Google+ Reading Teen: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Flux; Original edition (February 8, 2011)
Author's Website: the Book:  Amazon
Series or Standalone:  Book 1 in a series

When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood’s father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. Only her relationship with her best friend, Navin, is keeping her sane.

But when vicious wood elves abduct Navin, Donna is forced to accept her role in the centuries-old war between human alchemists and these darkest outcasts of Faerie. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous guy with faery blood running through his veins and secrets of his own, Donna races to save Navin—even if it means betraying everything her parents fought to the death to protect.
First of all, let me just say, this cover is GORGEOUS!  I adore it!  It's even prettier in person.  Very nice job!

This is a tough review for me, because it was a tough book for me.  I had conflicting feelings about it because I really liked the idea for the story, and there were things that I really enjoyed about it, but mostly I was just really bored with it.  It took me a week to read, not because it was bad, but because it was just lacking that I MUST READ IT NOW quality.  I wanted to know where the story was going, and what would happen, but most of the time I just wanted it to hurry up and end, which makes me sad because I really, REALLY wanted to like this book.

At first I felt like it had an almost Wicked Lovely-slash-The Mortal Instruments-slash-The Iron Fey feel about it.  It certainly had many of the same elements.  I was surprised to find out that this book was about Faeries.  I love faerie books, and reading something along the lines of the aforementioned books is appealing to me.  However, the problem with writing a book that is so similar in feel and storyline to those, is that you then have to live up to the extraordinary writing ability of the likes of Melissa Marr, Cassandra Clare and Julie Kagawa.

It may be that it is suffering from Series Syndrome.  Meaning that so much of it is set up for future books.  But, for me, I need each book in a series to have its own excitement.  Especially the first book.  It really has to grab me for me to want to read the next ones in the series.  For such a short book, I felt like this story took forever to unfold.  For example, one of the major points in the synopsis is that Donna's friend, Navin, is stolen by the wood-elves.  But this doesn't even happen until the book is 2/3 over.  The first part of the book was just basically about Donna meeting and falling for Xan (who smokes.....yuck), but their relationship is just flat.  There was no excitement to it.  No tension.

I really liked the idea of alchemy being used as a magic.  Especially in the context of the Faeries, who are "allergic" to iron.  The fact that Donna has the metal surgically implanted in her is a really cool idea.  But her arms hardly even come into play in the book.  And when they finally do, it's kind of anti-climactic.  Maybe there will be more to this aspect in the following books.

Overall, I thought this book had a lot of potential, and a good storyline, but it was just missing that spark for me.  If you like faerie books, though, you might want to give this one a try.  Feel free to leave comments to your reviews if you enjoyed this book!

Thanks so much to Flux for sending this book for review.

It's your move

  • Sexual Content:  Some kissing
  • Profanity:  Moderate
  • Violence:  Mild
  • Other Notables:  Underage drinking; smoking
For more details, check out The Iron Witch on Parental Book Reviews


  1. I liked Iron Witch, but I completely agree with you that too much of the book was left for the sequel to deal with. Even--well, especially--if you write a series, each of the individual books should be capable of being stand-alones.

    Great review, thanks! :)

  2. This book didn't catch my eye at first and I'm sorry to say that now I'm less inclined than ever to give it a chance... As you said bookstores are full of such great books that standards are very high, you have to write about something different or do as good as the authors who have already done it before. It's not an easy thing to do but it's necessary to have a place in this literary world.

  3. Really? That's a shame...
    I was very excited to read it too, I have it sitting in my house just waiting for me.
    Well, I'll read it anyway, but now with low expectations.
    Tks Master Jedi!

  4. Hmm, I have this one on my wish list. Interesting what you say about series books.

  5. I'm very interested in this book. I'm sorry to hear that it did not excite you much, but you are right: every book in a series needs to stand on its own. Leaving too much for the next book is just silly. And doing that in the very 1st book, when you need to grab people's attention, is even more silly. :) I plan to read it because I'm really on a Fae kick right now. :)

  6. I haven't had the time to read it yet, but it's in my TBR pile, probably right after Iron Queen. I'm happy to see that not everyone loved it. There's such a big problem right now, as many auhtors don't seem to know how to create a book that could stand by itself. I hate it when they do that.


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