Amaranth and Ash by Jessica Freely
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I absolutely loved this book. This was a love story that transcended society, caste, and gender. Set in a world reminiscent of Ursula K. Le Guin The Left Hand of Darkness as it is a planet that mellenia before had been populated by humans and the population had split into caste one of which was hermaphroditic. Racial and ethnic barrier were very much a part of society where the elite had it all and the Chel which were the lowest had nothing even denied medical treatment. In such a society where races didn't mix Amaranth and Ash went against such societal norms and fell in love. This was an awesome book that was so much more than their love story. The societal differences, altho exaggerated, are so relevant in our own where people can be biased based on differences. Certainly not for anyone under 18 due to erotic content, but done so tastefully its very much important to the story. You truely feel the love they have for each other. A wonderful book that is relevant in any generation.
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Genre: LGBT Futuristic FantasyIn a world where everyone has their place, Amaranth & Ash belong together.Amaranth is a vasai, born with both male and female characteristics, and a soul that can reach out and touch the souls of others in order to heal them. But a vasai’s services are only for the Elai, and they demand sexual satisfaction as well as healing from their beautiful servants. Frustrated with these constraints, Amaranth wants to use his talent to help those who really need it.Ash is a chel. Considered devoid of souls, chel are the lowest of the low. Not content with his lot, Ash steals from the middle class pel. One night he’s caught and brutally punished.A soul in agony calls out to Amaranth from across the city. When he discovers that it belongs to a chel, it only confirms his worst suspicions about the lies of the Elai. Amaranth takes Ash home and heals him, an act of rebellion that could cost both their lives.Amaranth's compassion for Ash soon turns to passion. Ash treats him like a person, not an instrument of sexual gratification. Neither of them have much experience with mutual pleasure but together they embark on an exploration of intimacy and desire that carries them to the heights of passion and love -- and shakes the very foundation of their world.Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations some readers may find objectionable: Intersex relationships, violence