By Karen Mahoney
From Goodreads: Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.
Published: Feb. 2011
I picked this one up at BEA, and I think it was an example of cover love. Honestly, I KNOW I don't enjoy fairy stories, so I probably should not have even have been remotely interested, but alas.
Sucked in by the cover, I did carry this home, and there it sat for months. Poor book. The good news is that there are NO fairies in it!
So, here's my take. I liked Donna very much. I liked Navin, even though he is really only one dimensional. I wanted to like Xan, but I don't think I learned enough about him to understand who he is or where he is coming from.
The real let down here is the world building. There isn't any. I needed more about the Order and what they are currently up to, more on the aunt, and way more about what really happened to Donna to care about this world. Here is what I understand, and it may be wrong. We have four Orders of alchemists fighting what amounts to one queen and a handful of elves, because the iron world has taken over the natural one. There are also handfuls of half-creatures who may or may not be bad guys. On top of this, the Order may or may not be bad guys.
Inserted into all of that are two snatches of "normal" life that involve this girl named Melanie, and these scenes feel like they are pulled from another book and jammed in here. Both scenes involve Donna resorting on her physical strength to scare this girl.
To sum it up, I didn't hate it. I want to read more about Donna, I just think this one would have benefited from some serious editing and a little more detail. Will I read the sequel? I don't know yet.