Sometimes I hear the word fantasy and I’m scared. I run. You Are Mine proves to me yet again, I don’t need to afraid of fantasy, I can enjoy it. Scratch that, I can love it.
My Recap :
On her 17th birthday Serena has to go for testing and this testing will dictate how the rest of her life will go. If she tests highly for magical qualities, her father will get more money for her when he sells her into marriage. However, she tests though Serena has no say in her future. She will always be owned and will never have freedom to make any decisions about her life. She is sold to a warlord first and then later to a barbarian who wins her in a dual. Surprisingly it is the barbarian who shows Serena a new world, a world where wanting more is not impossible.
Like I said at the start, I’m afraid of fantasy. I accepted this book for review as it sounded interesting but then I delayed reading it. Big mistake! Huge! As soon as I started this book, I loved it. It really was one of those I couldn’t put down, I found it compelling and more than that, it was downright addictive.
First off the world building was so good it was frightening. I was struck with horror about how awful it would be to live in this world where women have no rights, no powers, no freedom. Their only role is to bear children and obey. And to ensure they obey, the men have magical powers over them. Serena’s father punished her at one stage by first hexing her so she couldn’t make a sound and then another hex broke her leg. I wanted to cry at how helpless she was, she couldn’t even scream to release some of the pain.
“My body jerks with a mute scream as the bone breaks. Tears prick my eyes. I silently beg for the spell to push me into unconsciousness. His hand presses on the wound, the pressure increasing as he speaks”.
I really was horrified at the total power that men have, it was so scary, cruel and abusive. And on top of that there is a constant threat of being tarnished – which means outcast from society, identified by bald heads and inked marks. The constant threat of punishment has made women wary, obedient and passive. I worried about how anything could ever change. It does make you think of countries where men still have dominance and this books shows you a little of how those women must feel and how easy it is to silence them without any need for hexes.
Serena is a great character. She is brave and has spent her whole life protecting her younger sisters (all 14 of them), often taking punishments in their place. She is clever, outspoken and knows she wants more. She doesn’t even know what more is but she can faintly sense something just beyond her grasp. She has the heart of a rebel but is too intimidated to rebel.
However when she ends up being owned by the Barbarian – Zade – for the first time in her life, she has a flicker of hope. I loved how slow she is to trust him despite all the evidence that he is a gentle, giant. That is totally realistic based on her previous life experiences. Their romance is slower than slow and that pace is perfect for this book, it feels like one step forward and two steps back. But not in an annoying way, this is the only believable way for this to unfold. And you have a gut feeling but is he genuine or not, you have to read to find out!
“How can he be like this? It should be a test of how long I’ll continue being wilful. As soon as I believe he really means his kindness, he’ll transform it into punishment, but he hasn’t yet. He moves to levels of compassion I’ve never seen. I’ve never had someone test me this long before. Can he really be so kind to a woman?”
One of Serena’s acts of rebellion is to steal a book to read and I really appreciated her first experience of reading. All books are forbidden except for “The Woman’s Canon” which is a rule book that is revered by men and helps to keep women subdued and submissive.
“I open the book again and let its scent fill me. The words quickly consume me. It’s nothing like the Woman’s Canon. Almost being caught was worth it. As long as it doesn’t bring trouble and punishments my way, I think I’m going to like it”.
There are lots of interesting side characters including Katherine, the tarnished seamstress. This is a character I really want to know more about as she has made some unusual choices and I think her story would be fascinating also. I also want to know more about the magic and if women can learn magic. We know Serena has magical qualities; I really want to know if she can harvest them for herself.
Overall, I’m delighted to have another fantasy book that I really enjoyed under my belt. I note that Janeal Falor is writing a second book in this series and also that there is a novella coming soon. Both will be on my wish list and next time around, I’ll read them immediately.
Who should read this book :
Highly recommended to all those who like YA and Fantasy. And if like me you are scared of fantasy, this is a great one to try as you are so caught up in it that you forget any fears you had!