The Iron Witch

Karen Mahoney, Author
Karen Mahoney, Flux, $9.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-7387-2582-6
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Prebound-Glued - 299 pages - 978-0-606-23486-3
Paperback - 289 pages - 978-0-552-56381-9
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4464-0305-1
Open Ebook - 978-0-7387-2988-6
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Mahoney's debut novel mines the familiar turf of the adolescent with magical abilities who just wants to be "normal." Donna Underwood, survivor of a faerie attack in the Ironwood years earlier, lives in Ironbridge, Mass., where she's been kicked out of high school and receives "homeschooling" from an alchemical society that saved her life by tattooing and reinforcing her arms with iron, giving her superhuman strength. Donna's best friend, Navin, tries to keep her in the flow of ordinary teenage life, taking her to parties like the one thrown by the mysterious Xan Grayson. It quickly becomes apparent that Xan's secrets are akin to Donna's. It's also clear that malignant elves from the Ironwood are starting to infiltrate the town, but why? Questions become crises when Navin disappears, and Donna must choose between keeping her secrets and saving her friend. Back-story takes precedence over present action in this installment, with info dumps taking the form of Donna's diary and conversations with out-of-the-loop characters. But although Mahoney's story takes a while to get going, she lays intriguing groundwork for later books. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
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