There’s a lot to love about this adaptation of Jane Eyre.
The setting is an alternate steampunk-ish England, where the War that has just ended isn’t World War I, but a war against the evil Fey. The atmosphere is pretty Gothic, feels deliciously Bronte-ish.
The main character Jane is strong, as you’d expect, but she has the additional misfortune of being scarred from a Fey bomb. She wears a mask of iron to contain the Fey infection and to hide the gashes on her face, hence the title.
The story also borrows heavily from the folk tale Tam Lin, one of my favorites ever. The beautiful but cruel Fey want the hero, and it’s up to the heroine to save him and the day. My only issue with this hero, Edward Rochart, is that, though he broods wonderfully, he never really shows any kind of strength. I feel like the author didn’t really develop him completely.
Not so with the daughter, Dorie Rochart, who Jane has come to be governess to. She’s an adorable child with “issues” that Jane needs to resolve. She doesn’t use her hands, but uses her Feyish magic to move things around. There are some pretty intense interactions between her and Jane that reminded me of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan from The Miracle Worker.
My only huge letdown was at the story’s end. I wanted more about Edward since he was barely around, and I really didn’t like what happened to Jane. There was a lot building up in the story with Jane learning to let go of her iron mask and finally be strong in her own skin. The ending kind of tore that entire premise down.
Still, this was definitely an interesting read. If you like Gothic novels (ahem, smwahdy), Jane Eyre (ahem, Fi), Tam Lin (Fi again), moody heroes with a mystery only the heroine can solve (who doesn’t?), then you’ll most likely enjoy reading this too.