Author: Karen Mahoney
Publishing Company: Corgi Books
Donna is a freak. An outcast. Branded with iron tattoos that cover her hands and arms, she is cursed with a magically-enhanced strength that she odes everything she can to hide.
But now, the dark exiles of Faerie are coming and Donna must choose between saving her best friend- or betraying one of the world’s greatest secrets.
First I have to say I really did just pick it up for the stunning cover. But, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. The plot revolves around three main characters. Donna, Nav and Xan, and Donna showing herself as she really was to people she didn’t expect to tell. The book actually starts and ends with diary entries, which is quite nice. But it’s very interesting to see how Donna worked, because yes we usually see the characters who are a bit different, but she seems to be really really different to any characters you usually see.
The plot was good and really interesting, and it was one of those things where you could pick it up and read it really quickly and easily, which is nice sometimes. It is definitely more original than other books that include the fey and faeries and things like that. Because we don’t just have the fey and have them have an edge of mischief, we have them desperate and knowing exactly what they want, and not being afraid to get it.
I did see some similarities between this book and The Iron King, but it wasn’t anything massive. I think what this book does differently, is that it’s not fully about the fey, in fact, the fey is less than half of the book really. What the book is about really, is Alchemists. You get a small insight to this world of secret magic, one that doesn’t often get explored that much in other YA fiction. However, the way the author has done it, she’s only given us a tiny glimpse into this world, to make us want to read more and continue onto the next book.
For the characters. Donna I felt mixed about. From the start you can tell she’s an outcast, she’s always tried to keep to the back of the room, to avert the attention from her. But quickly after the first few chapters, you see a completely different girl, someone who does have strength (metaphorical and physical), and it’s quite strange, because you don’t know what exactly to think about that.
Then there’s Nav. Nav is the best friend who’s obviously in love with the best friend, even though she can’t register that. He’s the normal person who’s accidentally been sucked into the world he’s in. And to be honest, I feel really sorry for him, because he shouldn’t have gone through what he went through. He’s a lost boy in a strange world.
And then we have Xan. He’s the typical guy that the girl will fall in love with…or so you think. He’s different, you can tell from early on. He also changes relatively quickly, but in it he admits that he was putting on an act for the first time you read him, so it’s quite nice. Unfortunately I found him a bit false, especially the relationship he gets with Donna. They only seem to be together because they’re both different. And that doesn’t really make me think the relationship will fully work.
Overall I think it’s a good book to pick up and read quickly, and I definitely want to pick up the next one to find out what happens next. But some of it was very sparse, and I didn’t find myself absorbed in the characters because they seemed to change too easily from the original thing you read.
Setting: 4 out of 5
Characters: 3 out of 5
Plot: 3 ½ out of 5
Writing: 4 out of 5
Thanks for reading x