Book Review: Silverblind, by Tina Connolly

silverblind-coverSilverblind is the conclusion to the Ironskin trilogy (it works just fine as a stand-alone novel).  The first book, Ironskin, was a very loose retelling of Jane Eyre, set in an alternate version of England in which England and the fey have been at war.  I reviewed it at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.  The second book, Copperhead, was about Jane’s sister, and I also reviewed it at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, here.  In Silverblind, the story revokes around Dorie, the half-fey, half-human girl who Jane was originally hired to tutor.  Dorie is grown up now, and wants to help both humans and fey survive the aftermath of the war.

Silverblind shared the strengths of the other two books – compelling characters, great world building, beautiful imagery, and complex themes of identity, gender, sexuality, and ethics.  It was fast-paced and exciting and emotionally engrossing.  I got so involved in it that I read it while walking in the mall and almost walked into a door.  Normally I never run into things while walking, but in this case I thought the door was manual but it was actually automatic and it attacked me.  Anyway, Silverblind and I made it through the mall unscathed.

Silverblind does have one fault.  It’s very rushed.  The fast pace makes for exciting reading but it also distances the reader from the emotions of the characters.  Dorie was very compelling, but other characters barely register (I’d love to see a spin-off about Jack, though).  I was disappointed by the rivalry between Dorie and Annika.  I wanted to see these two women team up, not be on opposite sides.  Near the end, I kept thinking that surely the book couldn’t be so close to being over – but whoosh, there it went.  Aspects of the end were quite convenient.  The closing pages were delightful, but I wanted a little more time to sink into the story.

Overall, I loved this book.  Thoughtful, compelling, exciting, interesting.  It completely destroyed my productivity for the day and almost caused me a concussion, which I consider to be high praise.  Maybe I was sorry to get to the end of the book because, as far as I know, this is the last Ironskin book and now I’m depressed.  Luckily I have a huge exciting pile of ARCs waiting to comfort me!



The Nebula Awards Weekend: Unexpected Lessons

Nebula Award LogoToday I have two mini-reviews up of Nebula nominated novels.  I had the great pleasure of meeting both of these authors, and they were incredibly gracious to me.  Tina Connolly was only able to meet with me for a few minutes, but she did so having come straight off a plane.  I don’t think she even had time to check into her room, and she still acted as though she had nothing she’d rather do than tell me about her next book.  Her Ironskin trilogy will eventually include Copperhead, which is about Jane’s sister, and an untitled book about Dorie, the child Jane is asked to be governess to in Ironskin.  In that future book, we’ll meet Dorie as an adult, and I can’t wait.

Mary Robinette Kowal talked to me about her work, and the timeless appeal of Jane Austen, for over an hour.  She hopes to eventually have five books in her Glamourist Histories series.  Her book, Without A Summer came out in April.  Mary said that she likes the idea that you don’t stop having adventures just because you get married, or because of age.  She’d like to return to her series some time in the future and write about Jane and Vincent as a middle-aged couple, and then someday write about them as an elderly couple.

I expected that everyone at the Nebulas would be brilliant, but I hadn’t expected that everyone would be so nice.  There is a strong culture among this group of writers of mentoring and challenging and arguing with and promoting each other.  I had expected to leave that weekend feeling challenged and inspired to write, and I sure did.  But I also felt challenged and inspired to be a better friend and colleague.  I hope someday that I will be that person who knows the ropes – and when I am, I hope I’ll remember to be as gracious a mentor to that year’s rookie as this year’s writers were to me.