Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Iron Witch

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney (Random House)
PB RRP $18.95
ISBN 978-1-8647-1827-0
Reviewed by Oliver Phommavanh

The Iron Witch is Mahoney’s debut novel for teenagers, after contributing to anthologies such as The Eternal Kiss and Love Me Deadly. It was only a matter of time before she sunk her teeth into a fully-fledged story. It’s an urban fantasy set in a place that is halfway between the city and dark forests of Faerie.

Donna Underwood is caught between these two worlds. She was born into the world of elves and alchemists, but still fails to see her connection. As a result, she’s a recluse at high school. People call her freak and her only friend Navin is the only bright spark in her life. Then she meets the mysterious Xan, who may hold the key to understanding the war that’s been raging underground.

Donna is a likeable and strong lead, one that doesn’t swoon over guys though it doesn’t leave her immune to romantic feelings. But it’s her rebellious and ‘proud to be a freak’ ways that make for a fast paced story. Donna’s diary entries break up the chapters. The switch from third to first person works to an extent, though it does feel like filler between chapters.

Mahoney handles the magic and fantasy elements in a tactful way, even being quite subtle in some parts. There are some playful scenes between Donna and the two guys in her life. Things heat up when she meets the cunning Iron Witch, who kidnaps Navin and takes him into the forest. Mahoney does her best to explain the Fey, but it’s a little underwhelming. It does set things up for a thrilling sequel. 

The Iron Witch is a good read for contemporary fantasy lovers. It’s recommended for ages 13 and up.  

No comments:

Post a comment

Buzz Words Books would love to hear what you think.