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KatieMc

KatieMc

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what happens in the snow fort stays in the snow fort

Sacrati - Kate Sherwood

CS Pacat has set the bar impossibly high for any author writing a fantasy, enemies to lovers tale set in a homonormative setting where sex pets and bedwarmers are commonplace.  If you like plotty stories full of political intrigue, ancient fictional settings, and men having sex with men, this will be a good read for you.  If this isn't your jam but you happened to love Captive Prince, this may or may not work for you.

 
I read and enjoyed Kate Sherwood's contemporary Dark Horse series.  This is completely different in tone, setting and character.  Still, her tale weaving writing chops are well exercised.  Sacrati is full of detail and gives the reader lots to think about while weaving a good tale of deception, political intrigue and finding your loyalties.  
 
I have mixed feelings about the sex segregated Torian society.  This segregation fosters a homonormative setting, where sex between men and women was mostly for reproductive purposes and took place only a few times a year.  Most of the time, the men lived apart from the women and their role was exclusively warrior and conqueror, to take over other lands.  The women supposedly did everything else.   I always enjoy it when an author creates a world where 'traditional' patterns of family and sex get upended.   
 
The Torian society gets compared & contrasted with the homophobic monogamous Elkati society when Finnvid (Elkati) becomes the captive of Theos (Torian). Finnvid witnesses sex between men and is both repulsed (his culturally conditioned response) and intrigued (his innate response).   Through their budding relationship and getting to know one another, Finnvid and Theos are able to objectively see the pros and cons of both cultures.
 
While the Torian society was not being held up as any utopian ideal, it was portrayed as more open minded and egalitarian.  That bugged me because it felt more like a new twist on the old patriarchy.  Woman having all the power and doing everything except military roles sounds to me like women who work both in and out of the home and care for children while the guy sits around playing video games.  There was also much made of Theos having fathered 46 children. Maybe it's all the mormon books I've read, but the Torian seem to be like FLDS with gay sex.
 
If it seems like I am obsessing about the setting and not the romance, it's probably because the romance fell flat.  The UST was not UST-ty enough while Theos and Finnvid were enemies.  Once lovers, the romance felt a bit cheesy.  I will say, there was one excellent scene between the two when they were between enemies and lovers that had it dialed in just right.  Also, the snow forts were cool.