Saturday, November 29, 2014

Book Review: Cooperhead

Previously on Narrative Investigations: Helen receives an ARC from Tor only to discover it's the third book in a series, crap! Thankfully her library had the first book in the series but, after writing that review, she discovered that they didn't have the second book! So it was off to the other library system so that a review of Silverblind will still happen before the new year!

Cooperhead by Tina Connolly

The fey queen may be dead but humans aren't safe yet, especially the hundred women and men wearing the fey infused, fey beautiful faces. Jane and her sister Helen are among those hundred and are trying to convince the other women to let Jane undo it, not only because of the danger the fey impose but how it also limits the rest of their lives.

This was an odd continuation to Ironskin, on the one hand it's a natural follow-up plot wise concerning the larger fey plot, on the other hand it just feels like it doesn't fit. I'm not terribly fond of series which switch main characters from book to book and make the MC from the previous book completely useless which was the case here. After seeing Jane single-handily unravel the fey plot to see her reduced to almost an invalid was frustrating, especially since it was done so throughly that there was no way she could help which made me feel as if Connolly didn't have another good way to give her sister Helen her own story. Her characterization of Helen was also rather uneven, in the first book she's established as someone who doesn't make the best choices yet not a bad person, a traditional foil to a Strong Independent Woman (circa 1850s-1930s) and here the story wavers between keeping that as her base character and also trying to insist that he's secretly had just the kind of mind for scheming all along. Yes there had been some distance between her and Jane but it didn't seem possible that she could have this side to her and Jane never know and Jane was the narrator of Ironskin, if she had known then we the readers would have known. 

The antagonist was much weaker here as well, I spent most of the book wondering if there would even be a concrete villain or if it would be a vaguer, "these institutions must be dismantled because they are bad" sort of deal. I didn't even think that much of Helen's more social justice plot line either, while it's clear that she's started having thoughts about women's independence and rights before this story started again, the characterization was so uneven both book to book and even within Copperhead that it didn't work either. I do question why this book was included in part of the series, in some ways it's a natural continuation of Ironskin but on the other hand it just isn't executed well. Plus, from reading excerpts of Silverblind I know that book has a completely different protagonist as well and is set at least ten years later down the road, maybe once I actually read it I'll see the connection....