She was a regular girl who saw someone get killed trying to leave their society. She eventually finds a metal chain that gives her powers like more strength. Eventually she fights in a little contest to not be put in jail. There is a thing where people are forcefully made to forget their bad memories and her parents were taken away by some sort of light.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. When did you read this book? Was it a paperback, hardcover or e-book? Do you recall the cover art?
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 20:51
  • Is it surrounded by a tall wall? Chain-link fence? Forcefields? Mysterious mist?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


I think this is The Finisher (The Secrets of Sorcery in the UK) by David Baldacci, the first book of the Vega Jane series. From the Wikipedia entry:

The first novel in the series follows Vega Jane, a fourteen-year-old girl, as she uncovers secrets about the fictional village of Wormwood. The village is surrounded by the 'Quag' a dark forest filled with dangerous beasts and 'outliers', the Quag is described in the book as "an impenetrable barrier that circled Wormwood like a noose." Vega lives in a boarding house called 'The Loons' with her intelligent younger brother called John Jane. Vega works as a 'Finisher', a person whose job it is to add the final touches to handicrafts before they are purchased .... Vega then inherits 'Destin', a chain that allows her to fly when worn. She also finds an Adder stone with magical properties that can heal cuts and bruises when you think good thoughts. She also acquires an 'Elemental', a shield of sorts that can grow and shrink. The Council discovers Vega is in possession of a map of the Quag, they imprison her and put her on trial, threatening her with execution before offering her a chance at freedom in return for fighting in the 'Duelum', a twice a year event where all between 20 and 24 years old must fight until there is only one winner.


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