Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review: Anathema

Synopsis: Reychel is a slave girl surrounded by magic, lies and manipulation. Her best friend disappears in the middle of the night leaving Reychel to face her fifteenth birthday, the day her master burns his brand into the back of her bald head, alone. She's sheltered from the outside world and doesn't have any hope for escape, but when people desperate for freedom ask for her help can Reychel learn to believe in herself?

My Review: I came across Anathema by complete chance.   However, once I read the synopsis I was intrigued.  After reading the first chapter online, I was hooked.  Now after reading it I can officially say I loved it!  I was sucked in from start to finish.  

I loved the more fantasy element to this story.  The supernatural has almost completely taken over the YA genre, so I’m glad to see some good old classic fantasy elements.  While at times the plot was kind of standard, Megg definitely threw in some major twists.  I never get tired of the “chosen one” type stories, because well…they’re just so darn good!  The world that Reychel lives in is scary to think about.  Her people are oppressed and enslaved and treated like they are sub-human.   Slaves are made to shave their heads and on their fifteenth birthdays get branded on the back of their neck to forever show that they are property. 
Reychel has been a slave for all of her life.  Yet unlike the other slaves, Reychel isn’t allowed outside.  Not even a glimpse through a window.  She is totally isolated from the outside world.  The morning of Reychel’s fifteenth birthday, she discovers that her best friend Ivy is gone, and her world is forever turned upside down.  The only sign that Ivy was there at all, was the token left in her place.  Reychel is soon thrown into a new life and into her destiny.  

I really enjoyed Reychel’s character.  She was kind and always saw the best in people, even if they turned out to be awful.  She rarely thinks about herself, and is always looking out for others.  She was just so likeable.  Ya know that person that everyone likes?  That’s Reychel.  Her actions were honorable and she’s a true heroine. I really enjoyed the secondary characters as well.  The cast was dynamic and was full of interesting people, plus the occasional back-stabber.  Ivy’s character really surprised me.  As the novel progressed I liked her less and less, but man did I underestimate her awful-ness.  

My only complaint about this story is the lack of fleshing.  There was a rich opportunity to really expand on the culture of the Island and the people and it was just not there.  Granted it reflects Reychel’s knowledge of her own people, but still.  I have a feeling that Megg will further expand on these things in the sequel as Reychel learns about herself and her people.  When I got this book in the mail I was shocked to discover how short it was .  I’m always thrilled with 400+ page books, and I always end up feeling that short ones are really rushed.  Anathema has been the one exception to that rule.  I thought the plot progression moved along just fine, and I didn’t once feel rushed through the story.  Things happened at their own natural pace, and in the end the length worked out just fine.  I still would have liked a bit more though.  

One of the aspects of this book that I really loved was that Megg didn’t give us the perfect happy ending.  Reychel achieved her goal, but things ended up far from perfect.  Certain people have a lot of explaining to do, and things definitely aren’t hunky dorey.  The story was better for it in my opinion.  

It’s such a shame that Indie authors don’t get more exposure.  Like I said, I came across this completely by chance.  I’m glad I did because otherwise I would have missed out on a great read.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m psyched for a sequel.  I can’t wait to read more about Reychel and her journey.  Anathema definitely lived up to my expectations and I’m eager for more.