Author: Janeal Falor
Series: Mine, book #1
Publication Date: May 6, 2013
Source: from author for review
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Fantasy is kind of my thing. Throw in some magic and a new, uncertain world, and you have a captive audience in me. So, I was pretty excited when the author offered me a copy for review. Imagine my delight when I discovered that this is not only a great new start to a fantasy series, but also one that delves into women's rights and to an extent, women's suffrage.
In Serena's world, only warlocks wield power, magical or otherwise, and young women are essentially purchased from their fathers...arranged marriages steeped in magic. The more magic in a girl's blood, the better the price she'll fetch. And only the men in this world are able to access that magic for some reason. But we'll get to that in a bit.
I always hope for a heroine who faces her adversaries head-on and questions the social norms, rather than submitting to the wills of those around her because it is what is expected. In the beginning, Serena is under her father's roof, and she must be submissive or face his wrath. She takes enough beatings for her sisters that she practically cowers at his feet to avoid further punishment, as he seems always willing to dole it out, even for the most minor of infractions. In this way, she may be one of the strongest heroines of all.
But once Serena's fate is in the hands of the barbarian warlock, things become quite different. Serena learns that there are other ways. And she's caught off-guard that Zade, the barbarian himself, is the one to teach her this. Their situation is tenuous at best, but they make the most of it, and in the end, it's a mutually beneficial arrangement. I liked Zade's character right from the start. It was obvious that he was different...somehow better than all the warlocks introduced up to this point. His being Envadi, a foreigner, had a large bearing on how he ran his household, but it wasn't in any way that Serena had come to expect.
For the most part, I really enjoyed the story and how if flowed. I would have liked, however, for Zade and Serena to interact more and spend more time exploring their feelings instead of dancing around the issue for the majority of the book. It made the story lag in places where the romance could have been the focus. The ending was a little predictable and the way it transpired was a bit too easy and felt a little contrived. I also would have liked to understand the magic more. Why was Envadi so different and how did it become so? Why do women have any power to begin with if they cannot access the power within themselves? I'm hoping these are questions that might be answered in the next installment.
This is a great beginning, and it hints at a lot of potential for the next book. The characters and the story were equally intriguing, and I'll definitely be picking up the next book to see how everything plays out.