Finished August 18
The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney
This is the only book I've read in this series, and I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read the earlier book in the series. The main character here is Donna Underwood. Donna was deeply scarred, her father was killed, and her mother mentally disturbed after an early childhood encounter with the folk in the Ironwood. Recently Donna has had another encounter with the Wood Queen that has resulted in a hearing where her actions are being evaluated by an alchemist tribunal. This encounter saved the lives of Donna's best friend, a human boy her age, Navin, and Maker, the alchemist who fashioned the work on Donna's arms after her childhood encounter. It also resulted in a burgeoning relationship with Xan, a half-fey young man that the alchemists consider untrustworthy along with other faerie folk. Donna's mother seems to be getting worse, and Donna suspects that she may be under an elven curse.
Aliette, the Wood Queen approaches Donna with a proposition. Aliette will release Donna's mother from the curse, thus saving her life and restoring her mind if Donna will open the door to faerie so that the Wood Queen and her people can return home. Donna's arms seems to be coming awake, responding to her emotional state, and she seems to be developing new powers that she isn't sure how to control or what purpose they might have for her.
She has suspicions that all is not as it seems with the alchemists, and feels that her aunt Paige is not necessarily on her side in terms of what she sees as important. She is intrigued by Robert, the young alchemist from England, but isn't sure what his motives are either.She knows that she can't trust the Wood Queen, but is this trade something she is willing to risk for her mother's freedom from the curse? She isn't as sure of Xan as she was earlier due to his secretive behaviour. Donna has many questions and no real sense of who she can trust. She is guided by her sense of what it is right and by her feelings, but she is young in her powers and has been kept ignorant of the history of the people she lives among.
Donna's naivety and youth make her risk more than she knows, and as a reader I didn't connect with her as well as I would have wanted.