Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
The Iron Witch:
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.
Karen Mahoney's incredible imagination drew me right into her book. Her world of Alchemists (practitioners of magic) and faeries exists right alongside the everyday normal world, and danger awaits those that cross its boundaries. Karen's unique Fae mythology and Alchemy history woven throughout the story was completely refreshing. Her characters are well rounded and likeable. The main character, Donna and her family belong to an Alchemist group known as the Order of the Dragon, and after she becomes an orphan she is taken in by her aunt and is taught their way of life. Donna, is definitely no wilting flower, she is strong and independent -- and never waits for the guy to step in to protect her. Donna's relationship with Navin, her best friend, is unshakeable; even when she tells him of the Otherworld, and the truth about why she covers her hands and arms. When she first meets Xan, she feels a strange connection to him, and as they get to know each other, she turns to him for help in recovering Navin from the elves. To get Navin back, Donna must find a mysterious elixir that the elf Queen wants and this leads them on a secret search of the home of the leader of the Order, where things become even more puzzling for Donna. Suddenly she is not so confident she can trust the people surrounding her anymore, but at the same time, she knows she cannot trust the wood elves. The book does end on a happy note, but with unfinished threads that leave you craving the next book, The Wood Queen.