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The Iron Witch (The Iron Witch Series) [Kindle Edition]

Karen Mahoney
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood’s father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. Only her relationship with her best friend, Navin, is keeping her sane.

But when vicious wood elves abduct Navin, Donna is forced to accept her role in the centuries-old war between human alchemists and these darkest outcasts of Faerie. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous guy with faery blood running through his veins and secrets of his own, Donna races to save Navin—even if it means betraying everything her parents fought to the death to protect.

“Dark and beautiful, sensual and dangerous, utterly enthralling. . . You’ll fall under this book’s spell.”—Richelle Mead, New York Times bestselling author

“Mahoney’s debut sizzles with romance and alchemical swashbuckling. . .  A captivating read.”
—Tiffany Trent, author of In the Serpent’s Coils

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Donna Underwood is not your typical high school senior. At a party, she meets Alexander (Xan), who is also anything but typical, and in fact bears the scars on his back from where his wings were removed. Donna wears elbow-length gloves to cover up her iron hands, made for her when she was seven and her father was killed, her mother driven insane, and Donna burned by a terrifying creature called Skriker. These teens are trying to act normal in the world of the "commoners," but Donna is forced to use her atypical strength and knowledge about the fey world to save her friend Navin, with Xan's help. Teen girls will love the descriptions of Donna's feelings about her new love interest, Xan, 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. There are subtle references to sex and underage drinking and drug use. At the end, readers are aware of more to come, and this book should prove to be the beginning of a popular series.-Kathy Kirchoefer, Prince Georges County Memorial Library System, New Carrollton, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Fifteen-year-old Donna�called �Iron Witch� by the foul wood elves because of the fusion of iron, silver, and flesh on her forearms�reluctantly reveals her identity as the youngest member of the alchemical Dragon Order, first to her best friend, Navin, and then to the more enigmatic Alexander. The reappearance of the elves in the contemporary world means something is seriously amiss, and when Navin is kidnapped, Donna discovers that his ransom is the last vial of the order�s Elixir of Life. Donna�s family history is compelling, but the present thread of her story suffers from slow pacing and a lack of any strong sense of urgency. A potential love triangle offers readers a way to bond with the main characters, despite its predictable outcome. However, some secondary characters show promise as future bad seeds in what may be more gripping sequels in this proposed trilogy. Hand this book to fans of Melissa Marr. Grades 6-9. --Cindy Welch

Product Details

  • File Size: 1223 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Flux; Original edition (September 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,540 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
THE IRON WITCH throws readers right into the middle of the story using numerous vague references to The Incident that got her kicked out of school and a traumatic childhood experience that left her an orphan. Normally, I like stories that allow me to dive right into to the good stuff, but in THE IRON WITCH I feel like an opportunity was missed to tell what arguably is the most interesting parts of Donna's story. Skipping past all that left me confused for the first third of the book and wrongly wondering if I hadn't missed an earlier book/novella.

Another side effect of beginning THE IRON WITCH when it does is that there is a rather lengthy info dump passage that we have to trudge through that somehow makes what really is a very interesting alchemy society and fey mythology seem dull. The alchemy does become more interesting as the book goes along and I can see it taking on an even more captivating role in future books.

I was also surprised by the choice to primarily use 3rd person POV for most of the book. There are a few journal entries from Donna which are written in 1st person POV and are easily the best parts of THE IRON WITCH. The 3rd person POV left me feeling a bit detached from the main characters, a feeling that wasn't helped by how prone they all were to wallowing in self pity constantly.

Despite the criticism above, there is a lot to like in THE IRON WITCH. Donna is essentially a magical bionic woman with her iron laced arms and the romance that sparks between her and Xan is genuine and sweetly romantic. There are a number of questions left unanswered at the end and plenty of hints dropped about possible betrayals and misplaced loyalties that should give this series life for several books to come. Bottom line, if you love Julie Kagawa's The Iron Fey series, you'll love THE IRON WITCH.

Sexual Content:
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a little flat, but w/an interesting and unique premise.. February 12, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
THE IRON WITCH.. I really wanted to enjoy this book more then I did. Now to clarify, where the problems I had with the book did not ly with the characters or even the plot it's self.. infact I found the premise of a girl with magically enhanced hands to be quite unique. Mahoney did a great job, in my opinion, creating a cast of appealing characters who's relationships were nicely entwined as well as complicated.

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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less wordy, more action February 14, 2011
By Amanda
For as long as she can remember, Donna Underwood has been labeled a freak. When she was seven years old, her father died protecting her and, in order to heal her damaged arms -as well as protect her from dark elves -her arms were tattooed with silver decorations through alchemy. Now living with her Aunt, Donna has grown into a teenager, living with the knowledge that her family is connected to a secret order of alchemists. Donna has few friends, mostly Navin, a long-time guy friend who may be something more. Then she meets Xan, who may be more than he seems. When Navin is kidnapped by dark elves, Donna and Xan must save him before it's too late...

For me, The Iron Witch almost felt like it can be divided into two parts: the wordy world-building part and the action part (which was actually interesting). Basically, about three-quarters of the book are what I would consider to be "wordy world-building." Thought there is some basic setting and character introductions, the majority of this section felt like it was purely world-building and introduction into the alchemy world and the Iron Witch's mythology. While the mythology and world Mahoney has created is fascinating and unique, it seemed like she dedicated all of her time to getting readers up to speed on alchemy, dark elves and faeries rather than advancing the plot or building her characters. In fact, Donna and Xan spend pages upon pages just talking about all the paranormal elements in the novel, with the majority of it being Xan asking Donna questions about herself and her strange world, with Donna giving straight answers -I felt like I was reading some kind of interview rather than a novel.

The last quarter of the novel, however, was considerably better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE WOODLAND LIBRARY: The Iron Witch April 28, 2011
When I first read the summary for The Iron Witch, I thought it sounded interesting and was intrigued by its promise of a mix between dark woodland fairies and alchemy. Then I read that the author actually got inspired by an article written by author Midori Snyder at the Endicott's Journal of Mythic Art about the fairytale "The Armless Maiden" and its different narratives called "The Armless Maiden and the Hero's Journey". That really got me excited. Anyone who knows, or refers to, the Endicott's Journal of Mythic Art deserves extra points for awesomeness in my book. Unfortunately, I must say, the awesomeness stopped there.

At age seven, Donna Underwood went through a nightmarish attack from the dark elves that killed her father and left her mother mad. It also left her almost fatally injured. Her survival was only due to the alchemical arts possessed by The Order of the Dragon's members to whom her parents belonged, which gave her iron and silver tattoos on her hands and arms. Now living with her aunt and ostracized from school the only thing helping Donna get through her days is her best friend Navin. But the dark elves are coming back into the city and are looking for something that she might possess ,and when they kidnap Navin, Donna will risk everything to get him back.

I am going to be honest here and say that I generally do not quite like YA paranormal books, with some exceptions, as I find that they often lack characterization, engaging writing (to me), and are too cliché when it comes to dealing with love stories and love triangles. I was hoping for this book to be different, but it wasn't. Not enough for me anyway.
Let me first start with what I like. I was genuinely intrigued by the world in The Iron Witch.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars "Bound By Oak and Ash..."
Donna Underwood is an unwelcome guest at a party when she decides to escape the whispers and stares and seek sanctuary in an upstairs bedroom. Read more
Published 6 months ago by R. M. Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good story.
Published 7 months ago by Great Books
2.0 out of 5 stars I wish they had said it would come with stickers ...
I wish they had said it would come with stickers all over it. I wouldn't have bought it than. I was buying this as a gift.
Published 9 months ago by Brittney
1.0 out of 5 stars Can not recommend.
Awful. That's the best word I can use to describe this train wreck of literary garbage. It's worse than Twilight. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Auggie
4.0 out of 5 stars YA Recommended
The Iron Witch is beginning to become an interesting addition to the latest series that I have been reading. Can't wait to see what happens next.
Published on January 22, 2013 by Regina_Linton
5.0 out of 5 stars rereading for the 2nd time
love this book. love the love story beind it all! What a great read! Friendship, betrayel, love, pain just what I needed
Published on December 18, 2012 by April M. Stacey
4.0 out of 5 stars The Iron Witch
The novel was an easy read. Donna is the typical teenager with emotions that are constantly swinging to and fro. Read more
Published on October 12, 2012 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Debut
Before I picked up this novel, I noticed that a lot of readers were only rating it with one or two stars, which was surprising to me, because the synopsis made the book sound... Read more
Published on October 9, 2012 by A Book Vacation
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Info For Such a Short Book
*I purchased this book when Border's was going out of business*

While I did like all of the characters in this book, I didn't love any of them. Read more
Published on October 5, 2012 by A. Rose
3.0 out of 5 stars A half-fey bad boy and a low self esteem alchemist girl use her...
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A half-fey bad boy and a low self esteem alchemist girl use her "enhancements" to rescue her best friend from... Read more
Published on September 26, 2012 by Dark Faerie Tales
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