A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{April 26, 2011}   The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Plot: When Donna was seven, fey killed her father, destroyed her hands and took her mother from her. Her wounds were fixed through alchemy, leaving her arms scarred with iron tattoos. Now at seventeen, her life is about to be turned upside down again. She is growing suspicious of the alchemical society that raised her, her best friend Navin has taken by wood elves and she is falling in love with a boy who isn’t entirely human.

This is a good first novel with an interesting premise but some problems in the execution. The writing is a bit awkward; Mahoney has a habit of telling rather than showing. But this is not a huge problem. It is still an easy, engaging read. Fans of urban fantasy will enjoy it.

The plot sadly does not quite live up to its potential (though I do have hopes that Mahoney will develop it further in the next book). There is very little tension because for all of Donna’s fears, everything is always resolved very easily. It’s almost miraculous. The romance also left me dry: Donna and Xan fall in love within a page for no reason I can gather. I’m more interested in the friendship with Navin, to be honest. And those are the only three characters who are developped at all. A lot of names come up but we barely even encounter the actual characters.

I also fail to understand the purpose of the occasional diary entries that appear. The entire novel, while in the third person, is from Donna’s point of view. The do not offer a new perspective, narrative voice or even time period. It seems nothing more than an opportunity to add a first person narrator.

The second book in the series, The Wood Queen is due out in February 2012.

Challenges: 2011 Debut author challenge (1)


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