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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Title: The Iron Witch
Author: Karen Mahoney
Publisher: Corgi
Published: 2011
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance

Find it at Amazon UK

The Blurb says...
Donna is a freak. An outcast. Branded with iron tattoos that cover her hands and arms, she is cursed with a magically-enhanced strength that she does everything she can to hide.

But now, the dark exiles of Faerie are coming and Donna must choose between saving her best friend - or betraying one of the world's greatest secrets.

My verdict: some really unusual and interesting plot elements woven together into a highly original story. Recommended for fans of dark faeries and paranormal romance.

This novel works with some interesting folklore, in the form of the Armless Maiden myth, and also combines traditional battles between the human and faery worlds, using lore relating to iron and alchemy. For these aspects, and the clear sense coming from then that Mahoney knows her stuff when it comes to folklore and myth, I enjoyed this book and am keen to know what will happen in the rest of the trilogy.

I was slightly disappointed in the telling of the story, however, and feel that in places a bit too much was withheld in order to create suspense.  The wrap-up at the end also felt quite abrupt and didn't answer all my questions - presumably in order to resolve those issues in later books. I haven't read widely in this genre, so maybe this is the norm for fantasy adventure/romance trilogies.

My favourite parts in terms of the writing were Donna's journal entries, which appear at various points and give us more insight into her personality via her voice. I would have liked more of this, as she is an engaging and feisty character. I also liked the character of Navin, the best friend whom she must save, and enjoyed the challenge to their friendship that Donna's secrets posed. The love interest, Xan, was suitably diffident and 'cool' at first, and has his own sense of mystery too, although I didn't trust him to start with and was concerned about Donna.  Unlike some other reviewers, though, I didn't feel her trusting him 'too soon' was necessarily unrealistic, as teens have been known to make unwise choices, especially with hormones in charge...

All in all, an enjoyable read which I am passing along to my 12 yr old, and I will be wanting to read the further books in the series to see what happens next.

This is my ninth review for the British Books Challenge hosted by The Bookette.

1 comment:

  1. 9 books already. Well done. I've been really dropping the ball on this, I'm reading the books, but the reviews are not forthcoming. I shall try this weekend.


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