The Iron Witch

Author: Karen Mahoney

Publisher: Flux

Series: The Iron Witch (#1)

Genre: YA Fantasy (Paranormal)

Rating:  2.5/5

Recommendation: 15+, Paranormal romance fans

From Goodreads:

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.

This book wasn’t great. The cover is lovely and the premise is interesting but the book just didn’t deliver. It’s the first in a series and I can honestly say I have no desire to read further.

The Good:

  • The premise is a good one. The dark fey thing is overdone at this point but the inclusion of Donna’s tragic back story, iron tattoos, and alchemists made it intriguing enough to read.

The Bad:

  • The alchemist thing never fleshed out for me, not least because we never really got to meet any of them, other than Donna, for more than a few paragraphs. Not only that, despite being taught by these people and trained in this secret order her entire life Donna felt pretty clueless about the whole thing, beyond the basics, for much of the story.
  • This book falls into the Parental abandonment trope that so much YA suffers from. Dead father, mother in an asylum, guardian is an aunt who’s absent through most of the book with work. The thing is, considering the way she lost her parent’s you’d think that Donna’s relationship with her aunt would be important even if it wasn’t a good one, especially since she too is an alchemist and all.
  • Donna as a whole fell flat for me. I just wasn’t interested, and that’s a story killer.
  • The triangle, or lack thereof. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate YA love triangles, it’s overused and typically over dramatic. But in this case I couldn’t figure out if it’s even intended to be one. I’m assuming yes, but there was no chemistry between Navin and Donna (and really the told but not shown chemistry with Xan fell flat for me too).
  • Xan- I felt like for someone who has a hatred for Faerie, understandable considering her parents, and has been trained as an alchemist all her life Donna was too eager and willing to trust Xan. Plus, he was just so damn convenient it felt forced. Alchemist and Half-fey randomly meet cute at a house party, date, and defy the queen of fey, all in two or three short days! It’s amazing!

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re a fan of  dark YA paranormal romance with Fairies try Holly Black or Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely Series.

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