“I was pleasantly surprised this book since I haven’t had much luck with up and coming YA authors. Jensen weaves her story around a new and unique land that for me parallels a touch of the issues we’ve faced in our world over time. Our heroine for this story can be found amongst a band of slaves forced to shave their heads signifying their enslavement. To make matters worse at the age of 15 all slaves are to be branded like cattle with the insignia of their master. Which is the time young Reychel finds her world being turned inside out. She’s spent a lifetime under her masters boot, being hidden from the outside world except in his presence but at the same time given certain privileges no other slave would dream of which in turn makes her hated among her own people. Ivy is the only friend she has in the world until the day comes for Reychel to be branded and she wakes up to find Ivy kidnapped. But the kidnappers don’t stop with Ivy and soon Reychel is torn between the impending death of her people and a life she never knew existed.
Anathema, for me, was a unique and refreshing read; a pleasant break from the onslaught of vampires, werewolves, and witches but with the same amount of mystery and magic we’ve all come to long for in our reading. The plot was certainly engaging although a few things were predictable because of “not so subtle” hints. However, the plot kept my attention and I genuinely couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. My biggest complaint was the not-so-romantic romance that for me seemed to have been forced into the plot. I think leaving the romance out and allowing it to bud over the course of the trilogy would have done wonders for the book. There was so much dramatic effect put into Reychel’s relationship with Ivy that I believe it would have been more beneficial to allow that to be the leading conflicting relationship. I needed more reasons to trust and believe in Ivy for the unfolding events to shock me.
The book was certainly too short. I needed more time to get into Reychel’s head and really get to know her. That’s why I’m so glad this is a trilogy.
Because of it’s uniqueness and Jensen’s obvious creative flair, I believe with a little more editing and detail work this book could have been a best seller. I am excited to read more from her!