Tag Archives: faerie

The Iron Witch (Book 1) – Karen Mahoney
Book Reviews
February 19, 2011 posted by Kiona

The Iron Witch (Book 1) – Karen Mahoney

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 outcast 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 to protect.

Donna Underwood wears long, velvet gloves everyday to hide what her classmates think are skin graphs. But really, Donna is hiding the swirling silver tattoos that reach from her fingertips almost to her elbows. These tattoos saved her life when she was attacked as a child, but her mother and father weren’t so lucky. No seventeen, Donna has trust issues and she feels like she can’t even confide in her best and only friend, Navin. That is, until she meets Xan.

The Iron Witch, Karen Mahoney’s debut novel, is a blend of the faerie and alchemical worlds. The beginning of the book is a bit slow, but provides back story and introduces the fascinating world of alchemy. Donna belongs to an ancient alchemical order, the Order of the Dragon, and hearing about her world is intriguing, but also realistic. Sometimes I feel like the faerie world is overdone, but The Iron Witch offers a new slant on the fey and doesn’t go overboard. Mahoney does a great job of balancing the real world with a magical one.

I found Donna to be a very likable protagonist. She’s never mopey. Anytime she starts feeling bad for herself, she catches herself and realizes that instead of sitting around sulking, she can actually do something. She is a girl of action. Even though she knows she’s not invincible, she’s also not afraid to take chances. I also enjoyed reading about her budding relationship with Xan. She’s taken care of herself for so long that it’s hard for her to open up to others. When she finds herself reaching for Xan’s hand when she’s scared, she realizes that although she might not need him to protect her, it’s okay to let herself be comforted by others. This realization struck me as very honest and mature.

Navin and Xan are very interesting characters. Navin sounds like the best friend anyone could ask for. The popular crowd at school accepts him, yet he always sticks up and looks out for Donna. Mahoney might be setting the groundwork for a love triangle, but in The Iron Witch Navin doesn’t come across as anything more than a friend. Xan is also pretty incredible, but also much more secretive than Navin. He’s gorgeous, of course, and his chance meeting with Donna at his own party is almost too much of a coincidence to buy, but I’ll let it slide because I like him so much. Donna’s feelings for him seem believable and I like that she repeatedly acknowledges that she’s only known him for a few days, so we know she’s not one of those idiotic girls who fall in love with the first green-eyed, golden-skinned boy they meet. Donna feels the way I’m sure any girl in her situation would feel and she has a lot in common with Xan, enough to build a solid relationship on. I believe Mahoney does an excellent job with character development in her debut novel.

The only things I don’t like about this book is that the entire story takes place in the span of about three or four days and the dialogue sometimes comes across as unrealistic. The characters sometimes speak in an elegant or forced manner that doesn’t fit with their personalities or the time period. Also, all of the action happens in the last sixty pages and is resolved fairly quickly. But one huge question remains unanswered, a question proposed by the Wood Queen, and I’m interested to see where the author takes this story. Now that Mahoney has established Donna’s world, I think her next book will be exciting and even better than the first. I’ll be looking out for it.

Pages: 289
Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Flux
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: “There was something about Alexander Grayson that was both strong and vulnerable. Like he had the best reasons anyone could want if they were going to wallow in self-pity, but he refused to do that. He wore his sadness with dignity.”

Glimmerglass – Jenna Black
Book Reviews
August 10, 2010 posted by Christina

Glimmerglass – Jenna Black

“Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, Dana decides she’s had it with being her mother’s keeper, so she packs her bags and heads to stay with her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn’t just an ordinary teenage girl—she’s a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, she finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone’s trying to kill her, and everyone wants something from her, even her newfound friends and family. Suddenly, life with her alcoholic mom doesn’t sound half bad, and Dana would do anything to escape Avalon and get back home. Too bad both her friends and her enemies alike are determined not to let her go . . .”

I’ll be honest; I picked this book by its cover. I think in the summary all I saw was “faerie”, “runaway” and “Avalon” before the cover caught my attention and I went “Ooooooooo, I’ll take it!” Often, that’s not a good plan but luckily this time it worked pretty well.

Dana Hathaway has had enough. Enough of having to deal with her alcoholic mother, enough of being the parent, enough of being embarrassed, of constantly moving and enough with her current life. She’s particularly had enough of not knowing the truth about her father. When Dana’s mother fell pregnant years before, she ran away from the city of Avalon and from big shot Fae Seamus Stuart – Dana’s father, to go into hiding and keep Dana away from the Faerie world and its politics.

Avalon is the only place where the mortal world and the Faerie world intersect, and that’s exactly where Dana runs away to in order to meet her dad and escape her former life. Little does she know that her rare status as a Faeriewalker as a result of being half human, half Fae is a coveted position and she’s just walked into the middle of a political war.

Glimmerglass is the first young adult novel by Jenna Black and is the first in the Faeriewalker series. I found the writing to be really engaging and even though it is a fantasy book, for someone who hasn’t read any books about Faeries, I found the concept and rules of the Faerie world easy and quick to grasp. The events in the book mean the characters are always on their toes and it’s very go, go, go.

Soon after arriving in Avalon, events bring Dana to meet sibling Ethan and Kimber. Ethan is of course, gorgeous even by Fae standards and there’s an instant attraction between the two.  His sister, Kimber is guarded and hostile when she and Dana first meet but soon enough a friendship blooms. But what are their motivations for getting involved with Dana?

Our main character Dana is a sixteen year old girl trying to find the parental support she’s been lacking all these years. She’s quite a strong character, having to deal with one crisis after the other but one that also makes mistakes that are true to her age. She’s aware of herself and when she’s being stupid or whiny, but recovers fast, especially when it comes to her potential love interests. She can get a bit blinded by her hormones, but I guess she is sixteen, so she’s forgiven.

I was glad to see that the times when I would think “Oh man, I would freak out and cry if that happened to me” Dana did do that (but without coming across as a baby), which made it more real as opposed to characters who push on tear-free through impossible situations. Perhaps the only weird thing was Dana’s love of Victoria’s Secret and that she reads “dirty” books….haha, uh…awkward.

This book is full of twists mainly with whom exactly Dana can trust and whose side should she be on. No character in this story was two dimensional, each had a definite personality and it made for great reading, with Finn being a personal favorite. By the end you still don’t know who you can trust and can’t trust which gives a great lead (as well as other unanswered questions) for the next book.

Great start to a new series! I’ll definitely be checking out the next book in the series, Shadowspell when it comes out early next year.

Pages: 294

Publication Date: August 2010

Rating: : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “How many of us are there?” I asked, because there was no point in arguing I wasn’t a Faeriewalker. I wished I could convince myself I’d been hallucinating earlier, but I knew what I’d seen.
I felt, rather than saw, the look Ethan and Kimber exchanged.
“The last one before you died about seventy-five years ago.”