The Iron Witch (Paperback)
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Short Description for The Iron Witch The child of alchemists, Donna Underwood feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. When the darkest outcasts of Faerie abduct her best friend, Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries-old war between the humans and the fey.
- Published: 08 February 2011
- Format: Paperback 299 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780738725826 ISBN 10: 073872582X
- Sales rank: 38,186
Reviews for The Iron Witch
Wasn't the most intriguing it could be
Previously published on my blog: http://fictionfervor.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/review-the-iron-witch-by-karen-mahoney/
I was actually pretty disappointed with The Iron Witch. The idea the book was based on was so intriguing, and yet the book itself fell flat.
Donna is an alchemist. And not the changing-things-to-gold alchemist, the killing-pesky-fairies-on-earth alchemist. And not just any killing-pesky-fairies-on-earth alchemist. Others expect her to be a child prodigy, considering that she's the daughter of two fantastic alchemists. Even though her father is dead and her mother has probably gone crazy.
Her mother went crazy after Donna's father died in an accident. Not a car accident. An accident caused by the fairies. And this accident has left Donna with arms made of iron. Repaired by the alchemists, her arms have made her superman-strong.
So when the fairies kidnap her best friend Navin, you'd expect her to be kick-butt strong.
She isn't. Though strong, Donna definitely isn't kick-butt. Being kick-butt means being smart, strong, and fearless. Donna is not smart at times. She's pretty idiotic. (I'd love to give examples as to why she's so incredibly stupid, but that would take paragraphs.) And though she has strong down, she is not fearless.
And whereas Donna annoyed me so much, Xan was a relief. Xan is definitely one of those hot boys that you can't help but swoon a little bit over (yes, I have a mild crush on him), but he's also pretty fearless. More than Donna, at least. And though Xan sort of has a "haunted past," there's also something about Xan that makes him pretty special. That something is the part that I made white in the synopsis. Because it's obviously a spoiler.
Oh, boy, I hate spoilers in synopses.
And Navin? Oh, I love Navin. Although I'm Team Xan without a doubt, Navin is awesome. Because he's her best friend and one of the only people she cares about. He's Indian, too, which definitely gives him bonus points in my mind, purely because I love nerdy best friends.
I don't know if Karen Mahoney plans to make a love triangle with Donna, Xan, and Navin in it; but frankly, I don't really believe Donna deserves to have two boys after her. (Yes, I don't like Donna that much.) I'd say Xan and Navin were the only things that kept me reading this book. Because I just love hot boys and Indian best friends.
Things I'd like to say about the book? These are only minor details, but I still feel that I should voice my thoughts.
I'm a grammar Nazi (though I write pretty casually in my reviews). I'm pretty sure that I've already established that several times. Anyway, the writing in this book was decent, but I did reach this one sentence that had me gaping in horror. "Who'd've thunk it?" Seriously? "Who'd've"? I slightly understand that one because this word has become slang among teenagers these days, but then "thunk"? THUNK? I am incredibly sad now.
Another thing. Navin's parents let Navin and Donna stay in a bedroom with no supervisors. Though that might seem pretty normal to you Americans, I'm not used to that. Remember, I'm Chinese? Chinese and Indian parents are pretty strict with schoolwork and dating. Yes, so that's just a little bit hard to believe that they could stay in Navin's bedroom for a pretty long time without supervisors. Even if Navin's parents trusted both of them enough, it's just too outrageous for my ears to believe. I know it was necessary for the book because Donna had to tell Navin some important things, but still. Highly improbable.
And lastly, this is the thing that bothered me most about the book. The ending is so sudden. It's pretty much an anticlimax. All of a sudden, Donna tells us in a sort of epilogue (spoiler!) that she's going on trial. Wow. It's like, "Oh, hey, I'm going on trial! See you in the next book!" I practically forgot that she was even going to trial. That bad.
The Iron Witch was a frustrating read for me. At times, it was too predictable, and then at other times it was too improbable, and then at other times it was too sudden. Though I had general liking for the characters (except for Donna), the plot wasn't the most intriguing that it could be. I felt as if Karen Mahoney could have done more with the incredible idea the book was based on. by Linda
- Top review
an enjoyable debut novel
I can honestly say that I very much enjoyed reading The Iron Witch. I don't read a lot of Young Adult, but the same applies to Young Adult (for me anyway) as Adult fiction. It has to hold my interest. Normally I look for books that jump into action from the first page, and I prefer lots of action - whether it's fighting, running or laughing situations...Sometimes I get that but then a book slows down for me, and then comes to a complete stop interest-wise. The Iron Witch did start out with a bang - the prologue describes some of the nightmarish night that Donna went through as a child. The first chapter has her waking up from her nightmare. And even though there wasn't the feeling of non-stop adventure, there were things that kept me interested throughout the book.
After the opening prologue/nightmare scene, the book continues at a seemingly sedate pace, but really little things are happening - some creepy things - that point towards the danger to come. Donna is attending a party with her best friend, Navin. They've been best friends for a long time, and live right next door to each other. Navin is the one person that Donna feels comfortable with, and even with him she feels like she doesn't quite fit in. Both of them have lost a parent. Donna has freakish strength in her arms - something that she is always aware of, which therefore causes a bit of angst. On top of that, she has these markings on her arms...making her feel like she has to keep them hidden. As a teen, she most likely dreads having anything pointed out as different, and here are two things that mark her as way different - her markings that she keeps hidden by wearing gloves and her freakish strength which she just tries to keep hidden....except for ---- no, that would be a spoiler. haha
She goes to a party with Navin, against her instinct to remain in the background at all times. But once there, she ends up looking for a quiet place to hang out, and ends up on the roof with this mysterious boy/man. This guy turns out to be Xan, or Alexander - a kid who had gone off to college and then ended up back at home after a short while. Turns out he has his own reasons to feel like he doesn't quite belong. Xan plays an important part in the story - Donna and Xan strike up an uneasy (at first) yet strong friendship/attraction. They both feel different from others, and both have things to hide...and other than Navin's friendship, the only experience Donna has with other boys are...well probably none.
Donna Underwood's family and circle have secrets, so Donna has learned all her life to keep things secret, this is wearing on her. She's also feeling bad about having to keep secrets from her best friend. Donna lives with her aunt, since her mother is in a confused state of conciousness in a hospital and her father died while saving her from the thing in the forest. Donna is homeschooled ever since an incident at the high school involving teasing students and her strength. She has normal homeschooling along with some alchemy classes with people in the circle. That's one of the secrets Donna has to maintain. Her family and family friends are a secretive order of alchemists - involving magic, experiments, knowledge of the fae, etc.
The Iron Witch continues with the incidents here and there, that build up to a crescendo of action. Donna at one point figures out that her friend has been kidnapped by the forest elves and in typical teen fashion, tries to handle things on her own.. things become more complicated for her, and she makes decisions that she knows are going to have harsh consequences for herself. This reminded me of being a teen. There were so many times that friends and I tried to handle things on our own, for one reason or another, when we really should have involved an adult. But I think that is a rather common thing for some teens. It's not always logical, but then being a teen isn't always logical. Thank goodness we never had to deal with forest elves, or elf queens!
Something I liked about the ending of the book, is that we find out that Donna hasn't been miraculously forgiven by the alchemists and their order - she has to face some possibly severe consequences for her actions...and things might not be fair. I believe that's where the sequel is going to take up. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, The Wood Queen.
The Iron Witch kept my interest for the whole story; I enjoyed this debut novel, with good dialogue, interesting characters, light in the romance department, and an interesting twist with the possibility of more twists....there is the hint of a mystery beyond the plot of The Iron Witch. Why was young Donna in the forest at the beginning of the book (in her nightmare/memory)....What exactly was going on there? Looking forward to finding out. by Mardel