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.
Comment: I picked this book because it was in my tbr list for a long time. I thought it would be an interesting read for this moth so I added it to this month's readings a couple of months ago. I was very curious to see what kind of story it was and I was away from reviews. Besides, the cover was cute, I like draws as covers, they're so much better than the computer digitalized...
This is the story of Rohyr and Lassen, two different men from two different backgrounds. They live in a place where women no longer exist and their species has become hermaphrodite. Still, the difference among classes and poverty vs wealth remains. There is a lot of political intrigue and Rohyr, being the king of Ylandre has a lot of protocols to follow but he puts that aside when he chooses Lassen for his lover, someone unsuited because he is a half blood, thus not being in the same class as Rohyr. But their relationship soon evolves to commitment and love, even when duty gets in the way...
So, this book shows us a new world where the men are hermaphrodites which means they can have their own babies. It may sound weird and I admit at times it sounded too much like a guy playing woman but the way things work biologically is different enough to make us put that thought aside. I've started with this because it surely would be the biggest issue most people would have with the story. Personally I wasn't that surprised as I've read before stories with this theme. I think that, if we thin about this from a romance point of view, it can be....sweet. The way a family works is there as well, so...and the beauty is there's no shame in two men together, just the expected class difference.
What made me struggle the most with this new world was the geography. We would get detailed geography lessons about what is where but it was everything very confusing...and the made up names didn't help because both the personal names as the topography were very different from what we are used to, so it made more difficult the reading of those parts.
As for the two main characters, they're very different in all levels but their falling in love is almost believable..I say almost because I felt they took too long to say it and to show it to the other. At some point there's some angst moments that allow their confessions so I guess I would have preferred them to say it at a time where such pressure wasn't there. Still, it shows in those little moments we see throughout the book.
Being from two different environments, of course their relationship isn't as easily accepted and there's some obstacles to overcome, very similar to those old stories of arranged marriages, but I've decided to read this more like a fantasy romance than something realistic so some elements were to be expected, mostly in terms of romance clichés and solutions. Still enjoyable anyway.
In the end, I finished the book with a smile, not sure if due to the silliness of some things or just because it has a HEA that makes you smile, but I also got curious enough to want to read the following story. I think if one puts aside most expectations about it, it can be enjoyable and fun.