Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: You Are Mine by Janeal Falor

You Are Mine by Janeal Falor You Are Mine (Mine #1)
By Janeal Falor

* A copy was provided by the author for review.

To Sum It Up:

Serena has reached her seventeenth birthday, an event that she’s been dreading. It means that she’s old enough to have her blood tested to see how much magic it contains. The more magic within it, the higher the price her father will be able to demand for her hand in marriage. For Serena, marriage doesn’t mean escape from her father’s house and his cruel punishments; instead, she’ll just become the property of her new husband. A surprise turn of events leads to Serena being contracted to marry a warlock who’s an outsider to her country, and therefore, the subject of much suspicion. The last thing Serena expects from him is kindness, but Zade is not at all like the other warlocks she’s known. For once, Serena dares to hope that she might find some freedom in her life.


You Are Mine takes place in a world where only males are able to use magic. Females carry magic in their blood, but they cannot wield it, only pass it on to the male children they’re expected to provide for their husbands. Women have no rights, and those who are not submissive face severe punishment, including being tarnished—shunned by the rest of society.

The novel opens with this terribly bleak outlook for its female characters, including the protagonist, Serena. As the story unfolds, though, there’s a nicely built and gradual shift in the situation. From the outset, you get the impression that Serena has a rebellious side that’s clamoring to run free. She occasionally slips and says exactly what she’s thinking, but she can only do so much while still living under her father’s roof. He’s only too happy to punish not only Serena but any of his daughters who misbehaves. To spare her younger sisters from his cruelty, Serena takes the blame for any wrongdoing as often as she can. Once she’s out of his house, however, Serena slowly starts taking control of her life. She stops wearing the face paint that women are supposed to use and has clothes made to suit her tastes for once. These may seem like small things, but merely having a choice in these matters is a huge gain.

I thought the strongest story line belonged to Katherine, a tarnished dressmaker who befriends Serena. Despite her social status, Katherine leads a life that is on her own terms. Her friendship with Serena is mutually beneficial, with both women inspiring strength in each other.

Where the novel didn’t work for me was in how delineated the characters were: the good ones were really good, and the bad ones were really bad. I tend to be drawn to morally ambiguous characters, particularly when I read fantasy. Here there’s hardly any middle ground. Serena’s father, Stephen, was just loathsome, and I felt like her fiancĂ©, Zade, was depicted in an extra heroic light to make up for how horrible Stephen was. I didn’t have a problem with Zade being a good guy. He was so wholly noble, though, that he came off as too perfect to me, even as Serena feared that he was putting on an act. I was never convinced that Zade was going to turn out to be like Serena’s father; in fact, I got a bit annoyed with her for continuing to doubt Zade’s kindness. I understood where her wariness came from, but it was already apparent to me that he wasn’t going to hurt her, and I wanted her to realize it, too.

The magical element of You Are Mine is weaved well into the story, but I would have liked to have seen it utilized even more. It sometimes takes a secondary role to whatever is going on in Serena’s everyday life, like going dress shopping. I like fantasy that’s a little more action-oriented and has characters with an edge to them, and this didn’t quite line up with what I look for in the genre.

All in All:

This was a little too light on the fantasy elements for me, but I would suggest trying it to anyone who’s been looking for a starting point into the genre. The plot is straightforward and the world easy to jump into.


  1. Aww no, that summary sounds really interesting. So I'm sad to hear it wasn't as good as it sounds. Your first paragraph makes me want to not pick up this book, it brings the feminist in me out. That type of society would enrage me to no end.

    Hmm one thing I hate is when we aren't convinced that a character will actually follow up on their words. Or we don't believe that the MC is actually in trouble.

    1. I think Serena needed more of a balance to her. She'd talk tough one minute and then worry about the consequences of her words or actions the next. I couldn't buy into the idea that Zade was a threat to her at all because he was cast in too much of a positive light for that.

  2. I had high hopes for this one but the 'lighter-fantasy' is kind of a turn of for me...especially after having read books like that recently and feeling let down that there wasn't more magic! The fact that women are magically oppressed tends to annoy the feminist in me too, and I don't know that I would have been able to get passed that. Like you, I prefer my characters to be painted in various shades of grey so these black and white ones sound a bit off-putting. Loved reading your review though Lee, awesome job :)

    1. I like fantasy with a darker edge to it, too, as well as characters who are difficult to read and constantly surprise with their moral choices. That's something I always look for in fantasy, and unfortunately, it wasn't present here.


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