When I first read the description of this book, I was intrigued. Warlocks? Women as owned property? Barbarian love interest? SOLD! And my bookish heart was happy that the story pretty much lived up to my expectations.
Meet Serena. On her seventeenth birthday, her blood was tested for magical potential. Once she passed the test with flying colors (her blood was brimming with magic), she was up for grabs to the highest bidder to become a breeder.
You see, in her society, women were only ever property. First, the property of a father, and then the property of their husband, or rather, their master. Women do not speak unless asked. Women do not act unless given permission to do so. And most importantly, women never, ever think for themselves. If any breach of the Women’s Canon (a hefty guidebook dictating the proper behavior of females) occurs, the woman is severely punished- either with a physical beating or a magical hex that inflicts pain and shame in the offender. If those punishments aren’t enough to evoke fear, there exists an even more terrifying fate for a disobedient woman- becoming tarnished. The tarnished are reduced to barren, bald, intricately tattooed individuals, barely worth the shadow that they cast. To become tarnished is considered worse than death. After all, women are useful only for their ability to produce male warlock babies. Other than that, they are simply slaves.
Serena is sold to an up and coming powerful warlock who is cruel and sadistic. But the law prevents Serena to do anything about it. She must marry this man, and she must accept whatever he wishes to do to her. Terrified of her future with this evil man, she despairs of what her life will be like under his ownership.
Everything changes, however, when she becomes the property of a Barbarian in a tournament gamble. Serena feels like her future has gone from bad to worse! These Barbarians are huge, and surely her new master will be even more cruel than even her father.
Imagine her surprise when her new owner, Zade, is NOTHING like she anticipated. As she works through her confusion and tumultuous feelings for her master, she discovers that the only world she has ever known does not have to remain that way. Serena learns more about society, and more about herself as she tastes her first bits of freedom.
Navigating new roles, forging new friendships, taking risks, and shaking up the status quo become more and more frequent as she dodges dangers from her father and disgruntled council members alike. When a hefty price is placed on her master’s head, will she have the strength and gumption to put everything on the line to save him?
I really enjoyed this book! The storyline was unique and provocative, and the characters were fairly well developed. The layers of the different members of society were interesting, and some of my favorite pieces of the story involved the law, government, and politics of the country. (You can take the public policy major out of the industry, but you can’t take the… haha! )
The only negative comment I could make is that I wish the prose was a little more descriptive. When I read, it is easy for me to picture the scene in my mind, as if it were a movie on a screen. While this comes naturally to me, I imagine it is more difficult for other readers. If scenes and settings were a tad bit more descriptive, I feel this would make the process easier for other readers.
At the end of the day, this was a fantastic book! I’m trying to be more discriminating in my five star reviews, and since this story didn’t completely knock me on my rear end with its amazingness, I’m only going to give it a four star review, but by all means, it is still a really good book! Go read it!
**Photo obtained from Goodreads**
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