Friday, December 16, 2016

Sahmara by Jean Davis

Sahmara is the story of a young girl from a wealthy family caught up in the throws of a religious
war.  After being captured by enemy soldiers and escaping, the title character stumbles upon a mysterious old woman who opens her eyes to the world of the gods and bestows the blessings of the Mother upon her.

When she finds herself in the company of soldiers from her battered country, led by a priest of Hasi, the Mother's twin, Sahmara uses her new gifts to fight the opposition, but, being a lone woman surrounded by uncouth men, she finds that enemies are everywhere, without and within.  With the help of the few friends she makes, she tries to survive numerous battles and hardships.

The rest of the story is about her struggle to get back home and discover what has become of her family.

The major themes of the novel seem to be loyalty and betrayal, misogyny, the importance of strength, and love in the face of the ugliness of war.


The Facts

Author: Jean Davis
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Romance/LGBT Romance
Length: 243 pages
Publication: September, 2016

My Opinion 

Why You Should Read This Book
If you're interested in a bisexual romance taking place in a fantasy setting, this is one I'd recommend.  It blends the action of war with the drama of complicated romantic relationships. 

The Good 
A well-developed, interesting world serves as the backdrop of a female-centered survival story that doesn't take place in a futuristic dystopia.  The main characters have strong flavors and the pacing is great.

I really wanted to see Sahmara make her way home to discover the fate of the capital and her family.  I was also interested to see how Sahmara's character and outlook on the world changed over the course of the story.  Going from being what I'd describe as agnostic to getting up close and personal with gods is a pretty good catalyst for character development.

The Not So Good
The novel is not as polished as it could be, as is sometimes the case with self-published works.

I guess the biggest problems I had were that rape, a specter that inhabits a lot of the story is, in some ways, smoothed over to make way for the romance, and that Sahmara's relationship with Orlando develops as he sexually exploits her in return for protection.

I understand some people like this kind of story when it comes to the romance genre, but it's not my cup of tea.

Other Useful Information

Bechdel Test: Pass
Helpful Tropes: All Men Are Perverts, No Woman's Land, Defiled Forever, Attempted Rape, Rape as Backstory, A Threesome is Hot, Men are Generic, Women are Special, Divine Intervention, Ethnic God, God is Good, Gods Need Prayer Badly, Real Women Don't Wear Dresses

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