I'm really sorry to say this, but the Iron Witch is a bit of a dud. Karen Mahoney has a lot of potential so I'm really hoping that the next book is better. I could see flashes of it throughout and kept hoping that the book would live up to those flashes. Not so lucky.
The plot centers around Donna, a remake of the old legends of the armless girl. She was attacked and her parents were killed/incapacitated by an wood elves when she was a child. Now she's been taken in by her aunt and an alchemists guild. She has to go on the offensive when her best friend is kidnapped and a sexy new boy comes along and shakes up her life.
The writing in this book was really, really clunky. I don't understand the authors choice to use limited third instead of first. Only once did she do something in third that she couldn't have done in first, and that could have been fudged. What's sad is there were journal entries at the end of each chapter to explain how Donna really feels in first, and they're really great! I felt like there was this interesting character that I just couldn't get to know.
I wasn't surprised to see in the end that this author writes short stories. As a writer who loves writing shorts I can see the pacing gone amuck. Shorts are 1 2 3 while novels need to be a little more in depth- 1+4=5 or something like that. The first half of this book is boring exposition. The hook doesn't come until at least halfway through and the problem solving covers maybe a quarter. The end scene was a complete let down.