Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Flux; Original edition (February 8, 2011)
Series: Iron Witch #1
Reviewed by: Tynga
Source: Review copy sent by Flux.
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.
Donna Underwood is no ordinary girl: Her dad died when she was young and her mom is suffering from a strange illness, she’s catatonic. And just like the old saying, “the apple never falls far from the tree”, her parents weren’t ordinary people either. They were Alchemists, highly respected ones, who’s duty was to protect Humanity from the Fae. Even though Donna was raised in their magical community, she mostly feels like an outsider, and doesn’t really understand what alchemy is all about. She will find herself smack in the middle of their old feud with the wood fae though, will she survive?
Karen’s debut novel was quite interesting. I appreciated the originality of her lore and loved that she compared the magic wield by the alchemists to science as opposed to flashy light bursting spells, World of Warcraft style. Enough of the whole Fae vs Alchemist was explained for the reader to understand what’s at stake, but since Donna doesn’t really know the extend of an alchemist’s power, we are also kept in the dark and I’m really anxious to discover more.
Donna is a sweet girl with the best intentions in the world, but she will take some bad decisions. I really liked that she is smart and capable and will do her best to work her way out of every situation. She proved level-headed and she seek-out help when she needs it, while staying away from the damsel in distress stereotype. I also noticed that she considered asking an adult for help at a few occasions, something we don’t see often enough in YA books. Donna is also surrounded by two lovely male characters: her best friend Navin and a hottie called Xan. If I had to pick a side I’d go with Xan but I’ll let you forge your own opinion on the matter *grins*
The story started a bit slow because of all the world building elements to include, but the momentum built-up steadily to end up through the roof.
If I had one complain to voice out it’d be that I would’ve loved to get more answers on what Donna can do. I have a feeling she’s very special and have abilities she’s not aware of and I wanna know more! I guess I’m gonna have to wait for the next book to feel sated… The end was also quite abrupt so I’m looking forward to discover the consequences of Donna’s actions.
A mysterious world where science and magic are closely intertwined to fight back the Fae: The Iron Witch will captivate you and leave you craving for more.
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