Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Mine To Spell

by Janeal Falor


Mine To Spell is the second novel in the Mine series and the sequel to You Are Mine. It takes place in Chardonia, a country of shocking inequality between the sexes, where men have all the rights and women are treated largely as possessions. It's also a high magic world where men are the only ones allowed to wield magic and are also the only ones thought capable of doing so. In this world Cynthia is the second oldest of a large family of sisters recently freed from the tyranny of their vindictive father, and she's fighting to assert her personhood.

Cynthia's older sister Serena recently shocked society by gaining not only her freedom but also ownership of all the women in her family. But theirs is to be a brief respite. If Cynthia doesn't marry soon the threats against Serena and her renegade family will escalate, and it will take more than the protection of the foreign warlock Zade to save them. So Cynthia sets out to marry and meet society's expectations, whatever the personal cost.

Unfortunately Cynthia has one thing her sisters don't: the ability to use magic. She enjoys doing so, but it's something she has had to hide. It's a capability that could utterly change their repressive society. However, using it in public means risking execution and obliteration. Everyone she knows could be spelled to forget she ever existed.

This novel is an exploration of what it means to stand up and be brave for a cause that seems hopeless, even when doing so is very dangerous. Cynthia starts off feeling utterly alone, but she finds allies on her journey as well as enemies. The story is also a sweet romance. Cynthia starts to fall in love, but I liked the way she didn't end up being rescued by a male protector too often, because being seen to be able to defend herself was important to her cause.

Mine To Spell focuses on social issues, and it is heavy-handed in creating a world that's unrelentingly oppressive towards women, which the men in power scarcely bother to justify. This makes the key villains scary but somewhat over the top. However, the main female characters are feisty, likeable, and creative, whilst the rest of the men are generally less predictable. It makes for a fast-moving novel with some great twists and turns, and a heartwarming love story. It's the battle of the sexes in rainbow colours, a firework display of magic, romantic sparks, and political struggles.

The general tone of this novel is uplifting, but although there's some closure on this instalment it's not the end of the story. The Grand Chancellor looms over Cynthia's whole family, leeching magic away from women and killing with impunity. I was gripped because even though Chardonia is crazily misogynistic, Cynthia and her friends and family seem very believable and their struggles reflect those of real women who have to fight for their rights in repressive societies.

19th October 2015

Book Details

Year: 2014

Categories: Books

  YA     Fantasy
  Female Protagonist  

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Review ©

Source: own copy