24 February 2012

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney


FREAK. That’s what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna’s own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma. When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.
This book was a fast read, and it was good but not great. I found the alchemy angle on magic kind of interesting. It is different to have magic that is crafted rather than learned or from an innate power. The plot had some good high points, but the pacing seemed really off and it could jump from very slow to very fast and full of tension without any ramp up which left me kind of distracted and alienated from what was going on.Donna is a well-crafted character, and I really felt for her when she felt alienated from her peers and had only Navin for a friend. Navin was a little two-dimensional to me, though, and Xan barely registered. The love between Donna and Xan didn’t really spark for me either. Xan seemed way too invested in Donna and got nothing really in return. I don’t like it when romances in books cause a character to make huge gestures of undying love that just can’t be present in such a short time. Perhaps that is because Xan was barely present in the book, and as they grow in subsequent books perhaps it will become more convincing. I at least hope that there doesn’t end up to be a Navin-Donna-Xan love triangle, but it doesn’t seem like Mahoney is setting that up. I will pick up the next book in this series and hope for the best.

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