Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: The Iron Witch

The Iron Witch
By Karen Mahoney
Publication date: February 8, 2011

My review:

Donna Underwood wishes she could have a normal life. She knows her life will never be anything resembling normal however because she knows about the existence of the fey. Her dad, an alchemist, died trying to protect her from them and she herself was so badly injured that now she has iron tattoos all over her arms and hands. She hides her tattoos and the supernatural strength they give her from the outside world, including her best friend Navin Sharma. When Navin is kidnapped by the fey, Donna must rely on the help of the handsome half-fey Xan Grayson. To get Navin back, Donna will have to make a terrible sacrifice.

The Iron Witch presents a different twist on fairies by adding alchemists and lore about the philosopher's stone and elixir of life into the mix. Donna as a heroine is an appealing blend of strength and vulnerability. She possesses physical strength from the iron magic and inner strength in her determination to rescue Navin at all costs. At the same time she is emotionally vulnerable because of her tattoos, the loss of her father, and her mother's resulting madness. Donna works through some of this with the help of Navin's unflinching acceptance of her secrets and Xan's empathy. Seeing the evidence of Xan's own painful past helps Donna to let go of her hangups over her "scars".  

Xan is a typical paranormal romantic interest but I like his attitude which reminded me a little of Jace Wayland from the Mortal Instruments series. My favorite character in the book was actually Navin. He is a great best friend with a fantastic sense of humor. He grounds Donna in reality and is very supportive. It is hinted at that he has feelings for her but I really hope (perhaps in vain) that this will not turn into a love triangle. It would cheapen his character.

I did find it a little difficult to understand all of the information that is crammed into the book about alchemists in between the race to rescue Navin. I wish that the information had been presented in  a way that flowed better with the rest of the story. The Iron Witch may not offer anything new or particularly deep to the world of YA paranormal romance but it is a fast paced and entertaining story with a feisty heroine. I would suggest this to fans of Need by Carrie Jones or Julie Kagawa's The Iron King.

Readalikes: The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, Need by Carrie Jones, Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Note: I read and reviewed this book as part of an ARC tour, courtesy of Around the World ARC Tours


  1. Thank you for the review!! I just got a copy in the mail yesterday and I'm really excited to get started!!!

  2. I didn't love it. It seemed like it took half of the book to get to a point where it started getting interesting. There was too much introduction.

  3. Thanks for the review. I've seen lots of 5-star reviews for this one, so it's nice to read something a little more measured. I've never read the Need series by Carrie Jones, as I'm not sure that it's quite my thing!

  4. This is the first review I have read for the Iron Witch and it sound like a book I will enjoy. I like that there is enough of a twist that it gives it sound originality too. Great review


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