Cynthia has a secret that she has hid from everyone she knows. Despite the fact that they were taught from birth that it is impossible for women to do magic, she can do it. She is fascinated by the colored spells even as she quivers away from her father’s hexes. Now that Serena has won the right to be independent, Cynthia is finally free of her father’s hexes. That freedom doesn’t last because soon she must be sold off the a warlock, put in the exact situation that she just came out of. Though she willing enters into this arrangement to protect her sisters, she soon learns that this will either be the best decision she has ever made or the worst. You’ll have to read to find out which!
I’ll be honest here. I did not like Cynthia in You Are Mine. I found her annoying and more than a little infuriating. How can you be boy-crazy in a world where men actively abuse women and are applauded for it? Where women are mere objects to be used and abused? We finally see behind the mask here and it was a bit more understandable why she put on that facade. How else would she learn about magic? What else could she say? “Oh, I don’t care about the boys, I just want to study that spell so I can emulate it”? That would not have worked out well. She would have been killed. With that insight, it was easy to be more sympathetic towards her. She still irked me somewhat, with immature behavior at times and a lack of ability to plan ahead. Pretty early on she finds herself stranded in town with no money and no food. That could have easily been prevented with a little forethought, but that isn’t how Cynthia works. It ends up working out well and she is just a teenager, so I tried not to fault her too terribly for that. Despite her faults, she is strong and brave and smart.
I feel like talking about the other characters is a bit of a spoilery thing to do. The official synopsis of this doesn’t really hint at how this whole thing it going to turn out, so I’m trying to keep quiet. I will say that I like the love interest a good bit. I will also say that we get a good deal of Serena and Zade and even a bit of Katherine. I also liked seeing the rest of the siblings and the new characters.
Things really heat up here, with Cynthia trying to show her family that she can do magic without revealing her secret to too many people. If the council finds out, they will kill her. But Cynthia’s family needs to know that women can do magic and Cynthia needs to share the burden of her secret with someone. The world needs to know to, but she must wait for the opportune moment to reveal that. She keeps trying to improve her spelling abilities and watching her train with a certain someone was enrapturing. Falor nailed that will they or won’t they chemistry perfectly.
The one big failing here is the appearance of a cliffhanger. You Are Mine wraps up pretty well, with everything taken care of. A few loose strands hang and obvious the whole set free the woman movement is far from finished, but Serena was free and her family was safe and things were looking up. That isn’t what you get here. I won’t say exactly what happens, but again, cliffhanger ahead. That always irks me when the first book in a series lulls you into a false sense of security because you assume if the author was nice enough to wrap things up for us there, they will continue to do so with the rest of the series. Then you read book two and are slammed with an unresolved ending. It’s almost like you can hear the author cackling (because what other way would you describe it?) at that shocked look on your face and you’re need to know more.
Beyond the cliffhanger, this was a very entertaining story and I loved seeing yet another different perspective. I want to get another angle on this. Can we see one from a male point of view? Maybe not Zade (because really, that would cause way too much swooning), but someone like him? OOOO…or that guy Zade’s sister has at thing for? That would be awesome. Or Zade’s sister herself could be interesting. Either way, I’m excited to see where this series goes!
I feel rather ambivalent about Caitlin Kelly’s narrative abilities. She wasn’t bad, but she wasn’t great either. She walked that mediocre line pretty tightly. She’s has decent pacing and varies her voice a little for different characters, but has nowhere near the mastery I’m used too. ::coughs:: MacLeod Andrews ::coughs:: I will definitely check out more of her stuff in the future to see if she improves, but she’s isn’t someone I’m going to go out of my way to listen to.
****Thank you to Janeal Falor for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review****
Perfection. Goodness. Elimination of evil. It’s what seventeen-year-old Kaylyn has trained her entire life to achieve. But no one is prepared for the consequences of her actually defeating all evil people on the planet. Finally successful in her mission, Kaylyn faces an unfamiliar world, full of good people doing good things, in which she no longer has purpose.
When the skies grow dark, and a stranger from another village pleads for her help, her instincts roar to life. It turns out their perfect world isn’t exactly what it seems. Kaylyn’s new quest, harder than any she’s been on before, will rip apart her friendships, her life, and her soul more than any evil man ever managed to.
The darkness is filled with a silence so thick and unnatural, I want to draw my sword and slice through it. I don’t want to think what that could mean. But it’s the whole reason we are here. To figure it out, this slimy, oily thing that sticks to my Zophasken like tar. My power burns even as I keep it tightly wrapped inside me. Malryx no longer exist. Except no one told this forest.
Janeal Falor lives in Utah where she’s finally managed to live in the same house for more than five years without moving. In her spare time she reads books like they’re nuts covered in caramel and chocolate, cooks whatever strikes her fancy, and enjoys the outdoors. Her husband and three children try to keep up with her overactive imagination. Usually they settle for having dinner on the table, even if she’s still going on about the voices in her head.
seventeen-year-old Kaylyn has trained her entire life to achieve. But no one is
prepared for the consequences of her actually defeating all evil people on the
planet. Finally successful in her mission, Kaylyn faces an unfamiliar world,
full of good people doing good things, in which she no longer has purpose.
help, her instincts roar to life. It turns out their perfect world isn’t
exactly what it seems. Kaylyn’s new quest, harder than any she’s been on
before, will rip apart her friendships, her life, and her soul more than any
evil man ever managed to.
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Serena’s blood is powerful….more powerful than they expected and that means marriage is inevitable. It was always inevitable, but now it will come more swiftly. All this really means is that her ownership will shift from her father to whatever man is willing to pay the highest price for the chance to have powerful sons, and that she will no longer be home to shield her sisters from her father’s wrath. It also means she must obey her new husband in all things, no matter how superficial or cruel, or she will be tarnish, a fate many consider worse than death. Then a barbarian wins her in a tournament and she is even more terrified. Marriage to one of her fellow countryman, even though he was a mean bastard, would have been tolerable, but marriage to someone from the more barbaric nation? It’s unthinkable….until she notices something. Her new master is kind. Not only is he kind, but he doesn’t seem to desire to punish her, no matter how she acts out. Is her new life too good to be true or does the barbarian mean the things he says?
Serena is a character I was a bit on the fence about. On one hand, it’s hard not to empathize with any woman in this world, who must deal with being owned and abused. Women here aren’t considered citizens, merely the property of men. Men can do whatever they wish to their property, including beating them, mentally abusing them, forcing them to do things they don’t want to do, and then beating them some more when they don’t do those things satisfactory. You can read more about how that irritates me in my review of the prequel, Mine To Tarnish. Not that I’m saying the novel is awful or Janeal is terrible, just that the situation she has created is a bit appalling. It does make you think though. Anyway, I do empathize with Serena, but I wanted to slap her at the same time. She continually does things she knows will anger her father or her fiance and will be cause for punishment and then laments being punished. I’m not condoning that behavior in the least, but damn, woman, do you have no survival instincts? If you know touching the fire will burn you, shouldn’t you avoid touching the fire? Once her engagement to Zade (the barbarian) becomes official, she acts out even more because he does not punish her, but she shrivels up in his presence waiting for the retribution for doing things no one approves of. And it takes her forever to realize that Zade really has no intentions of ever punishing her, that he finds the way they treat women appalling.
Speaking of Zade, I loved him. I think he should have laid out his intentions a little earlier on so Serena didn’t have to walk on eggshells as much, but he’s the perfect hero. I loved the idea that the clan thought to be the most barbaric is actually the closest to what we are like now, allowing women all the rights of men and so on. He’s so kind to Serena and so considerate of her that it’s impossible not to love him. It’s difficult to realize why it took so long for her to love him. He’s the sweetest guy with a determination to protect her at all costs.
I enjoyed seeing Katherine again, who is the heroine in Mine To Tarnish. I’m glad to see her flourishing in her new role, though I wish I could have caught a glimpse of Charles and how their relationship is progressing. The two kind of stole my heart before. What I really loved about this was the ending, which I really can’t gush about without spoilers, but it was perfect. It ends with the hope that things will improve not only for Serena and her sisters, but for everyone. The characters are working towards something big, a major change that will help women, all women. The ending is absolutely perfect, seriously. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
This novel is a little slow to start. The beginning is interesting, but a bit dull. Once you get to the part when Zade enters the picture, it’s impossible to stop reading. I kept going because I had to know when Serena would finally realize that Zade would never hurt her or allow any harm to come to her while she was under his protection. I kept going because seeing Serena break the rules was mesmerizing, seeing her challenge the edicts of the Woman’s Canon (a literal rulebook for women) without outright breaking them was beyond entertaining. Mostly I kept going because I wanted to see if and when Serena finally realizes her feelings for Zade and if he returns them. What can I say? I love the love story.
Falor does a wonderful job of keeping you enraptured in the story, even when you aren’t quite sure where it’s going. Her writing style is amazing, with the perfect level of world building that keeps you in the moment and aware of the character’s surroundings without giving us pages upon pages of room descriptions. I really enjoyed it and I am adding the next book to my list….even though it’s about Cynthia…maybe I’ll learn to love her more. 😉
****Thank you to Janeal Falor for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review****
Katherine has always fought to keep her mouth shut and her opinions to herself. A woman has one place in this world, silently standing beside her husband, bearing magical-blooded sons. If this goal cannot be accomplished, said husband has the right to do whatever he wants to her, including physical abuse, mental abuse, or even murder. Katherine has just been sold to a cruel, smelly old man who she cannot tolerate the idea of belonging to. She does the unthinkable, she runs. And in running she discovers a new world and a renewed resolve that woman are more than objects to be used and abused.
Katherine is reminds me so much of how I’d be in her situation. I’m too independently minded to allow this shit and the very concept that I must keep my mouth shut because my opinions are completely invalid makes my blood boil in a way nothing else does. I don’t consider myself a feminist, but fuck we have rights! Wants, needs, and thoughts all our own. This novella was a bit appalling in how these men treated the woman. We take a lot of things for granted, but there were times when things weren’t much better than that. I believe there are still places in the world today where the men think the same way…..::coughs:: back to Katherine. She’s so strong and determined to get away from her new master that it was impossible to believe that she wouldn’t succeed. She is constantly landing herself in trouble for her inability to accept that she is a lower class being.
Like I said, this is a bit appalling. These woman are spelled and abused in all manner. They aren’t even allowed to sit unless given explicit permission to do so, instead forced to stand next to her husband or father while he lounges comfortably. The idea that any father would now only allow this kind of abuse, but promote it is unthinkable. Katherine’s own father treats her terribly. Katherine’s running away is admirable to me, trying to escape her fate rather than grinning and baring it as she is meant to. Once she gets out and we meet the tarnished, things improve considerably. Finally we see men who don’t follow this ridiculous belief and Katherine is even more empowered by them. They help her run and you get a light romance between her and a tarnished man. I hope they get the revolution going, but don’t die in the crossfire.
This is a novel that really makes you think about the common rights we take for granted. It had me enraptured, dying to get to the next bit of the story to find out if Katherine succeeds in her evasions or if she is caught and punished. I recommend it to everyone wanting something magical and empowering, if a mite depressing at first. I can’t wait to dive into the next one!