- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: Flux; Original edition (8 February 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 073872582X
- ISBN-13: 978-0738725826
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 249 g
- Customer Reviews: 27 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 465,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Iron Witch Paperback – 8 February 2011
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"Dark around the edges, but shiny at heart, this is a worthy addition to the YA paranormal shelf." --Michael M. Jones
"Mahoney's debut sizzles with romance and alchemical swashbuckling ... A captivating read." --Tiffany Trent, author of In the Serpent's Coils
"Teen girls will love the descriptions of Donna's feelings about her new love interest, and the details about clothing, friendship, and her attempts to fit in. Fantasy lovers will enjoy reading about a different world trying to hide in ours. This book should prove to be the beginning of a popular series." --School Library Journal
"This story has it all for fans of (sub)urban: vicious adversaries, devoted friendship and first romance." --Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Karen Mahoney (United Kingdom) has been published in the anthologies The Eternal Kiss and Kiss Me Deadly (both by Running Press). She has a highly trafficked blog and is also part of a group blog that includes New York Timesbestselling authors. Visit her online at KazMahoney.com.
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Top international reviews
One flaw that has been massively overstated by a lot of reviews I have read of this book is its lack of originality. My question is this, does everything have to be original? No, this book as no new ideas and the characters are pretty cliched but that does't stop it being enjoyable. It's called the Katy Perry effect, (called that by me any way). Her music is about as original as the sun rising in the east, yet millions flock to her gigs and illegally download her music.
The iron witch follows Donna, a girl labeled freak, and who lost her parents at a young age. As far as YA heroins go that's about as well qualified as you can get. She's likeable enough I guess, she does at least recognise when she's being a self pitying goon, unlike some heroins (cough Bella cough) who just moan at us until our ears bleed.
The prerequisite slightly otherworldly love interest role is fulfilled by Xan. He's probably the most interesting character in the story, slightly tragic, relatable, and not a sparkly vampire.
Then we've got Nav. Oh dear. I dislike Nav, his only reason for existing is to set up a love triangle in the second book. I will gladly eat those words if the author avoids the overdone love triangle, but I just don't see it happening. Apart from the cynical love triangle bait that he is, I suppose I've read worse best friend characters. I think Nav would have been better as a girl though, that way we could avoid all temptation of a love triangle in future books and, well, I just think the best friend role would be better filled by a girl.
The plot is not especially twisty, in fact, it's dead straight. I've seen planks of wood with more twists. But that's not necessarily a bad thing either, again, the book's length negates the need for excessive plot twists. The characters are given a hurdle, and 300 pages in which to jump it, that's okay.
One thing I do like is that there's a same sex relationship in there. Granted, it's between two creepy old men, but it's still a step in the right direction as it's something YA fiction avoids like the plague.
Finally, I'm not one for judging a book by its cover, but I really like the cover art, I don't know why, I just do.
So, wrapping up, is The Iron Witch wort your time and money? I think so, if you're into the whole YA supernatural thing and you go into it with expectations firmly under control. This book is a nice distraction and is short enough to not outstay its welcome. It's not going to revolutionise the genre and there are certainly better books around. But there are worse books too.
For those like me who prefer first person, Karen makes is much easier to connect with Donna by having the occasional 'excerpt' from Donna's journal. Those little glimpses, and there are only a few, gave me the extra insight in to Donna's mind and her past that I needed to connect with her better, and through her the rest of the story. I did sometimes feel a disconnect with her, but I've got a feeling that was me being very sick while I was reading the book, than the writing itself. Donna is someone who doesn't seem to have a lot of confidence outwardly, but internally has a strength I love! She's an outsider, with just her best friend Navin for company. But Navin knows nothing of her 'other' side, the faeries, the alchemy, or that her hands are literally laced with iron after a horrific event in her past. I adored the friendship between the two, the loyalty, trust and how it changed throughout the book with the new troubles thrown their way. Donna is fiercely loyal, willing to fight as hard as she needs to protect those she loves, and it's probably my favourite thing about her.
The story itself is dark, twisting and yes, very rich in mythology and magic. But instead of finding myself switching off as things were explained and described, I found myself wanting more. I needed more, I wanted to understand all the why's and how's of how Donna's world works. It's so complex, and believable and brilliant! Little things kept being revealed and added throughout the book so it's not all given at once, so there isn't an info overload at any point. It's a fairly intense read, particularly the second half, but there are the odd lighter moments as well. The occasional semblance of complete normalcy which made me smile. It only happens a couple times, but I loved it.
There is a romantic plot to the book as well, in the form of Xan. I enjoyed the relationship between him and Donna, how it grew and the way they connect with each other. It's sweet and cute and manages to be pretty hot most of the time as well. Except, I don't entirely like Xan. It took me a long while to really warm up to him. He's mysterious. It adds a tension to their scenes, for me at least, which I actually really enjoy. But I'm curious to see where things go in book 2, The Wood Queen.
Overall it's a really great debut! Some fantastic world building, great characters and a twisting story that really kept me guessing! It's dark, mysterious, rich in secrets and mythology, and above all brilliant!! The ending in particular really stood out to me and left me hungry for more. There isn't a cliff hanger to it, but there may as well have been. I could have happily jumped straight in to The Wood Queen to find out what happens next because while there is a lot wrapped up within this book, there is still plenty left to be explained and explored. I highly recommend this book, especially if you're a fan of Fey stories and/or those rich in mythology. And even if you're not, read it anyways because it's a fantastic story!
Freak. Das ist es, was sie die siebzehnjährige Donna Underwood an der Ironbridge Highschool nennen. Der schreckliche Angriff eines Dunkelelfs hat ihren Vater getötet als Donna noch ein Kind war und ließ sie mit Tätowierungen an Händen und Armen zurück, Tätowierungen aus Eisen - gemischt mit der Magie der Alchemisten, die Donna damals das Leben rettete. Jetzt, nach zehn Jahren, muss Donna den Wunsch normal zu sein vergessen und ihre Rolle in dem Jahrhunderte alten Kampf gegen die ausgestoßenen Dunkelelfen akzeptieren. Denn die Dunkelelfen sind zurück. Sie verfolgen Donna und entführen ihren besten Freund Navin. Unterstützt von Xan, einem Jungen mit einem großem Geheimnis, muss Donna ihrem besten Freund das Leben retten und das bedeutet den Verrat eines weltweit gut gehüteten Geheimnisses und die Konfrontation mit dem, was ihre Familie einst zerstört hat....
Tolles Cover, tolle Umsetzung. Perfekt zum Thema.
Erst einmal ne kleine Anmerkung. Ich habe den Klappentext ein bisschen verändert, da der original dem Buch nicht wirklich nahe kommt. Schon allein der erste Satz...tzz, haben die Leute die das geschrieben haben, das Buch wirklich gelesen? Schon im ersten Kapitel wird erklärt, das Donna zu Hause unterrichtet wird, weil sie von der Schule geflogen ist. Naja, man kann den Satz ja auch anders verstehen...
Kennt ihr das? Ihr lest ein Buch, mögt es, findet es sogar ganz gut, doch wirklich begeistert seid ihr nicht davon? So geht es mir mit The Iron Witch. Dass, was ich die ganze Zeit über gedacht habe war: dieses Buch ist wirklich etwas für Fans von Melissa Maars Elfenbüchern. Ich habe Gegen das Sommerlicht von ihr gelesen und fand es eigentlich sehr gut. Eigentlich, weil mich eben viele Dinge gestört haben. Bei Melissa Maar haben mich z. B. die vielen Zwischenkapitel über Nebenhandlungen ein wenig gelangweilt, das ist hier ganz anders gewesen. In diesem Buch wünscht man sich jedoch regelrecht ein paar mehr Informationen. Der Einstieg ins Buch war für meinen Geschmack einwenig zu unspektakulär und ließ direkt so manche Handlungsansätze, wenn nicht sogar kommende Ereignisse erahnen. Vieles war sehr durchschaubar, die Handlung sehr übersichtlich, was das Ganze nicht gerade spannend gemacht hat. Es gab wirklich keine einzige Stelle, an der ich den Atem anhalten musste, an der ich unbedingt wissen wollte wie es denn weiter geht. Trotzdem hat die Geschichte ihren gewissen Reiz. Ich wusste ja, dass dies der 1. Band einer mehrteiligen Reihe wird, von daher kann ich die etwas lahmen Szenen verzeihen. Es gibt nämlich viele Dinge, die mir ausgesprochen gut gefallen haben!
Da wäre zum einen die Idee mit den Alchemisten. Klar, das Wort schafft jetzt erstmal viele Assoziationen und der Begriff Stein der Weisen ist gar nicht neu, aber dennoch hat die Autorin viele, viele gute Ansäte/Ideen mit in ihr Buch eingebracht und das hat in meinen Augen noch sehr viel Potenzial für weitere Teile. Donnas Hände und Arme, die mit Magie gerettet wurden und diese filigranen Tattoos zurück ließen, der Alchemistenunterricht, die Welt der Dunkelelfen - das hat mich dazu gebracht weiter zu lesen und das Buch zu mögen.
Donnas Tagebucheinträge, die zwischendurch immer Mal wieder kommen waren wirklich erfrischen zu lesen. Ich glaube es hätte dem Buch sehr viel besser getan komplett in der Ich-Form geschrieben worden zu sein. Dadurch wäre Donna sympathischer und nicht so flach erschienen. Zwar hat sowohl Donna als Auch Xan eine gute Hintergrund Geschichte, die interessant ist, aber irgendwie kommen die Emotionen dabei nicht so wirklich rüber. Es fehlt einfach der Tiefgang, die schönen Dialoge, die man aus anderen Büchern kennt - hier wird mehr erklärt als gefühlt.
Im Großen und Ganzen war das Buch unterhaltsam, flüssig und gut zu lesen. An so manchen Stellen könnte die Autorin noch an ihrem Schreibstil feilen und natürlich mehr Spannung einbringen! Es kann auch sein, das ich einfach nachdem ich Bücher wie die Tribute von Panem gelesen habe etwas zu anspruchsvoll geworden bin, was das angeht.
Noch etwas. Am Ende des Buches erzählt die Autorin ein paar Hintergrundinfos zu ihrer Recherche und Motivation zum Buch. Das fand ich wirklich klasse und war Mal was anderes als das übliche Dankeschön an blablabla...ich fände es super, wenn mehr Autoren so was abdrucken lassen würden! :)
Für Fans von Melissa Marr würde ich das Buch auf jeden Fall empfehlen- Wer kurzweilige Unterhaltung im Bereich Fantasy sucht ist hier auch gut bedient. Ich freue mich auf Band 2 und gehe mit vielen Erwartungen daran.
Que dire ? Cette lecture a été pleinement réjouissante, surtout au début, au moment de découvrir dans quel monde on mettait les pieds. La suite offre un délicieux cocktail où aventure rime avec passion (oui, dans l'idée). Mais bon...
Donna Underwood, 17 ans, porte des tatouages argentés sur les bras et les mains. Elle porte constamment des gants, se sent monstrueuse et ne va plus au lycée pour éviter le regard des autres. Son meilleur ami, Navin Sharma, la force à se bouger les fesses afin d'entretenir un semblant de vie sociale (en gros, elle vit seule chez sa tante, depuis la mort de ses parents). Et c'est de cette façon qu'elle rencontre Xan. Beaucoup de charme, de mystère et de culot au compteur.
Les événements se bousculent dès lors que Donna et Navin sont attaqués par un elfe de la forêt. Et cela s'accentue lorsqu'on découvre que Donna est fille d'alchimistes et vit selon les règles de l'Ordre du Dragon. Et même Xan, de son côté, n'est pas QUE le beau gosse du roman...
Bon, inutile de tout révéler.
L'histoire est sympa, mais elle n'étonne pas. Les personnages sont attachants, mais je sens venir le triangle amoureux à des kilomètres - pouah. De plus, la relation amoureuse m'est apparue bancale. Tantôt irrésistible et craquante, tantôt pondérée et encombrante. Je ne sais pas, c'est indescriptible. J'ai été charmée par cette histoire, que je trouve distrayante. Par contre je ne la considère pas indispensable, et lire la suite ne sera peut-être pas dans mes priorités non plus.
La couverture est superbe !
The writing is clear and well put. Good for imagery. Couldn't stop reading and hated waiting between novels!
She couldn't handle going to regular school and has been home-schooled for years. Her best, and only, friend is her next door neighbor Navin Sharma. But she has been keeping secrets from him too.
One night Nav convinces her to go to a party and she meets Xan Grayson who has also retreated to the roof to get away from the party he's hosting. They are attracted to each other and seem to have things in common.
When Navin is captured by wood elves, Donna calls on Xan who is half-faerie to help her get him back. The wood queen makes a difficult demand. Donna needs to exchange the elixir of life for him if she wants to take him home. Donna had thought the elixir was a myth but she goes to the home of the head of the order of alchemists to try to find it.
She has her suspicions about what the order wants and she is quite sure that she doesn't want to become a member when she grows up despite the assumption that that will be her future. The story was filled with interesting characters. I liked Donna and her friendship with Nav. I also liked her beginning of a romance with Xan.
This is the first book of a trilogy but it doesn't end with a cliffhanger. There are still questions to be answered but the main action in this one comes to a satisfying conclusion.
I think that this is a spectacular debut novel by Ms. Mahoney. As we see the events unfold through Donna's perspective, I feel it's appropriate that we don't learn much about the Order, her parents, and alchemy because Donna doesn't know these things. Donna is scared, but she finds the courage to challenge everything she's believed to save the one person who has always stuck by her - which definitely lives up to the name the elves have given Donna, "The Iron Witch". With secrets within secrets and webs of deception to unravel, Donna has a long road ahead of her and I look forward to taking each step as she does. The world that Ms. Mahoney created is very unique and intriguing. A must read debut novel!!
The Iron Witch Series: The Iron Witch (1), The Wood Queen (2), The Stone Demon (3)
So the issues I had with THE IRON WITCH were in regards to all the seemingly unnecessary build up and filler, which make up the majority of the book's content.. where not a lot happens and I found my self skimming the pages to get through the minutia and get back to the actual plot. By the end of the story, it is obvious there will be another installment of THE IRON WITCH to follow and maybe this is the reason for all the excess information. With the likable characters and the involved setup, my hope is that the next book will be a stronger read and I'm willing to stick with Mahoney on this one and give the series a chance.
This book was creative and epic. I'm a huge lover of Fey novels (in fact, Need by Carrie Jones is the book that got me into reading again!), and I knew that I would love this book.
First, the writing. Karen Mahoney writes this book in third person, although there is some parts called "Donna Underwood's Journal", which is written in first person. Mahoney's writing style was beautiful. When talking about magical creatures/objects, I feel the need for the author to have a good writing style to actually make me think that these things can actually happen (even though it's fiction, of course). And Karen Mahoney succeeded big time! I loved reading the words off the page, and the writing style was just marvelous.
Next, the characters. This is the part that knocked the book down from a 5-star to a 4-star. My favorite character was Xan. He was sarcastic and quirky and I thought that he was just a really awesome character. Donna was a good character, but I found her a bit whiny at some times and she asks so many questions! When one character (mostly Xan) did one thing, Donna would usually question it. It is good to have a mind of curiosity, but when you ask a lot of questions, maybe you just wait and see what will come of it and be satisfied with it. Navin was a good character, but to be honest, I found him almost invisible sometimes. Like he wasn't part of the story.
Then, there's the setting. I'm not sure why, but with fey novels, I always love the settings! I like how they describe maybe the woods or there's a part where they're in a mansion. This is another part where Karen Mahoney's writing style shines.
Finally, the novel itself. Karen Mahoney's debut novel was a very intriguing story with a beautiful writing style, but unfortunately, it contained a very flawed protagonist.
The message for young women is also a positive one. Donna is "different" in a very physical way but it is her difference that gives her a particular independence and strength. She likes boys, but she exists, thinks and acts on the power within her inner self rather than giving up this power to the male figures in her life. He takes responsibility and action on her own. When the guys are there, they are actually helping her rather than directing her.
The first half of the book moves a bit slower than the second half, but I anticipated this. We need to meet Donna, hear a little of her back story, learn some of the rules of the alchemist mythos and get to become better acquainted with the human and non-human pals; this takes time but it's not overwrought. The second half races along at a very good clip as Donna displays the true meaning of friendship and potential future romance.
For a Young Adult book, this old man liked the book very much. Well done, Ms. Mahoney.
1) The narration. For some reason, it seemed as though the narration was written in first person and then, at the last minute, it was re-written in third person. A lot of the description used the words "dude" and "guy", which I would understand from the point of view of a 16 year old narrator. However, as it was not written in the first person it was a little off putting.
2) A lot of things happened quickly. The relationship between Xan and Donna started of sweetly enough, but then became unbelievable, especially given Donna's reactions to Xan. We hardly got to know him through their dialogue.
3) Now this last issue has nothing to do with the way the book was written, it's just my preference. I'm not a fan of books with love triangles, especially when the protagonist is ignorant of the blatant display of affection by their best friend. Also not a fan when the best friend is constantly around and getting into trouble.
Putting these issues aside, the plot has a lot of potential, and while I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to, I am interested in reading the sequel.