"A modern day M/M, BDSM retelling of The Ugly Ducking Fairy Tale using avian shifters."
Surprisingly, I LOVED this book! Not that I didn't think I would enjoy it, it just surprises me how much I did. :)
Avian shapeshifters - who knew? I have stayed pretty much away from shape-shifter erotica/romances, but this one was written by Kim Dare, an author I recently discovered through the Riptide Anthology O Come All Ye Kinky and her story His Very Last Chance and her novel Once a Brat, and whose style I like very much. So I thought, what the hell, it's not werewolves or werebigcats, it's birds. And I love birds. Also it's a retelling of the Ugly Duckling fairy tale in a very different setting and I love that kind of thing.
So the main characters, Raynard and Ori, are lovely. The journey they take in this story is one of discovery and personal growth and acceptance and it was fascinating to watch unfold at just the right speed. There were secondary characters, but not so many as to be overwhelming and they were written as secondary characters, the reader only seeing what the reader needs to see. I often find that authors err one way or the other with their secondaries.
The world building was very interesting - I got a bit of a goth-steampunk type feel from the atmosphere and in my opinion, really fit the story. The idea of the nest is very interesting as well. Part bar, part sex-club, part palace, part halls of government, it seems to be the hub of avian society. (Where humans fit in, I have no idea, they are barely mentioned.) Colour me intrigued. :)
The sex... OMG, the sex was hot. The BDSM elements worked, were natural, were done right. :) The underlying question of the novel - what is a true submissive and is it nature or nurture - plays out on the pages and the concluding answer makes sense. Oh, and did I mention that I cried? Yes, there are scenes in this book that brought me to tears. Ori and Raynald's heartache really got to me, it was so beautifully written.
I loved it. Go and read it. :)
I did wonder though... where are all the female shifters? There must be some, right? I'm curious! And also... what would a flamingo shapeshifter be like? Maybe these questions are answered in the second Avian Shifters book which is going on my "To Be Aquired" list RIGHT NOW!