Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Series: The Iron Witch, Book One
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Format: Paperback
Published: 20th January 2011
Number of Pages: 304
Book: Bought
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Faerie Story, Dark Romance, Action, YA
Recommended Age: The Back of the Book Says: TEEN
The Book Addicted Girl Says: 11+
Contains Mild Violence, No Swearing or Sexual References

Donna is a freak.  An outcast.  Branded with iron tattoos that cover her hands and arms, she is cursed with a magically-enhanced strength that she does everything she can to hide.
But now, the dark exiles of Faerie are coming and Donna must choose between saving her best friend – or betraying one of the world’s greatest secrets.

I’ve seen lots of split reviews over this one, though I’m not really sure why.  I loved The Iron Witch and I think it’s got to be one of my favourite Urban Fantasy-slash-Faerie books.
There’s this world, then there’s the other worlds – one of them is Faerie.  Donna knows about them, but she’s one of the few.  She can’t tell anyone, not that she would of course, as that would put them in danger.  And betray the Order.  So when her friend Navin finds out and gets taken, she knows she has to do everything in her power to save him.  But is there something deeper going on?  Why are the Faeries coming back after all this time?  Who’s the beautiful new boy, Xan, who she seems to have an immediate connection with?  And does the Order know more than they say they do?  More importantly, just how far will she go to get Navin back...?
Donna’s a pretty normal teenage girl: an outcast who wants to fit in.  But she never can.  She’s been branded with iron tattoos that give her magically enhanced strength, after a terrifying attack when she was a little girl that left her father dead and her mother insane.  Donna was an amazing character, mainly because she was just so strong: mentally as well as the magic physical strength.  And on top of that she’s brave, smart and resourceful, traits I love in my lead girls.  She’s had a lot to deal with in her life, and I admired her because she coped so well.
There’s a little bit of a stereotypical love-triangle, of course between her, an old best friend and a new, mysterious boy.  Now, I love a good love triangle, and this one was actually slightly ironic: one boy for each side of her life...  Perfect, in my opinion.  The new love interest is Xan, a boy with a secret – that I admittedly guessed.  But, he was sweet, brave, funny and beautiful: a bad boy, with a charm that was actually irresistible.  But... then there was Navin: I loved Navin.  He was the perfect best friend: dependable, sweet, funny, cute.  And, to me, obviously liked Donna more than a friend.  In some ways, even though he wasn’t exactly the main love interest, his and Donna’s relationship was better for me than the connection-at-first-sight one between Donna and Xan.  Donna and Xan’s relationship develops at the right pace after the immediate connection, and was really quite sweet, but I just loved the friendship and familiarity between Donna and Navin.  I want to see where all that goes, one of the many reasons why I am buying the second in this series the minute it comes out.  I’m sure there’s more going on, or will go on, and I can’t wait to see if my suspicions are right.
I read this book quickly: it was light, direct and well written.  However, it couldn’t really be called ‘fast-paced’...  But... that didn’t matter to me.  It was original, the myth was brilliantly thought out and the plot was just as amazing.  Granted, it was a little predictable at times, but I found myself hooked and unable to put it down.  Ok, so it wasn’t an emotional-rollercoaster like the Hunger Games, but it did make me smile, laugh, feel shock and even fear at times.  And I have to say this again: I loved the mythology, worlds and the Faeries in it: so brilliant!
Written in the third person, it was realistic, the characters were well padded out, and all the scenes were amazing, whether they were romance or action.  I felt like I knew all the characters, and I can’t wait to see where everything goes.  As for the Order... undecided.  Who Donna will pick... fairly good idea.  What will happen next... unknown.  My Team... still undecided. 
The ending made me want to read on – need to read on.  I can’t wait for the next book!

Oh, quick addition: the cover is beautiful, and perfectly ties in with the book.  It also helped give me an idea of what the tattoos that cover Donna’s arms looked like.  And they’re amazing: honestly, her tattoos intrigued me...

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Because of the Strong Heroines)
The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (Because of the Faerie/Urban-Fantsy genre)

Challenges It's Taking Part In:


bex said...

Great review! Have been wanting to read this for some time, but haven't heard much about it before. Sounds like a real good book!

Rebecca @ kindle fever

YA Vampire Books said...

Oh nice review!
And a great love triangle - gotta love those!
Why swoon over just one guy when you can have two? ;)

Sherry Soule said...

Thank you for the fantastic and well-written review!

Sherry Soule Website

Author of the Spellbound Series