Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Iron Witch (Ironbridge Chronicles #1) by Karen Mahoney

Rating: 4 out of 5
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Flux (February 8, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 073872582X
ISBN-13: 978-0738725826
Due Out: 8 February 2011

First Sentence: "My father died saving my life when I was seven years old".

Donna Underwood is branded. After a near fatal accident as a child, that claimed the life of her father, she was put back together using magic. As a result her arms are covered in tattoos from the tops of fingers to her elbows, so she is literally branded. Donna comes from a long line of Alchemists and is being groomed to join the order. She has never had the need to question her life or do anything different. That is until her best friend Navin is kidnapped by wood elves, and Donna must rescue her friend or risk having him killed. As Donna races to save her friend she must make a decision that will either betray her family and the alchemist community, or betray her best friend.

Iron Witch is the debut novel of Karen Mahoney (though she has previously had some short stories published in two anthologies). I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance reader copy, which I don't get very often so I was pretty excited to have it. Not as excited as discovering the hidden Christmas presents before Christmas, but pretty close.

From the start I was hooked. I read this in about two days which is great for me, but bad for my house because my house chores got a smidgen neglected doh. Mahoney does a really good job of creating her world where alchemists and faerie have done battle for centuries. She has balanced information with story development so you don't feel bombarded with information and loose interest. You have the right amount of information to understand what is going on.

Donna, does not seem to fall into the usual paranormal female lead cliched traps. There are no hang ups, ditzy moments, or stupid moves (like going into a known murderers house with-out telling anyone). She is a well balanced, likable character. Donna is a tough, practical cookie, but is also caring and insecure. She does have her romance moments with the lead male which she acknowledges, and even makes fun of it, but doesn't let it lose her focus. Also she has had a really tough life but seems for the most part ok, not bitter, or destructive.

The support characters are also good. They all seem to have secrets and troubled pasts. There was not a character I disliked (other then the baddie) which is refreshing. The male love interest is not a tosser which is also refreshing and the best friend is not there purely for comic relief. Also both guys get a decent role in the book being part of Donna's life.

While the book is not an action thrill ride from start to finish, it does have spots of action, and then a good dose right at the end which makes it exciting. There is quite a bit of intrigue and mystery in this book which I am assuming will be addressed/revealed in later books.

On a non story note, the cover art is lovely. It also fits in with the book.

I will definitely read the next book in the series (rumoured to be The Wood Queen) when it is eventually released. For all those who enjoy paranormal and young adult literature then this will be right up your ally.


  1. This does sound good, Caspette! YA fiction is hit and miss with me, but I tend to like the ones with fantasy elements most. I am glad you enjoyed this one!

  2. I do love the cover art and it sounds like a good read!

  3. haha Mandy...I so hear you about the house falling apart when you get lost into a book. I only wish I had a magic helper who would keep ontop of things so that I could indulge in my book free of knowing that i should be doing housework.

    This book sounds great, and one that I should read. Please help remind me about this know, "hey Deanna have you picked up Iron Witch yet?" :) That could be a good gmail chat topic...nah...maybe not. hehe.
    It is going on my list right now.

  4. I'm glad to know you enjoyed the book so much. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

  5. Picked this up at the store and started it the other night. I'm really liking it so far!