Donna Underwood is different. Her peers call her a freak. That's just what she feels like, but Donna is more than an outsider. When she was a child, evil fey cursed her hands. Alchemists manages to restore them only by infusing them with iron. She hides bother her hands and the strength they give her. Donna is content to live life on the edge (the outskirts, that is). She's comfortable with her life until the day she sees a wood elf in the city. Wood elves are bad news. Donna isn't thrilled when they kidnap her best friend, Navin. With the help of Xan (cute guy who just happens to be half faery), Donna must steal the elixir of life from the alchemist who saved her hands and helped rtaise her. A fair exchange surely--powerful potion for irreplaceable best friend. But will complying with the elf queen's request really resolve the situation.
What I thought: Yeah, I like this one. First of all, the cover art is gorgeous. Second, The Iron Witch is a retelling of one my favorite fairy tales, The Girl Without Hands. After reading this book, I went back and reread the Grimm's version. I like what Mahoney did with the tale. Navin and Donna's friendship is great. Xan is a compelling love interest. I can't wait to see their relationship develop in future books. (Oh, and I loved the snarky comment about fallen angels on pp.117-118 though I do like the sub genre of paranormal myself.) Mahoney's article/author's note "The Girl with Silver Hands: The Making of The Iron Witch" was really intriguing. Her approach to retelling a fairy tale is much more elemental. She took the basic themes (girl without hands and a battle between good and evil--isn't it always?) and came up with The Iron Witch. Amazing!
Look for The Wood Queen (#2) in 2012 and The Stone Demon (#3) in 2013.
(Flux, 2011. Review copy provided by publisher.)