So keep that in mind as you read this review.
The Iron Witch is about Donna Underwood, a 17-year-old who has been raised by her aunt since her father died ten years ago. Her mother is in a care home, not quite insane but certainly not "right." Their whole family belongs to a society of alchemists who are responsible for protecting humanity from the faery creatures who cross over to Donna's world.
Although I liked the book more than I disliked it, the pacing is slow, with long passages of exposition slowing it down even more. The characters are almost compelling; they are interesting, but there's not quite enough urgency even in the midst of kidnapping and rescue mission to really be gripping.
I think this is best as an introduction to the type of urban fantasy it represents, with enough explanation that even someone who's never picked up a fantasy book will understand everything without any problem. This is the first book in a trilogy, and the unresolved plot threads (Donna's mother's cure, and her upcoming initiation at age 18 into the alchemists' society) promise intriguing developments in books 2 and 3.
If you are looking for more mature or in-depth fantasy, I'd skip this one.
Karen Mahoney's website is here.