Monday, June 18, 2012

The Iron Witch

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
4/5 stars
Flux, 2011
299 pages
YA Paranormal

Source: Library

I was very intrigued just by the title of this one when I first heard about it last year so I kept my eyes open and was able to pick up a copy from my library, especially relishing the short length, which suggested to me a fast-paced story.

The book is told alternating between first-person journal entries from main character Donna (which I loved-I'm a big fan of epistolary books) and third-person narration. It was hard for me to switch between the two and it was also hard in that I preferred the journal entries more. They only occur every few chapters so I spent most of my time anticipating their return.

Despite the title suggesting it (and honestly I didn't read the summary), I was a little surprised to discover that this was a fey book. I am on the record as someone who usually doesn't like fey books but I did enjoy this one. I think I prefer it when the fey are pretty unambiguously evil. I can't handle the manipulations of fae in a lot of books where they present their beautiful faces and words while secretly plotting malicious actions toward the main character. Here they are dark dangerous creatures as everyone who knows about them recognizes. They killed Donna's father and destroyed her mother's mind so she has no sympathy for them. In fact she would really rather just forget about them except for the fact that they kidnap her best friend and require her to step in.

The kidnapping is mentioned on the back cover so it's not a spoiler but I assumed it would happen much earlier in the book than it did. Honestly it felt like half the book was buildup and establishing the world and then the other half was Donna rushing to save him. I wish it had happened earlier but this looks to be the first book in a trilogy so the whole thing will be part of a larger story. But this book does wrap up on its own without a cliffhanger almost as if it was entirely self-contained-I appreciate books like that as I am sick and tired of cheap cliffhangers to get me to pick up the next book. If the first one is well-written and enjoyable, I will be back! Which I am planning to do in this case as I think there is promise in the characters and world created.

I also really appreciated the author's note at the end where she discussed her inspiration for this book as well as some of the big themes. We don't usually get such insight into the author's mind and it was fascinating to reflect back on the book with what she shared there. Even if you don't usually read such additions, you will definitely want to in this case.


  1. I am glad that the author takes a different approach toward the fey. I liked this one too but when the sequel was released I just didn't have the interest in picking it up for some reason. I don't read as many YA paranormal books as I used to. I also wondered while reading the first book if there was going to be a Donna/Nav/Xan love triangle in the sequel. I liked Nav as a character and it would be great if he and Donna could just be friends without the unrequited love thing.

  2. Ooh, I'm just done with those over the top cliff hanger books too. I love a book that will give me some resolution. It's always cool to get into an author's head and know what inspired them to write what they did. I'll have to check this book out. Thanks for the review. :)

  3. Yay for no cliffhanger! Love when a book that has a sequel or is part of a series still stands on its own. Glad you enjoyed this one, I've had it on my list for a while and am looking forward to picking it up!

  4. Ohh, this book! I was pretty sure it was you who mentioned this book before that put this on my wish list in the first place, and it's so awesome to see how much you loved it in detail :) I think it's so cool how this one is told both in journal entries and third person narration. But my favourite part is that this is a fey book -- I never would've guessed that either just from looking at this book! I love how they're the sort-of-evil faeries we know and don't love :')

    Amazing review, B! Really looking forward to this one and the sequel! :) <3

  5. Oh, yes--I totally agree about the cheap cliffhangers! There's really no reason there can't be an overarching story arc as well as a contained story arc that gives the reader a sense of completion when they're done with a book. I liked this one, too. Short & interesting.

  6. Agree with your cliffhanger comment. If the book is good, I'll read the next one.

  7. Nice honest review:D

    This series has great potential. For the few things I found a bit wishy washy the others I loved. Xan I love! The execution of some of the story line could have been better, but I still enjoyed this book. I have book 2 so I am looking forward to see where Karen takes us:D



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