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.
In the oppressive Chardonian society, a woman’s only value lies in the amount of magic in her blood and her ability to produce powerful warlock heirs. There are strict rules that women must obey, and they face punishments ranging from abuse to becoming tarnished if they are not compliant. The protagonist, Serena, has always known that her freedom is going to be even more restricted when her father sells her to the highest warlock bidder for marriage, but when an Envadi man becomes her owner, she comes to realize that this treatment of women isn’t universal.
You Are Mine is told from Serena’s point of view, allowing us to feel the suppression and abuse that she is subject to throughout the course of the book. Serena is unlike many of the other women in Chardonian society; her gender may leave her physically vulnerable, but she is also outspoken, defiant, strong, and independent. It’s easy to admire her desire for change, and I found myself fully supporting her along her journey. The other characters were just as fleshed out as Serena and, in most cases, were neither good nor evil; there was a lot of moral ambiguity which served to make them more real.
In contrast to the strict, oppressive Chardonian society were the “barbaric” Envadi. While the Chardonians have strict rules governing their women, the Envadi view women as equals and even pay their servants – notions that help shape Serena’s worldview and contribute to her character growth. I would have liked to have a more in-depth look at this society, so hopefully it’s explored more in the sequel.
The romance in this story is slow-building and sweet, starting off as a building of trust before developing into something more. It’s a welcome change from instalove, and it doesn’t overshadow the larger issues that are the focus of the plot.
Overall, I loved reading You Are Mine. I was hooked from the first sentence, and the combination of thought-provoking issues, magic, a strong female protagonist, and unexpected plot developments kept my attention throughout the remainder of the story. I look forward to seeing what’s next for Serena.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.