Book Review: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

The Iron Witch is a contemporary fantasy novel by British author, Karen Mahoney. It is the first book in the Ironbridge Chronicles. It was published on 20th January by Random House Children’s Books and is 312 pages long. Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy for review.

Donna Underwood is a freak. At least that’s what all but one of her classmates think of her. Luckily for Donna, she has best friend Navin to keep her calm. When Donna was seven years old, her father was murdered in a terrible fey attack and her mother, now in a mental institute, is quite insane. Donna didn’t come out of the attack totally unharmed though. As a daughter of alchemists, her life was saved by the magical iron tattoos that run through her hands and arms.

Things in the human world are not as they seem and the darkest outcasts of Faerie have come out to play. The wood elves have abducted Navin, forcing Donna to accept her real place in a war bigger than what she thought. Accepting some help from the slightly mysterious but extremely handsome Xan who also happens to be half fey, is more than Donna is used to. She isn’t even used to having more than one friend. In order to save Navin, Donna must go against everything that the alchemist world and her parents ever taught her. Will it be worth the risk?

What I thought
The cover for The Iron Witch is absolutely gorgeous. Even though I received an ARC copy for review from the publishers, had I seen this in a book shop, I would have bought it instantly. I love a book with a strong, beautiful cover that actually fits in extremely well with the story. I was thrilled when I found out that I was getting this for review and I picked it up nearly as soon as I got it.

Donna was a fantastic female MC. Even though she has a strange life, she does still try to be as normal as she can with her best friend, Navin. I was glad to see her have such a great friend, someone who would do anything for her though as I can imagine how sad and lonely she would have been without him. Considering everything that she had been through in her life, I wasn’t expecting her to be as brave as she was. As soon as bad things began to happen, Donna was ready to go through hell to do what had to be done. I loved this side to her and I was routing for her to figure something out the whole time. As much as I loved her strength and determination, I also loved that she had a softer side. Donna isn’t afraid to admit that her life hasn’t been easy and she seems to have come to terms with not having any friends. Again, her strength shows through here as she doesn’t let anyone know how much it bothers her.

Xan was also great! It is quite strange for me to like all of the MCs in a book but Karen Mahoney has created people that I couldn’t help but love. He was mysterious, sexy and just want Donna needed. Navin can only understand so much but Xan has ties to a world that Donna knows a fair bit about. Not only is he part fae, but he is also quite a loner, despite the massive parties he throws and the reputation that proceeds him. Donna gaining him as a friend and ally, may be one of the best things that ever happens to her. Although I liked him a lot, I think there is a lot more to come from Xan. Even though he was quite open with Donna, I think he is hiding secrets and if he is, I cant wait to see what they are.

The Iron Witch was a lot more exciting and action packed than I thought it would be. The story starts off at a lovely pace, letting the reader get to know the characters and to love them so that when everything starts happening, there is a strong connection there. There is a lot more that I still want to know about Donna and especially Xan so I’m hoping that the character development is just as strong in the second book. The action is mixed very well with getting to know the characters and what Donna’s marks are all about. The Iron Witch had the perfect blend for me and because of this, I couldn’t put it down. I began reading, planning to read a couple of chapters and by the time I knew it, I was over half way through and just had to keep going.

The Iron Witch is intense, magical and addictive. Not a book to be missed.


  1. Like most bloggers I have had my eye on Iron Witch for quite sometime. Like you I love the cover and would probably buy the book for this reason alone. It is really good to know that the characters are so well drawn and the plot is exciting and action packed.Cannot wait to read this one. Thanks for a good review!

  2. The cover is gorgeous on screen, and I can't wait to actually see it! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Donna seemed like a well rounded character, and I can't wait to read about her adventures, as well as the other characters.

    Awesome review!

  3. I'm so not a fan of fairies and books and yet I'm dying to read this one. Fab review :)

  4. I can't wait to read this one. I love that you say the action and the blend of characterisation is your perfect balance.


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