Sunday, 6 October 2013

Review: You are Mine by Janeal Falor

Published by: Chardonian Press
Release date: 6th May 2013
Series: Mine #1
I got it from: NetGalley
Goodreads summary:

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.

My review:
I approach high fantasy with caution. I'm definitely more of an urban fantasy girl, and I like my magic to be dark but believable. That said, I do have a very good imagination and love to get lost in a book, so my range of what's believable is pretty far-reaching. Although I like a real-world setting most of the time, I will delve deeper into the fantasy genre if a book catches my eye, and You Are Mine certainly did that. Am I glad I relented? Oh yes.

This is a brilliant piece of world-building. Falor dabbles with high fantasy while somehow keeping it real enough to relate to. Her uses of magic are inspired, and the races she has created are very well thought-out. Serena's life is completely different from mine, yet Falor writes her so well that I felt I really understood her, and her emotions became mine.

The concept of ownership that men have over women could have come across as trite, but you can tell that Falor has thought about it a lot, and she's created a society that seems very real when you're reading about it. The way Serena describes her life makes you really empathise with her, and the way she talks about how things work in her country makes me almost believe it is a real place.

There is definitely a fairytale aspect to You Are Mine - the magical realms, the evil, domineering father and the bevvy of sisters relying on our Serena's intervention. As for the knight in shining armour, or handsome prince, well you'll just have to read it yourself to see how that goes down. I don't want to give anything away.

Serena herself is a wonderful character. She's strong and has a mind of her own, two things that are not appreciated in her society. Most women in her world are meek and submissive, bowing down to first their father and then their husband's will. Serena isn't like that though - she has thoughts that would earn her a harsh punishment if ever a man heard them. At first, she doesn't know what to do with those thoughts - doesn't believe she can do anything. But when fate deals a twisted hand and changes her life, she grabs hold of the opportunity she's been given. Serena has her whiny moments, but given the circumstances you can hardly blame her - to me, it just makes her all the more real.

I'll definitely be looking out for Falor's next book, eager to hear more about her wonderful, magical world.

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