Cels Reviews: Karen Mahoney—"The Iron Witch"

Donna Underwood has spent her life labelled a freak. As if being born into a family of  alchemists (who all belong to a super secret Order) wasn’t enough, as a child, Donna fell victim to a horrifying Fae attack that cost her both parents and left her with injuries that could only be fixed by magic. This left her hands and arms branded with silver tattoos, just another part of the curse her heritage has handed her. When the same Dark Fae kidnap her best friend, Navin, Donna faces some of her greatest fears and accepts her role in the centuries-old Human/Fae war. With the help of the gorgeous half-fae Xan, Donna races against the clock to bring Navin back home.

The Iron Witch is Karen Mahoney’s first offering to the world of YA and she has certainly hit her mark. A intriguing mix of ancient myths and legends, deep dark secrets and one young girl’s struggle to find her niche in the world, The Iron Witch will give your imagination a healthy work out with its visually rich sights and sounds. The characters are well developed and the plot is clearly defined and laid out right from the beginning, but still holds plenty of surprises. My only gripe was that it did lag a little in the middle but the action soon kicks back into high gear and all can be forgiven. Mahoney has given us insight into the history of Alchemy and its practice and enticed us with glimpses into the workings of the Order, while still holding back enough to keep us guessing.

The relationship between Donna and Navin is sweet and touching and the lengths that Donna will go to save him are a lesson to us all. Donna has a different feel as far as heroines go. Sure, there is the deep loss and the chafing against the rules and path set out for her, but  where others go after the culprits for revenge and gain a harder feel, Donna faces her fears only to save someone else; and you get the feeling that if circumstances hadn’t conspired against her, she would have left well enough alone. The feel of the character is a lot softer and, although I usually like my heroines full on kick-ass, it really did work in this case. I was hoping that Donna would uncover more memories about what really happened the night her world was turned upside down, but The Iron Witch is the only the first instalment in Donna’s journey, with The Wood Queen coming soon; so I hold out hope all the questions will be answered.

The Iron Witch has no overt  horror or adult scenes so would also be suitable for the younger YA age bracket.

The Iron Witch – Karen Mahoney

Published February 8, 2011 by Random House Australia

ISBN: 978-1-86471-827-0

Paperback, 289 Pages

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