Publisher: Liquid Silver
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 4.25 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/21/2015
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Science Fiction
Long-held traditions have ruled Ranael Mesare’s life. He has always done what is expected of him … until now. Now he lusts after low-born Vaeren Henaz. But Vaeren is not interested. He has had to struggle his entire life and isn’t going to allow anyone to stop him from reaching his goals. Romance author Eresse takes you back to her fantasy world in Shield Mate, Book 7 of Chronicles of Ylandre. Is it possible to convince someone that the respect of many is nothing compared to the love of one who matters above all else?
The respect of many pales beside the regard of one who matters above all else.
Ranael knew his obligations to family and society. As a scion of Ylandre’s most powerful House, he was destined for a life of service, albeit a privileged one. As the son of a wealthy fief-lord, he was supposed to bed or wed as befitted his station. With obedience to authority ingrained in him since childhood, Ranael hewed closely to what was expected of a royal-blooded aristocrat and a military officer. Thus, defiance of the strictures of his position never entered his mind. Until he came to covet Vaeren Henaz.
Vaeren did his duty to king and country despite attempts to put him in his place and keep him there. A survivor of neglect and frightful adversity before and after he fled the orphanage wherein he grew up, Vaeren refused to let his illegitimacy or lack of sufficient lineage stop him from fighting his way up the ranks of Ylandre’s hidebound army. Nor did he allow anything or anyone to trample on his dignity or his heart. Until he learned to love Ranael Mesare.
In the dual-gendered realm of Ylandre, two warriors of nigh irreconcilably dissimilar backgrounds battle their way through the vagaries of military conventions, social censure, and personal vendettas. All while struggling with an attraction that contravenes the traditions and expectations that shape life and love in the world of Aisen’s most powerful nation.
Shield Mate is the seventh book in the Chronicles of Ylandre. I am disclosing upfront that this series is probably my favorite M/M fantasy series of all time, and that Eressë is an author I respect and admire greatly. I have read all of the books in the series several times, and some I have re-read dozens of times.
Why do I love these books? Well, they are incredibly detailed and creative, they include romances that are extremely intense and ideas that are quite mind bending, but most of all the world building is beyond compare. Eressë’s writing style is lyrical and beautiful, and completely captivates me. Sometimes I have to re-read passages because it is so much to digest and my tiny brain gets overwhelmed by it. When this story was released I figured it was time for some re-reading of the other books to prepare me, but really it was unnecessary. That being said if you have not read the first book in the series, Sacred Fate, you must do so before reading this one. I do not believe that it is necessary to read all six in the series in order to enjoy this one, but you must read the first story as it sets the tone and introduces many important cultural and biological aspects of this world.
One of the interesting features of this series is the way the author has created an interwoven timeline where characters are introduced and events happen simultaneously. In other words, the books are not written in a linear fashion, but rather occur over long periods of time, and the stories take place during the same historical events. Each book features a different couple and their romance. In the other books we meet their relatives, and see plots unfold that will again be experienced with new characters, but from different perspectives. Reading all six books prior to this one will give you a very complete understanding of this world, its vernacular, and the historical events that impact the characters in a unique way.
I was not as enthralled with this book as much as I have been with some of the others. As is possible with any series there are stories that I liked better and characters that I found more endearing. Maybe it was the fact that the characters were soldiers and a lot of the focus was on military life, or maybe I have become slightly bored with the events and political issues I have read about before in the other books. That being said, the writing is superb, and the setting of Ylandre was still as captivating as ever to me.
The men in this book are enjoyable, but I was slightly disappointed that I did not feel the passion and angst as strongly as I have in some of the other stories. I do not want to spoil any plot lines, but I will say that unlike the other books I did not empathize as strongly with the characters or feel as shattered when their heartbreaks occurred.
These stories are not for everyone! They require some effort to read because they are so full of details, and written in a manner that is very rich and reminiscent of a chivalric romance. The dialect takes some getting used to, and there is a lot of terminology that requires memorization in order to let the story flow. If you like unusual fantasy that has elements of science fiction, historical romance and unique biology, then I encourage you to pay a visit to the Chronicles of Ylandre, I think you will find it a bit mind bending and very entertaining.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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