I know I’m a little behind on this review, but I guess I put off reading this one because I haven’t overly enjoyed other Fey stories in the past. I am however really glad I read The Iron Witch.
The Iron Witch
Author: Karen Mahoney
Series: The Iron Witch #1
UK Publisher: Random House Children's Books
UK release date: January 2011
Genre: Contemporary YA, Faerie
Seventeen year old Donna has a secret. As a child, her hands and arms were mutilated by a Fey wood monster. She has been brought up learning about the Fey as well as having iron surgery on her hands. With ties to the Order of the Dragon, a secret sect charged with protecting humans from the Fey, she’s kept everything hidden from her best friend Navin for three years, but when she meets Xan events start happening that force her to bear all.
Review: Donna is a charming mixture of fiery resolve and insecurity. Her hands, rebuilt and woven with iron, not only give her strength and power but make her feel like an outcast from her peers. Despite her ability to fight Fey with her iron hands, Donna is certainly a character that I could relate too, and her moments of shyness and awkwardness take me back to that age. Although The Iron Witch is written in third person, diary extracts give us an insight into Donna’s past and feelings, without feeling constructed or deliberate.
Donna immediately relates to Xan because he too has a secret and exists on the edge of the popular crowd. The connection and common knowledge they share makes me feel as Donna does, easily enamoured with Xan’s rough exterior and caring character.
Other minor characters including those belonging to the Order of the Dragon were touched upon in enough detail for you to know something odd is going on, but left enough back to keep the mystery and leave potential openings for the next stories. The fact that the 'good' guys are suspicious presents an interesting dichotomy for Donna, as well as adding varying levels of antagonsits to the story.
With Donna's iron hands, Karen Mahoney gives an interesting twist and approach to the Faerie element, adding in scientific and alchemical elements which for me make the story far more interesting than I expected.
I don’t normally like Faerie stories, but I really enjoyed The Iron Witch. It has a perfect blend of Fey mystery and legend, teenage worries and enchanting characters.
Look out for the next in the series, The Wood Queen, coming out in 2012.