Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review of The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Series: The Iron Witch Saga (#1)
Pages: 300
Publisher: Flux
Published: January 25th, 2011
IBSN: 9781864718270

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

I had The Iron Witch on my to-read list ever since the (gorgeous) cover was unveiled months ago. The blurb made me think the book would have a twisty, complicated, clever plot, though I found after reading that it didn't have that. A complication was introduced - Navin's kidnapping - and it had a fairly straight-forward solution.

Overall, though, I did enjoy this book. Even though the plot wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be, it was still compelling. A lot was left open for further series installments, which I'll be sure to read in hopes of more of the suspense and drama I anticipated.

I liked Donna's character. She was strong-willed and determined, though insecure at times, which made her more relatable. Her past was tragic (though I maintain that the iron markings on her hands are cool, as well as useful) and had a realistic affect on her persona.

*mild spoiler alert*

I liked her relationship with Navin, though I kept hoping they'd end up as more-than-friends. I kept expecting a love triangle with Xan, whose romance with Donna felt rushed. Navin was friendly and funny, and Xan was much the same though with a darker side. (What does it say about me that I liked him better at the very beginning - sarcastic and kind of a jerk?).

I liked the writing style, and how that even in third person it could make me feel a connection to the characters.

The paranormal aspects of the story were creative and different, and thus, intriguing. Human alchemists trying to use science to understand the paranormal living alongside Fey - what's not to love? I hope more about the world introduced in The Iron Witch is elaborated upon in further books.

I give The Iron Witch a 4 out of 5. I would have given it a 3, but it doesn't feel fair comparing a book to what I expected it to be. I hyped it up a lot in my head before reading, but I'd still recommend this to anyone up for a paranormal romance that's heavier on the paranormal than the romance.


I read this book for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.