The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

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The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: An enjoyable book, and a solid foundation on which Mahoney can build the rest of the series.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: January 2011
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
ISBN: 978-0552563819

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Donna has always been an outcast. The arms she hides underneath long gloves are covered in iron tattoos that give her enhanced strength – strength she has tried to hide. But, despite her best efforts, Donna was involved in an incident at school, an incident that means she's now homeschooled and a social pariah.

Then the wood elves – dangerous exiles of the Faerie world – start showing up in the city. Wood elves are allergic to iron, making the city a very uncomfortable place for them. Donna knows something must be going on, but with the Order members she's always turned to in the past acting strange, Donna finds herself alone. Best friend Navin is replaced by a changeling, and Donna turns to the only person she has left – mysterious and beautiful Xan, who has a few secrets of his own.

The Iron Witch is an interesting combination of fairy magic and alchemy, which makes it very different to a lot of the other fairy-centric novels around at the moment. I like fairies, and I like alchemy, so I felt this was likely to be a winning combination for me, and I wasn't disappointed.

The characters were interesting, with depth and background given to the three leads. The romance between Donna and Xan felt convincing and natural, and there was enough intrigue in both their pasts left unresolved to warrant returning to their stories. I liked the generally sinister tone to the book too – the wood elves were nasty creatures, and the Order weren't much better, with suggestions of dastardly deeds taking place past and present.

The narrative switched between third person and first person diary entries, which was an unusual approach, but didn't come across gimmicky. Used sparingly to give insight into Donna's past and her emotions, it added an extra depth to the story. In a way I think the story would have worked better told entirely from Donna's first person perspective, but I think that's just personal preference.

The premise took a bit of set up time, which is a shame, and for the life of me I can't remember what the incident that got Donna effectively expelled was. Which may be a comment on my terrible memory, but whatever the incident was it clearly didn't make a lasting impression. These flaws aside, The Iron Witch was an enjoyable book, and a solid foundation on which Mahoney can build the rest of the series.

My thanks to the publisher for sending a copy.

Fans of the Fey may like The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. Younger readers may enjoy The Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison.

Buy The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney at Amazon.com.


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