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THE IRON WITCH by Karen Mahoney


by Karen Mahoney

Age Range: 13 - 16

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7387-2582-6
Publisher: Flux

This book begins and ends with a diary entry from the journal of Donna Underwood, whose strongest childhood memory—seeing her father killed—was followed by her mother’s entry to a private sanatorium. His killers, vicious wood elves, mangled Donna’s hands and arms so badly that only magical surgery would save them. Now the wood elves are back; they’ve kidnapped Donna’s friend, Navin, and, it’s up to Donna to save him. The protagonists of this fantasy adventure—Donna, Navin and romantic interest Zan—are well drawn and engaging. Secondary characters (mostly adults)—sketchily developed humans and fey—mainly exist to drive the solid plot. And what a plot! Complex in structure, it includes a secret society of alchemists whose motives are veiled, the mystery of Donna’s dad’s death and a budding romance between Donna and the half-fey Zan. The success of the story depends heavily upon the geographical contrast between small-town Ironbridge, Mass., and the dark forest that leads to the home of the wood elves. The suspense and tension built into the story lead to a smashing climax and an ambivalent solution. Enough plot threads are left dangling that readers should expect at least one sequel. This story has it all for fans of (sub)urban: vicious adversaries, devoted friendship and first romance. (Fantasy. 13-16)