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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

I was going to post this yesterday, but in light of not only my birthday, but 9/11 I didn't find it fit to make a post.

Book:  The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Acquired: Walden Books

Retail Price: $9.95

Sale Price: $7.85

Number of Pages: 289

Synopsis: Cursed by a magical legacy

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.

Summary: The Iron Witch is about Donna, the daughter of two of the strongest alchemists in her clan. After her father was killed and her mother was institutionalized, Donna was sent to live with her aunt. She is home schooled by the clan ever since a particularly bad indecent of being bullied at her old school. The only friend she's had since that horrible day is her best friend Navin, who has a tendency of pushing her to do things out of her comfort zone.

Donna knows what the fey look like and has seen them once upon a time in her past, but since then she hasn't had a run in with the horrid creatures. When she realizes that Navin and Maker have been taken by the Fey, she sets out to find the old path leading to the Wood Queen. She is prepared to make a deal that could break every code that she has learned in her training with the Alchemists. However, people don't just simply slip in to the Elflands. She needs the help of a born Fey to get her in. Lucky for her, Xan, a charismatic guy just happens to have the information that she is looking for.

Stars: ★★★★

Review: This book was a little different than most of the books I've read recently. It was wonderful, however it took me a little bit before I was able to get into the concept of not only what was happening, but the writing style of the book. The book skips back and forth between the present, Donna's journal, and flashbacks. The flashbacks slow down towards the end of the book, which I was personally thankful for since they only seemed to slow down the pace of the book and weren't entirely necessary to the plot line.

I have mixed feelings about the way Donna was written as the main character. She seems to find he backbone after a while, however it seems she content just costing by in life. It isn't until her best friend is kidnapped that she starts to question if the alchemists are doing what they claim to be doing and are they really "good people". The book seems to jump back and forth in this concept; are alchemists good or bad? Reflecting on the stories of alchemists I don't think it's that straight forward of a concept. They are a little of both. They are people who contribute to modern chemistry and science, however they are greedy and greed can cloud judgement. To me, it's not as black and white as the book presents it.

The one thing that really frustrated me in regards to the plot line was how long it took to explain the characters and their relationships. Not to mention, the tension building to the final even in the book. It was finally mere pages from the end that they are confronting the main issue, and to me by the time it got there everything in the peak of the book was rushed. In books, a lot can be assumed in relationships and appearances. That's the lovely thing about books. When I read a book it's a completely if my husband was to also read it. That's because so much in a book is supposed to be left to the imaginations of readers. When you take an entire book explaining how a person reacts to one situation in their life, it become dull and draws a lot of the magic out of the story. I feel that the book could have been used better to delve more into the events of the actual big issue that the book left twenty pages to actually delve into. There was only a few paragraphs of Donna confronting the Skriker. I figured since that was a huge part of Donna's problems and would be a larger part of the book, but I guess I was mistaken.

Now after all I have explained, you probably think I didn't like the book. Although I find there was a lot of problems with the writing of the book, I did like the concept. I was able to put my feelings aside in regards to the way it was written enough to enjoy the book and I'm glad I was. It's much different then many books i have read lately. Most books these days are about vampires, werewolves, and yes about good fey. But not much is written about alchemy and the long battle that has been existing in myths for years. I enjoyed myself lots and plan on reading the sequel The Wood Queen.

Choosing a quote was difficult, but I decided the quote explaining the beautiful marks that mar Donna's arms:
"From mid-forearm to the tips of her fingers, Donna's arms and 
hands were covered with swirling silver artwork. It was as if a
tattoo artist had created a spectacular silver pigment and used
it to ink her arms with intricate whorls and curves; curls that 
extend down to her wrists, and then across the backs of her 
hands and down each finger. If you looked quickly, there
was an illusion that her hands and arms were made of metal-
it was only when you looked properly that you realized a
delicate pattern enclosed her flesh."

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