and replacing them with fey infused masks. Since the surgeries and the death of the fairy Queen, bits of bluish fey have settled all over the city. Every time the women go out, they run the risk of these bluish bits of fey attaching to the fey in their faces. To prevent the fey from snatching away their faces, the women must now wear protective iron masks when out on the streets. Jane is insisting that all the women allow her to remove their masks and return to their old faces, but the women aren't so easy to convince. On top of that, there is a new group in town known as the Copperhead, and they are determined to rid the world of Fey and Dwarven for once and for all, but their elitist ideas could end up causing a war. Can Jane and Helen save the women and prevent the Copperhead from starting another Great War?
What I Liked:
- Helen was not my favorite character in Ironskin. She comes across as being selfish, a bit empty headed and focused on material things, and she is obsessed with her beauty. I was a bit hesitant going into this one knowing that this book was going to be Helen's story. I needn't have worried as I think this book excelled over its predecessor. Helen proves that she is much more than the shallow girl I thought she was. Once you dig deep and really see the true Helen, you will find a girl who is smart, capable and determined. Yes, she still suffers a bit from her own vanity, but that is forgivable. I liked that she showed such tremendous growth, courage and fortitude, and I loved really getting to know her. I appreciated that she was a girl caught under the thumb of her wealthy husband and a slave to the ideas of what a women should be, but she doesn't let that deter her. Even when her husband takes her mask to prevent her from going out, she defies him and does it anyway. It takes a lot of guts to go against your husband and society, and Helen does just that. At the end, I liked her even more than Jane, which was surprising.
- One minor complaint I had with Ironskin was that the world building was a tiny bit shaky when it came to the Fey and the Great War. Ms. Connolly makes up for that in Copperhead. She takes the time to throughly explain the fey, and she provides numerous flashbacks of the Great War so I had a clearer understanding of the Fey. in fact, this time around, I didn't have any problems with the world building. Everything was clear and easy to understand. I was pleased to learn more about the masks.
- I loved all the glitz and glamour. This feels like it takes place in an alternate 1930's period because of the fashions and the ideas of how a woman should live, demurring to her husband and at home. The rise of the Copperhead with their prejudice ideas on the fey and dwarven are reminiscent of the rise of the Nazis in our history.
- Even though the women were trapped under the thumb of the men, and many were forced into getting the fey facelifts. Now they are kept at home because of the supposed fear of the fey, when in reality, it was just another way for the men to keep the women subservient. Throughout the book, you meet several women who refuse to bend to the societal ideas of women and instead they blaze their own trail and do what they want. I liked meeting all the various women and learning why they underwent the face surgery and how they were coping. I admired the strength and courage of these girls from Helen and Jane, to the flashy and funny Eglantine. At the end, I loved when the women took a stand.
- The book wraps neatly at the end, and I thought this was the finale to the series. I was surprised to learn there will be one more installment next year set fifteen years into the future. You can pick this up without fear of a cliffhanger!
And The Not So Much:
- Jane is removed from the story for most of the book, and I was a bit disappointed. Even though I absolutely grew to love Helen, I was hoping for more of Jane's strong character. Even when Jane resurfaces, she remains in the background and her part is small.
- There romance was a bit of a stumble for me. I just never felt the sparks and I didn't think it was going anywhere so I was rather surprised at the end to see the romance blossoming. I felt like a solid friendship, and there wasn't the heat or passion that we all love.
- Like Jane, Rochart is pretty much a no show in this book. I was expecting him to appear and play a big part, but when he does arrive he does nothing. Furthermore, he and Jane are engaged but there is hardly any details on their relationship and what happened to them after the events of Ironskin. I thought it was strange that he was missing for almost the entire book and that he wasn't more attached to Jane. I wanted to know more about how they patched together their relationship and how they were planning on moving forward.
Copperhead is a stunning sequel. It has plenty of action, mystery and more. I loved getting to know Helen, and I admired her strength and tenacity as she fought back against the men who were determined to see her remain under their authority. If you are looking for an exciting book with fey and a 1930's feel, definitely check out this series. I am excited to read the third and final book in 2014.
"Promises were such cold, hard-hearted rigid things."
"Well, you played the game or it played you."
"She saw then that lies were sometimes useless, if others didn't care enough to look under their noses."
"Strength was not something that happened in a moment, but a sustained note that you held over time."
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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