Serena knows a few simple things. She will always be owned by a warlock. She will never have freedom. She will always do what her warlock wishes, regardless of how inane, frivolous, or cruel it is. And if she doesn’t follow the rules, she will be tarnished. Spelled to be bald, inked, and barren for the rest of her life—worth less than the shadow she casts.
Then her ownership is won by a barbarian from another country. With the uncertainty that comes from belonging to a new warlock, Serena questions if being tarnished is really worse than being owned by a barbarian, and tempts fate by breaking the rules. When he looks the other way instead of punishing her, she discovers a new world. The more she ventures into the forbidden, the more she learns of love and a freedom just out of reach. Serena longs for both. But in a society where women are only ever property, hoping for more could be deadly.
I got this book from Netgalley because the cover caught my eye and then when I read what it was about I was like, "hmmmm interesting" So I requested it and got it!
For some reason I was able to connect with the characters and the book almost immediately! I stayed up way past midnight to finish reading this book and I wasn't disappointed. I LOVED this book!
It was clean, brutal, and refreshing! I love books that can capture me and this was one of them that did.
I was so interested in Serena and her fate. I kept wondering who the "barbarian" was and kept thinking that each new male character I met was it! So it kept me wondering and it was great. Serena's character was fabulous to read about because she is a rebel heart and does anything to push the line between her role as a woman in her fathers house and her role as a wife when her ownership is transferred to someone else. I loved that regardless of the fact that she is treated as a complete object that she remained human and refused to allow her society to tell her differently. Did she save the world? No, but she saved her own world by the choices she made and the family she was trying to protect. Her father is a brutal man and Serena always tried to protect her sisters and family from the harsh punishments dealt by her father. Until she is sold...
Marriage in this world is pretty much done in regards to selling cattle to the highest bidder, a cow who has quality meat and in this world it's who has the most magic in their blood. The men are the wizards and the woman are just the key to that magic in their blood and create powerful wizard sons. Her father is a brutal man and Serena always tried to protect her sisters and family from the harsh punishments dealt by her father. But when she is "married" off she realizes that she will no longer be there to protect them and also realizes that her hopes of being married to a good kind man isn't going to happen. She is "engaged" (contract signed to transfer ownership) to a man who is like her father and her hope almost falls but she remains silently and subtlety defiant which is just another reason why I love her. Before they are actually "married, married" Serena and her new "fiancé" go to a tournament where the wizard men fight to the death (through magic) to gain the other persons possessions and rank. So when her "fiancé" is killed and she is yet again transferred to another man her world is turned completely upside down because he is not what she expects him to be. AND THAT is what kept me going!
MAN I enjoyed this book, and so will you!!! READ IT! I will buy it for my own collection!
Violence: moderate (there are human sacrifices and some magical beatings given from men to women)
Sexual Content: mild