The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

(7.7/10)

There is both a craze and a stigma attached to urban fantasy at present. The teenage market is saturated with books about vampires, witches and the like set in the sleepy suburbs of various parts of America. Amongst the hundreds of trashy throwaway novels there are some real gems and I think this series is one of them. The balance is just right and it has left me wanting to read more. Of course it isn’t perfect, but there are plenty of great things to say about Mahoney’s mystical world of alchemy and wood elves.

Freak. That's what they call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood at Ironbridge High School. A horrific fey attack that killed her father when she was just a child left Donna branded with iron tattoos that cover her hands and arms - and magically enhanced strength, that she now does all she can to hide. Now, after ten years of wishing for a normal life, Donna finally accepts her role in the centuries-old war against the darkest outcasts of Faerie - the dark elves. Aided by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout, Donna must save her best friend's life - and that means betraying one of the world's greatest secrets and confronting the very thing that destroyed her family.

I had started to write this review before I realised the book was the first one of a series, which explained a lot of why I wanted more from it. The world is deep and well thought out and I wanted to know more as I felt this book just scratched the surface. Some of the terminology is a bit clichéd; ‘Order of the Dragon’, elves and mystical woodlands, but it still creates a great world. Based on a folklore story ‘The Handless Maiden’, it’s a great urban realisation of that story and carefully treads the line between the urban and magical successfully.

The story begins quite slowly, as we learn about Donna Underwood, her Aunt Paige, Navin and the illusive ‘Maker’ and how she acquired the swirling iron tattoos hidden under her velvet gloves. She then meets Xan, a dreamy, confident type with a secret to hide. The characters are built up very slowly and there is lots more to learn about them, particularly Aunt Paige, who I’m sure will become more important as the series progresses. It builds slowly, but picks up pace towards the end as more is revealed and events start to unfold.

Overall, The Iron Witch is a great start to a promising series which left me wanting more.

Review by

12+

The Iron Witch reader reviews

7.7/10 from 1 reviews

Write a reader review

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

Magic Triumphs

by Ilona Andrews

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban [...]


Published: 2018

Score: 99

Our rating: 9.8 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

Never Knew Another

by JM McDermott

Fugitive Rachel Nolander is a newcomer to the city of Dogsland, where the rich throw parties and the poor just do whatever they can to scrape by. Supported by her brother D [...]


Published: 2011

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu

by Mercedes M Yardley

Her mama always said she was special. His daddy called him a demon. But even monsters can fall in love. Montessa Tovar is walking home alone when she is abducted by Lu, a s [...]


Published: 2014

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Iron and Magic

by Ilona Andrews

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh [...]


Published: 2018

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

Dante's Journey

by JC Marino

A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself. Joe wa [...]


Published: 2010

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.4 | 1 positive reader reviews

15+

Bitten

by Kelley Armstrong

Elena Michaels is a model woman for the 21st century: self-assured, keenly intelligent, fighting fit. And like every modern woman, she has her secrets. Nothing extraordinar [...]


Published: 2001

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.4 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

Blood and Feathers

by Lou Morgan

Alice isn’t having the best of days: she got rained on, missed her bus, was late for work. When two angels arrive, claiming her life so far is a lie, it turns epic, g [...]


Published: 2012

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.3 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

The Dirty Streets of Heaven

by Tad Williams

Sure, he takes the occasional trip to Heaven, but his job as an advocate - arguing the fate of the recently deceased - keeps him pretty busy on Earth, and he's more tha [...]


Published: 2012

Score: 92

Our rating: 9.1 | 1 positive reader reviews

15+

Monster Republic

by Ben Horton

An explosion in a nuclear power plant. Kids patched up with scavenged body parts and bionic implants. A growing army of superhuman soldiers programmed for destruction. ' [...]


Published: 2009

Score: 91

Our rating: 9.1 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+