Sacred Fate (Chronicles of Ylandre #1)
Liquid Silver Books, 2009
In the dual-gendered realm of Ylandre, the great divide between the high-born True Bloods and the lower-ranked Half Bloods is deemed impassable by most. Rohyr Essendri dared to cross it when he took young Lassen Idana from his provincial town and made him his paramour. Lassen perforce learned how to navigate the intricate byways of life at court. What he never expected, however, was to fall in love with Rohyr, a most inadvisable and impractical thing to do when one’s lover is sovereign ruler of the land. But anything worth having is worth fighting for, both figuratively and, as Lassen discovers, literally speaking.
Contains hermaphrodism and explicit homoerotic sexual encounters.
Genre & Keywords:
M/M, SciFi/Fantasy, Hermaphrodism, Male Pregnancy, Mystery, Intrigue
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3 flames
Guest review by Lis:
This review is one I requested of Janna. She received an e-mail full of squee about this book (and the sequel) and I all but begged her to let me write a review, because I think more people should read and enjoy this book. I wonder if your reaction to the blurb would be much the same as mine, because books with male pregnancies in it (or m-preg as it is called in the world of fanfiction) are the bane of my existence. There are a lot of things I don't mind, but m-preg has me shuddering everytime. So therefore when I read the blurb and came across the word 'duel-gendered' my reaction was “owh hell no.” However, the blurb got stuck in my head and when I heard several others so enthusiastic about this book, I got curious. I wanted to hate it from the start, but found I couldn't (dammit). Let me share with you why this book is so good.
The story is about Lassen en Rohyr who live in the fantasy world of Ylandre where there are no more females left and the men became dual-gendered. Lassen lives in the quiet fiefdom of Tal-Ereq where one day he becomes the lynchpin on negotiations between the crown (represented by its king, Rohyr) and the council (represented by his father or aba or adda). Lassen is to become the concubine of Rohyr, something he objects to at first but agrees to when he sees how concerned his adda is about this. This is but the start of a long complicated, intriguing, romantic, funny, hot and fantastic story that spans over a decade.
What I liked about this story is that this is not just a savage claim-and-conquer romance. Rohyr seduces Lassen and doesn't just claim him. While Lassen is not exactly given a choice in the matter, he comes to love Rohyr deeply and doesn't suffer from Stockholm-syndrome as I feared in the beginning. Over the course of this story both the characters of Lassen and Rohyr grow and they make their mistakes and overcome them, though not without difficulty and all the while going at it like bunnies or the equivalent of bunnies in Ylandre. There are several (political) conflicts throughout the story that need to be overcome, but are handled with grace.
Lassen is a gentle but strong and smart character. He may not be as physically strong as Rohyr, but he has his qualities. He adapts very well to his new situation, he quite sees through people and their plans and gossips, but he hates to upset others and only does so if it's for a just cause. That mildly irritated me sometimes, because throughout the story there are instances in which he just agrees or walks away when I would have thrown a bitchfight just for the heck of it. Rohyr on the other hand, has a temper and Lassen knows very well how to handle it and he has Rohyr ear, though he doesn't influence Rohyr for his own gain.
Rohyr is also very stubborn. Damn, they don't often make them as stubborn as Rohyr. Well maybe his half brother Dylen. He put the kingdom before all, even his own happiness at times. Lassen is the first thing or someone he chooses for himself and even then there are issues. Did I mention stubborn? Although it is nice to see that he grows and learns throughout the story.
In the beginning of this review I talked about m-preg and yes, that is included in the story. What I liked about how this author handled this issue is that she shapes the world around the 'issue.' It's not just men that get pregnant (that would just be iel!) but dual-gendered or hermaphroditic people. From the start it is made clear that there are no women in this world, they have been extinct for about a 1000 years, and they have to procreate somehow. I'm just so glad it's not egg. That would just be... *shudders*
If I have to look objectively at this story, something that is very hard to do because I like it so much, there are some issues. While this story has a good length, it is full of names and (political) history and it is hard to keep track of everything. At some points I compared this to Tolkien's Silmarillion with all the name throwing and historic recounts. Though it is also important to know and what makes it harder is that there are no characters with easy names like Michael or John to remember them by.
While I like the characters (haven't you guessed that yet) they can be classified as stereotypes. There, I said it. Not in a bad way, because as seen with many stories, it fits the tale to be told. In that regard I didn't mind the stereotypes of the good “guys” or the bad “guys.”
Eresse spins a detailed and engrossing story that will keep you on the edge of your seat or reading well past bedtime with lotsa hot hot hot man (hermaphroditic) sex that has you melting in a puddle of goo.
If you haven't guessed it yet, I really recommend this story. If I could order you to read it, I would *grin* Now go and get it and read! Run!
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