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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.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars

First of all, I would like to lead a round of applause for Ms. Falor. You Are Mine deals with tough topics, mainly sexism, with an admirable amount of balance. Usually, books, movies, etc. that discuss women being treated as commodities end up sounding (to me) overtly feminist and going the other way. You Are Mine is an excellent tale of a young woman learning she doesn’t have to live on her knees, that not all men are domineering and abusive, and that things can change for the better if you are willing to fight for them.

The plot:

I finished this book essentially in one evening. While there isn’t so much action as in fighting, there is a firm helping of suspense to keep the reader from relaxing or getting too comfortable. I highly enjoyed the story’s progression and how very developed the plot is. Ms. Falor clearly put a great deal of effort into this story and I would say it more than paid off.

I can’t help but wonder why women can’t use the magic that flows in their veins. That part didn’t make sense to me and I began to wonder if it was due to some other oppression tactic from the Chardonian men. But it seems the Envadi women can’t use it either, so I suppose there is some other explanation.

The characters:

Serena, our main character, wants to be the good daughter, the good sister, and the eventual good wife, yet can’t help but be dissatisfied with her subservient station as a woman. I liked how the author shows Serena has the capability for spunk, but at the same time it is clear how many times Serena has been beaten down. It was wonderful to see how she slowly comes out of her shell once out from under her father’s iron thumb and how she begins to explore other, freer ways of living than what she has been subjected to her whole life.

Zade, the foreigner who wins Serena in a tournament, is a wonderful character. He secretly seeks to better the tyrannical conditions in Chardonia at extreme risk to himself and puts forth a great effort to protect Serena though he barely knows her. The budding romance between the two was a side note, but extremely sweet all the same.

I absolutely loathe Serena’s father. Councilman Stephen is controlling, arrogant, sadistic, vindictive, greedy, and downright horrid. However, he isn’t the only one in this story who fits that description, far from it. He merely makes a fine addition to this story’s cast of despicable antiheroes, who are too many to mention in detail.

The relationship between Serena and her sisters is touching and adds an extra layer to the storyline. Though the second oldest sister I don’t trust, she strikes me as potentially mercenary. It was tragic to learn how Serena’s mother was broken as a young woman and turned into a broodmare for their father, but explains why she is so adamant that Serena play the doormat. While she demands her daughters adhere to the rigid social conventions, it’s hard to hate her because one feels so sorry for her.

In summary, You Are Mine is a tale to keep you awake late at night. With no cardboard characters to be found and a sophisticated, clean plot, this is one that I highly, highly recommend.

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