You Are Mine
by Janeal Falor
4 out of 5
Serena knows a few simple things. She will always be owned by a warlock. She will never have freedom. She will always do what her warlock wishes, regardless of how inane, frivolous, or cruel it is. And if she doesn’t follow the rules, she will be tarnished. Spelled to be bald, inked, and barren for the rest of her life—worth less than the shadow she casts.
Then her ownership is won by a barbarian from another country. With the uncertainty that comes from belonging to a new warlock, Serena questions if being tarnished is really worse than being owned by a barbarian, and tempts fate by breaking the rules. When he looks the other way instead of punishing her, she discovers a new world. The more she ventures into the forbidden, the more she learns of love and a freedom just out of reach. Serena longs for both. But in a society where women are only ever property, hoping for more could be deadly.
Serena is a girl - worthless in the eyes of her father, except for the connections she may bring through marriage. She dreads her ownership being passed to another man who will abuse her, and treat her as little more than a slave.
I downloaded this for free, and it is the first book I've read by Falor.
I really enjoyed this.
Serena lives in a world where women are second-class citizens. They should be seen and not heard, and obey their masters.
Having a daughter is useful for men to create alliances with other strong families, but it pointless if they do not have a son to carry on their name, and inherit everything. Serena's father has never been a kind man, but having fourteen daughters and no sons has clearly pushed him over the edge.
The story is full of hope, and light, as Serena starts to taste and experience freedom. But it is still brutal, and unforgiving, and fighting against a tide of tradition and men that are used to getting their own way.
Serena carries the stress of her old life. Pain and punishment is all she has ever known, from those that are supposed to care for her; and it is all she thinks she should ever expect.
The magic, and the fantasy world, are all woven into the background of the story. It supports it, without ever taking the limelight away from Serena's struggles.
I especially liked the level of romance in this book. There is just a hint of it. As you all know, I'm cold-hearted and not a fan of slushy romance, so it was very refreshing to read a story that focusses on creating trust and friendship in a very natural way, and leaving it open to potential romance in the future.
The only down-side for me - I felt the story slowed a little, and focused a lot on the clothes. Yes, they are an important tool towards Serena's freedom, and encouraging society to break the mould; but there is only so much dress-talk I can read in one sitting.
Overall, this was a well-written book that gave a very powerful message. After the sneak peek at the end, I will definitely be continuing with the series!