Pia Veleno's Reviews > Amaranth & Ash

Amaranth & Ash by Jessica Freely
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's review
Dec 17, 2010

really liked it
Read from November 30 to December 17, 2010

First some brief words on the shelves—It’s on my Rent Boys shelf, but it is not traditional sex for money rent boys. Amaranth’s profession is tied to sex, though that is not all it is. It’s on both the Het shelf and the M/M shelf because the intersex character has functional genitalia for both and both types of smut are present in the book, so hardcore M/M fans should be aware there are girl parts and girl orgasms in several scenes.

This is another one of those books that I enjoyed on so many levels that it will be difficult to convey my feelings about it without spoilers. Despite this, I do prefer to write reviews without spoilers, so here we go…

Amaranth and Ash is my first intersex read. Freely did a great job addressing this gender identity. I’m one of those hard-core M/M fans and while I didn’t like the girl sex parts, I loved Amaranth and he kept me reading.

The details that Freely put into creating her world are well worth mentioning. The societal barriers were wonderful, and then she expertly used these castes to propel the story forward. From the soulless lower class to the intersex healers, each group was well-defined and never felt construed to be a pawn to the story.

This was more than a love story, and then love was the overlapping theme on several levels. Any more about theme and I run the risk of spoilers, but I do want to say that the societal theme complimented the love theme well and the two twisted together like the souls of the characters.

My only major complaint – and this could be the publisher/editor as easily as the author, so I won’t make a big deal about it – is that POV and setting/scene shifts within the chapters were not set off in any way, not even an extra space to mark the change. This was very disorienting throughout the story, especially off the beginning.

Overall, a very good story, and I intend to check out more of Freely’s writing soon.

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Reading Progress

5.0% "The formatting - switching between Ash and Amaranth's scenes without a line break - is jarring.

The characters and the world, however, are wonderful. I'm hooked."
20.0% "Wow. This is living up to all the hype. I'm trembling along with Ash."
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