Anathema by Megg Jensen

Forget prophecy. Make your own destiny.

Sheltered from the outside world with no hope for escape, slave girl Reychel dreads her fifteenth birthday - when her master’s symbol is burned on the back of her bald scalp. Her best friend disappears the night before, leaving her to face the branding ceremony alone. She soon discovers nothing is as it seems when people desperate for freedom beg for Reychel's help.

Can Reychel learn to believe in herself?

I loved the pacing of the story. All of the little pieces unraveling at the perfect time. I sat and read this book all the way through in one day and found it highly enjoyable and different than anything I have read recently. The idea that the slaves/workers had to shave their heads to symbolize their position in the society. Then to actually have their masters symbols burned into the back of their skull? Seriously? Ow.

When Reychel wakes up to find her friend gone from the bed, the rumor starts immediately that she was taken, as this is a common thing. But Reychel spreads the rumor that she just woke up early and is around doing her chores. But the token she finds beneath the bed leads to her know better. That is the symbol that she will not be back. Reychel eventually escapes and must find somewhere to hide but her shaved skull is a dead giveaway that she is a slave and should not be out. There are different characters she meets in her travels. But she has a destiny that must be fulfilled.
There is a mixture of several great characters and magic. Reychel is a strong and feisty main character. I loved the last couple of chapters and the how all of the events eventually end. Very happy that this is only the beginning to a series.
I enjoyed that fact that even though there is a boy, and somewhat of a romantic interest there is not really any romance exactly that overwhelms what is really going on here. I loved that. Cute and funny moments, great writing and it had me hooked.