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You Are Mine (Mine #1) Kindle Edition
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I downloaded this for free, and it is the first book I've read by Falor.
I really enjoyed this.
Serena lives in a world where women are second-class citizens. They should be seen and not heard, and obey their masters.
Having a daughter is useful for men to create alliances with other strong families, but it pointless if they do not have a son to carry on their name, and inherit everything. Serena's father has never been a kind man, but having fourteen daughters and no sons has clearly pushed him over the edge.
The story is full of hope, and light, as Serena starts to taste and experience freedom. But it is still brutal, and unforgiving, and fighting against a tide of tradition and men that are used to getting their own way.
Serena carries the stress of her old life. Pain and punishment is all she has ever known, from those that are supposed to care for her; and it is all she thinks she should ever expect.
The magic, and the fantasy world, are all woven into the background of the story. It supports it, without ever taking the limelight away from Serena's struggles.
I especially liked the level of romance in this book. There is just a hint of it. As you all know, I'm cold-hearted and not a fan of slushy romance, so it was very refreshing to read a story that focusses on creating trust and friendship in a very natural way, and leaving it open to potential romance in the future.
The only down-side for me - I felt the story slowed a little, and focused a lot on the clothes. Yes, they are an important tool towards Serena's freedom, and encouraging society to break the mould; but there is only so much dress-talk I can read in one sitting.
Overall, this was a well-written book that gave a very powerful message. After the sneak peek at the end, I will definitely be continuing with the series!
This world is cruel and demeaning to women, with an inherent misogyny that is really awful to read, yet somehow Serena is more than just a downtrodden girl. Yes, she’s frightened and intimidated and has been abused her entire life, but she’s also spent much of that life protecting her younger sisters from her father’s spite and that’s where she’s gained her strength. She knows she has few choices in life, but that doesn’t mean she has to be happy about it or meekly comply with male orders. Even when she knows she’ll only get in trouble, there’s an admirable spark in Serena that makes her a compelling lead character.
The pace is slow and steady as it goes along, building the tension as the story unravels and Serena learns more about both what it means to be an engaged woman in her world, and also what a measure of freedom can do. I loved that there are no quick fixes here. Yes, in Zade’s home things are far different from what Serena’s ever known before, but he still owns her and has the right to punish her, so it’s no easy thing for Serena to adjust as she tests out boundaries and tries to understand what kind of man she’s about to marry.
I also really love how much Serena’s view of the world and the people around her grows and changes throughout this book. Not only does Zade show her a different side to men and the way a society can work (with the help of maidservant Waverly), but she also gains a new understanding of the Tarnished and the way other people live with her own society. There are many threads weaving through this story, laying down potential conflicts and ideas for future books, and revealing the many cracks in the cruel regimen Serena’s been forced to grow up in.
Intelligent and compelling, with a lot to say about gender-politics, patriarchal domination, misogyny and social prejudice, there’s not a lot of action throughout most of the book and the romance is quiet at best, but this story is about Serena, how she grows and changes when given the chance and hints at the sort of person she can become if left room to grow. The characters are vivid, the world is detailed and the underlying threats that are only being hinted at in this book promise a series that will both fascinating and epic. I’m hooked, and with a prequel and a second book already out, I’ll definitely be reading more soon.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
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