Memories are stupid things Why is it that I can only remember the useless stuffTruer words have never been spoken because right now I am remembering rather stupid stuff, but not only that I m nitpicking over them too The book wasn t terrible, in fact it was rather good at certain moments, most of which involved boy girl interaction, get your minds out of the gutter I was referring to Donna and Nav talking the way best friends do and to Donna and Xan, flirting away That said, I found the parnormal side of the story a bit weak Everything was too pat, too clearly explained Then if you consider her decision to reveal everything Did telling all make her a good friend, or was this just a convenient means to an end Couldn t she have kept on lying Would it not have been safer Her blase explanation of what was what and Nav s acceptance of everything was very contrary to the need to keep everything secret view spoiler But may be that could be explained away by the fact that he was in love with her hide spoiler Four years after reading The Iron Witch, passages still pop into my head I treasure this trilogy Initially intrigued by both the cover and the title of The Iron Witch, I dove right in I adore all things witch y, from the cauldron stirrers to Wiccans and all things in between I expected some version of a typical witch in this book Ms Mahoney doesn t do typical.Donna Underwood is actually an average adolescent, in many ways, but her peers don t tend to look very deeply The long gloves she wears, always, seems such a small differentiation, yet it is enough to bring out the nasty in her class mates Donna is taunted and teased relentlessly Luckily, she has her best bud, Navin He is really the only friend she needs.As if the weight of being the brunt of jokes and pranks at school isn t enough, Donna s home life hangs in a heavy cloud of mystery, even to Donna herself Technically, she lives with her aunt, but mostly she is alone She remembers very little about her father s death, although she was there Her mother in an asylum and Donna can t really understand why Particularly puzzling is Donna s training She is being groomed to be a full member of an incredibly secret Order So secret, in fact, that she knows almost nothing about the Order, which means she can t really trust them Aside from Navin, Donna is totally alone And she is being pursued By faeries I may have pumped my fist in the air and shouted Yes when I got to this part Partly by chance, and also because of Navin, Donna meets Alexander Xan It is quickly apparent that the two share similar secrets, but can they build enough trust to share them in time to save themselves We shall see.Ms Mahoney s mesmerizing, unique story will certainly stay with me These characters are rich, with depth There is humor, strength, support, and unparalleled loyalty the kind you see in teenagers that are still sweetly naive and oddly self assured Being a bit late to the party wasn t a problem because the second and third books were both available immediately after I tore through the first one This review was written for Buried Under Books blog. Freak That S What Her Classmates Call Seventeen Year Old Donna Underwood When She Was Seven, A Horrific Fey Attack Killed Her Father And Drove Her Mother Mad Donna S Own Nearly Fatal Injuries From The Assault Were Fixed By Magic The Iron Tattoos Branding Her Hands And Arms The Child Of Alchemists, Donna Feels Cursed By The Magical Heritage That Destroyed Her Parents And Any Chance She Had For A Normal Life The Only Thing That Keeps Her Sane And Grounded Is Her Relationship With Her Best Friend, Navin SharmaWhen The Darkest Outcasts Of Faerie The Vicious Wood Elves Abduct Navin, Donna Finally Has To Accept Her Role In The Centuries Old War Between The Humans And The Fey Assisted By Xan, A Gorgeous Half Fey Dropout With Secrets Of His Own, Donna Races To Save Her Friend Even If It Means Betraying Everything Her Parents And The Alchemist Community Fought To The Death To Protect DRUM ROLLSAnd the award for Most Unoriginal Book of 2011 goes toTHE IRON WITCH image error Hmm, what to say, what to sayI guess I should start off by saying that I did actually like this one.It has a great blend of magic, alchemical and paranormal I enjoyed the characters, the writing was well done and the plot was thick with entertainment and intrigue.However, there wasn t anything hugely unique in The Iron Witch and I felt like I ve read all these elements before.Donna s role is the freak She wears gloves to conceal her mysterious hands and has a power that s like a curse She s a decent protag, good person, content to just stay invisible but I liked that she stands up for herself when provoked and that she ll fight for the ones she cares about.Navin is a great buddy Protective, good scene of humor, loyal, caring and sweet I thought he took everything quite well with all things considering.Then there s Xan who s all mysterious and sexy and is obviously just as different as Donna They had some good chemistry at the beginning, but I guess I just wasn t feeling it by the end I do give bonus points since view spoiler the words I love you was never uttered hide spoiler Derivative and lackluster That s the best I can sum up this book as.Okay, so the romance is another one of those gag me, Dude, you are sooooo hot You too, babe You wanna bone RAVISH ME NOW Donna is all obsessed with the bloody bastard and is all in lurve as soon as she meets him Bleh I m tired of this stuff.Donna is some super special girl with these uber awesome tattoos on her arms which is supposed to hideous as heck, but if I had tattoos like that in high school I d be the baddest bitch on the block Whatever And her special past gives her Ding ding ding SPECIAL POWERS Wow, did we not see that coming or what No Cripes, I thought I was being obvious.And I was so annoyed with the supposed chemistry between the romance leads because it s this wonderful joyride of omg, I m so angsty Why Because I ve got these HIDEOUS TATTOOS Omg, really I have these HORRIFIC SCARS Seriously We re PERFECT MATCHES FOR EACH OTHER And then it goes into some woe is me, we re truly meant for each other crap Haha No thanks This section totally overtook the plot until there was minimal to little movement forward The alchemy Not much of that in there I was sad I was looking forward to seeing how this would come into play in her novel Bonus points, though, for the incorporation of the Philosopher s Stone Loved that And the ending was a fast paced chain of events Good for keeping you hooked In theory, this book had great concepts ideas but the melding of them wasn t deftly done I like how the best friend she had was Indian Someone different Maybe it s a tactic to prove the hey my world is DIVERSE type of thing but I appreciated it nonetheless.I m hoping the sequel will do this a lot better It s not a terrible book If you re not an overly critical picky reader I m sure you ll like it. well, what can I say that hasn t already been said Atleast it was short I had really high hopes for this one I liked the cover I haven t read that many witch books It had a lot going for it before I had even begun to read it But, it was crap My number one complaint on this The journal entries Oh, sweet baby jesus who writes in their journal like that Drives me insane in the membrane The author was using the journal entries as a way to complete tell the story and for me, in the instance is just really, REALLY did not work That s right, I just made a Ricky Bobby referenceMeet Donna not crazy about this name for our main character, I like the name itself or for certian characters, i.e Hot Donna the some what witch, but not really She has these scars all over her arms and hands from a battle with the woodland elves of her past, only she can t remember half of it She is fixed by the maker, causing all the tatoo looking scars filled with iron She basically has no powers other than being pretty strong But not, incredibly strong Have I lost you yet Yeah, this is where things really started to go downhill very fast for me too Enter her best friend Nav, who knows nothing about here really Also enter a new fella in the picture XAN, who has a Lot in common and thus finds out everything about Donna I have mixed emotions on who she really is interested in In the beginning you think she is majorly crushing on her bff, but as time rolls on she is obviously into this XAN dude Blah In the end, I expected a book about witches, spells, maybe something along the lines of Once a Witch, but I ended up with some cheesy romance and a half Fairy Really, from the cover of this I would have never expected anything Fairie to be included and I honestly wish I would have been right It was just too much The writing just didn t flow smoothly for me Like I said above, thank God this was short or this might have been a cannot finish. I expected a different setting when I read the summary for the book I thought this would be a dystopian universe where people knew what the iron branding on her arm meant, and that s why Donna is ostracized I was wrong, but the change in reality vs my expectations didn t affect my enjoyment for this book.I think the storyline is an interesting twist on the typical YA fantasy genre The fairy element is still there, complete with the evil iron fearing fae and insidious otherworldly creatures, but the inclusion of alchemy and secret orders give it a different feel than the usual teenager meets fairies trope I ll have to admit, when I read about Donna having metal arms, and needing the Maker s services to repair something when she s in pain, I immediately thought Full Metal Alchemist It is not a bad thing it gave me plenty of topics to compare and contrast while I was reading this book.Donna s character is most definitely not a Mary Sue She is human, she makes mistakes, no emphasis whatsoever is placed on her appearance Xan refers to her as a pretty girl but outside of that, I really can t picture what she looks like, or even her hair color In a world full of books where the heroine constantly doesn t know how pretty she is, or has teal purple green hazel golden rainbow colored eyes, it s nice to have a normal looking heroine whose appearance is not referred to constantly throughout the book.One thing I disliked about Donna is her inability to think some things through She means well, always, but her decisions are not always for the greater good In her defense, she does second guess herself and understand that what she s doing might be good for her and her loved ones, but not the best to be made overall It s like asking if you want your best friend to be killed in order to save 20 other people There is a major moral dilemma there, and I m glad Donna realizes that I also like the fact that she understands that the monstrous creature that nearly killed her is not entirely at fault it acts on another s command I m glad she has that sense of understanding and compassion.Xan and Navin Loved both of them The love interest, Xan, is your typical loner, rich, handsome bad boy, but he s not a jerk They author could have gone that direction and made him play hard to get or act like an asshole til the very bitter end, when he shows his true character as a golden hearted angel in disguise, but no Xan looks tough, but since the beginning, he is genuinely nice, kind, and extremely helpful.Navin is the best friend ever, he s nice, helpful, and truly cares about Donna although I don t understand why he s upset that Donna hid the truth from him, it is a pretty far stretch of the imagination, and I can t blame her for that I am glad that Xan and Navin got along instead of going at it like two alpha males And NO LOVE TRIANGLE HURRAH There is, of course, awkwardness between Xan and Navin It is realistic, considering one guy is the best friend and the other is the love interest I ve been there myself, but overall, the relationship and dynamics between the three are well done and not over the top.I didn t like the characters of Simon Gaunt He seems like a caricature than a believable villain there s no redeeming quality, and I can just about picture him sneaking around corners, with a pencil mustache, and cackling quietly and menacingly like a Disney villain Not realistic at all The ending and the pace of the story seems very rushed, also The rushed deadline and the speed at which Donna accomplishes her target didn t seem realistic, considering how little time had passed before she even realizes that the Fae were reappearing on earth Overall, though, this was a good, quick read, and an interesting story. The Iron Witch, first book in Mahoney s new Iron Witch series tells the tale and Donna, a young female witch, and her adventures if you could really call them that.You don t need to read this book I can copy and paste an abbrieviated version right here.Donna Oh dear, my life is miserable I m different and unique from the people around me because I m a witch but it s brought me nothing but pain Xan No MY life is miserable I M different and unique from the people around me because I m bleep Friends don t spoil friends but it s brought me nothing but pain Navin I m here to forward the plot and provide tension Donna Pain Xan Brooding Donna Wait What was that I thought I saw something Xan It was just an elf Now let s talk about my pain Donna But I have scars Xan Oh I have scars too Let me show you Navin I think I should forward the plot a little Secret Order of Witches We re evil but maybe this wasn t supposed to be immediately obvious to everyone Donna Damn my mental scarring and the irrational female bully whose sole existance is to unnecessarily torment me for no good reason other than to make me relatable as an outcast to my readership demographic Oh, I think there s a mystery Xan Let s go Stuff Happens The End Maybe we d stop misunderstanding you if you d stop looking so dumb Just a thought By the way, if someone could explain to me what the fuck a scene girl is and then help me get rid of it, I d be really grateful Another irritating thing about this book this is the kind of arm scarring that would make a teenage girl self conscious about and want to cover up with fashionable elbow length gloves. These are totally awesome tattoos that would make other teenagers froth at the mouth with jealousyThe former would be a brave thing for a writer to give to their character The latter is what this author did Look, you want to make your character have special, magical designs on their arms that give them super powers then fine Don t try to pass it off as some kind of crippling disability though That s just an insult.So, I don t know how one would manage to make a book about alchemy and dark elves boring but Mahoney did, which is a special kind of talent I suppose.The characters are completely flat and uninteresting Most of this book revolves around the characters talking about their pain, empathising with each other s pain and then talking about MORE of their pain The mystery There is no mystery The action Yawn The world building The pictures of cities that are painted into the windows of late night talk shows are interesting There s just really nothing good about this book.But don t worry, highly visual, dramatic artwork and a good publicist will make sure the books get sold anyway Mahoney will make a buttload of cash of her three part trilogy and people will keep asking me who Ursula K Le Guin and Margaret Atwood are Figures. The Iron Witch is the epitome of a clich d YA paranormal There is nothing absolutely nothing unique and special about it This story has been done a billion times before And it includes everything that has made me weary when it comes to the genre The heroine, Donna, has lost her parents due to a horrific incident in her past and has been labelled a freak ever since She is an outsider, bullied at school by the mean popular cheerleader and her clique She has only one close friend, whom she can t tell her secret because she fears he would turn his back at her and it would of course be too dangerous for him She then meets a boy with a secret of his own and feels an instant connection with him, but it seems like her best friend has feelings for her as well Hello there, my dear friend, the love triangle And of course, the heroine also has special powers but resents them because they make her different Oh, and the love interest drives a Volvo These ingredients sound familiar to you To me, they do And I am sick of them Seriously, this seems to be the guide to write paranormal Why I really don t get it Why can t heroines be proud of their powers because they make them different Why can t at least once the heroine already be in a relationship and the novel focus on the actual paranormal aspect But no, all these stories mainly revolve around a lukewarm love story and the world building itself is sloppy at best The thing that lured me into wanting to read this book before my excitement was lowered immensely by the reviews I read on it was the magical concept, the aspect of alchemy But beyond dropping the word alchemy a few times and being all mysterious around it, there was nothing Because, hey, of course it is something sooo complicated it can t be properly explained I haven t said much about the characters yet, but I fear there isn t much to say They are decent people, but they are just so bland They felt underdeveloped and I certainly didn t root for any of them I don t know what makes authors think that if their heroine has special powers and a dark past, she doesn t need a personality Honestly, I d much rather read about someone without a dark past and with a personality than the other way round I mean, who wouldn t Oh, and way to go to portray a heroine who has beautiful iron tattoos on her arms as scarred Seriously That is an insult to everybody who actually has real scars.But basically, I was just very bored throughout most of the book I think if it hadn t been my book club s pick for the month, I would have skipped it altogether Still, I didn t make it all the way through Mostly skimmed the last third.Two rather small things that I found strange Firstly, the overly dramatic chapter endings You know, in soap operas, at the end of one episode, there is always this freeze moment and the camera then moves in on a character s face while dramatic music is playing This is exactly how the chapter endings felt to me And secondly, the diary entries They didn t feel like diary entries at all They read the same than the rest of the book which was told in third person and at first I didn t even really notice they were supposed to be taken out of Donna s journal The end of the story I do not recommend this book It s not really bad, but it has this haven t I read this beforefeeling about it If someone asked me to describe it in one word, the word to come to my mind would be dull And I m really sorry that again, a YA paranormal has let me down I m sad that it has become so hard to find the hidden gems in that genre If you are looking for a good read, look elsewhere I enjoyed Never by Kelly Creagh immensely, for example.I ve been contemplating my rating here, and eventually chose the one star for what it stands for I didn t like it because I can t really say it was okay.