Title: You Are Mine
Series: Mine Series #1
Author: Janeal Falor
Publisher: Chardonian Press
Publication date: May 6th 2013
Page Count: 273 pages
Age Rating: Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a free copy to review
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 has grown up in a world where women are possessions and male warlocks use hexes, spells, and the threat of being tarnished to keep them under their thumbs. Over the course of her story, Serena realizes women are people too and deserving of freedom and respect. Her journey to realization is like that of a blossoming rose, slowly and gently unfurling into the sun. A fitting comparison, since in Chardonia women are not even considered worthy of light and are often left in the dark – both literally and figuratively.
This book is categorized as YA, which I think is inaccurate. Most of the main characters are in their upper teens, however, in this world and in this time, I don’t believe that age holds true to their level of maturity. Serena is seventeen, yes, but she is a grown woman in this society, engaged to be married and living in the home of her fiancé. The fiancé himself is nineteen, but he is master of an estate and head of his household. In fact, if we hadn’t been told their ages, we never would have guessed since they don’t read “teen” at all.
While this is a Fantasy, there’s a bit of everything in this book: romance, a little action, friendship, family, and even some espionage. The world building is done very well, fitting into the story organically and really allowing the reader to become subtly emerged into the setting. The characters are interesting and engaging, although some of the male warlocks come off so vile as to become almost caricatures (possibly a deliberate choice). While this book has romantic elements, they are all very tame, none going farther than a few sweet kisses here and there.
I really liked this book and would recommend it not only to lovers of fantasy, but to lovers of historical romance as well since it has a bit of a historical romance feel to it (manors, servants, proper dinners, fancy dresses, ball gowns, and a certain formal way of speaking). The writer has a lovely writing style I very much enjoyed reading and I will absolutely be on the lookout for more books in this series as well as more works by the same author.
One of the first ways Serena asserts herself is by announcing her dislike of peaches, knowing they are her owner’s favorite, and declaring her love of strawberries instead. In tribute to this small, but significant, step I recommend Chocolate Strawberry Flavored Coffee by CoffeeAM, a coffee that smells fantastic as it brews up, but whose subtle flavor notes don’t overpower that all important coffee taste.