Copperhead is the sequel to Ironskin (read our review), a book I truly enjoined, which featured the story of Jane and the fey. This book picks up from the point of view of Helen, Jane’s sister. In the first book, Helen comes across as a materialistic, slightly stupid young woman. I had some hesitation about reading a book centering on her, as part of what I loved about Ironskin had been the retelling of Jane Eyre.
Ms. Connolly did a marvelous job shifting points of view and bringing Helen alive as a vibrant multi-dimensional main character. Rich women (and a few men) have had surgery to make themselves beautiful. Only, there’s a cost. The fey, the enemy from the last big war, can take over the bodies of anyone who has had the surgery. Jane’s discovered the way to reverse the surgery but she’s having trouble getting women to agree to it. However, Helen has a plan–which goes horribly wrong. When Jane disappears, Helen must find a way to save the day using her brains and charm.
The secondary characters in this book are even better than the previous book. I found them all fascinating and delightful. Ms. Connolly does beautifully developing her characters. Helen’s journey of self discovery is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. She faces each challenge, learning her own strength along the way.
The plots moves quickly building to a well done climax that had me cheering. Best of all, Ms. Connolly does not leave the reader with a cliff hanger – a refreshing change for the mid book of a trilogy. I don’t need cliffhangers to pick up the next book in a series. I just need quality writing. I appreciate an author that trusts their talent enough not to rely on the old cliff hanger to keep readers.
Ms. Connolly did a better job at world building in this novel. The fey and the dwarven both got fleshed out more, making it easier to understand the world itself. Best of all, Helen’s society gained the detail to make it feel real and more interesting. I enjoyed getting to spend some time with the dwarven and seeing how their culture worked. In fact, I really hope to see more of them in the next book; they intrigued me.
I’ve read several authors that managed a wonderful debut novel and then fell flat on their next book. Ms. Connolly’s second book outdid her first, showing consistent strengths and improvements of weaknesses. She has made a fan out of me and I hope to see her publish many more books in the future. I recommend both this book and its predecessor to anyone looking for a fresh historical fantasy.
Sara Drake has been an avid reader since a young age. She has both a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and a Master’s in History.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Tor Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.