Read this review at Smash Attack Reads + Author Interview: http://www.smashattackreads.com/2011/06/review-anathema-by-megg-jensen.htmlReychel is a salve. It’s the only life she’s ever known. She’s turning 15, and with that comes her branding ceremony. If a master is interested in keeping a slave, they’re branded with the master’s symbol. Oh, and believe you me, Master Kandek has taken quite an interest in dear Reychel. Yet, no one is quite sure why, especially Reychel, because she is not gifted. Gifted people in this world have a magical property to their genetic makeup. Some are gifted with manipulation, others with detection, some with more basic things like cooking and fighting.But dear Reychel is pretty boring and normal. She is forbidden to go outside, or even look out an open window. The only time she is allowed to see outside is in the presence of her Master, who loves to open up the windows and listen to her storytelling. One day, Reychel tells a story that pisses the king off royally, and next thing you know, she’s locked in a deep, dark cell. Reychel is so confused at his actions. While sitting in the cell, she is visited by a cloaked figure who urges her to follow the directions she will soon be given. And now the fun begins…Reychel is a pretty fantastic character, full of courage, honesty and compassion, sprinkled with a little naivety and a whole lot of self-sacrifice. As you can guess, Reychel is pretty special, indeed. I find her gift to be pretty spectacular and not your every day superpower, so to speak. The mystery of Reychel’s role in the story was central to the plot, and I enjoyed learning about her unique and vastly important ability right along with her.The cast of characters in the book were all very interesting and appealing in their own way. Some I did not trust from the beginning, others I hated instantly. Some I grew to love over the course of the book, and some really surprised me. Speaking of characters, the upper society in this book is pretty sickening. They gather for the branding ceremony like it’s a sporting event. I really wanted to spit on them for their treatment of slaves.I was very interested by the premise of this book, but the synopsis is pretty vague and leaves a lot of room for the story to go. It went in a direction that I was not expecting, and I loved that I opened the book without really knowing much. It made the story that much more exciting. I really found the world to be quite interesting, and the plot has a twist that brought the book to a new level. I felt a ton of emotion and was engaged in the story from page 1.Book 2, Oubliette, is due out June 23.